Agent Allan Walsh tweeted Friday that Bouchard decided to stop playing because of the “risks associated from multiple concussions.”
The Sherbrooke, Que., native spent the last two seasons with EV Zug of the Swiss National League A.
The 31-year-old player said by phone he that while he is healthy now he doesn’t want to worry about another injury. He estimates he had three concussions during his NHL career.
“I’m healthy right now, my head is fine, I have a beautiful family,” Bouchard said. “Is it worth it? And the answer was no. I guess my priority was my health.”
Bouchard finished his NHL career with 110 goals and 246 assists in 593 games.
The forward signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the New York Islanders in 2013, but struggled, scoring four goals and five assists in 28 games.
“It was always a dream come true to play in the NHL, especially I’m not a big guy and it was always a battle to prove what I could do,” Bouchard said in a phone interview.
The Islanders later demoted Bouchard to the AHL before trading him along with Peter Regin to the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 6, 2014 for a fourth-round pick. Bouchard spent the rest of the year with Chicago’s AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.
Bouchard was drafted eighth overall by Minnesota at the 2002 NHL draft after an impressive junior career with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens.
“I just felt for some reason that I had to retire,” Bouchard said. “A few times during the season I got hit pretty solid, I got hit from behind and stuff. I got lucky I didn’t get hurt worse or I didn’t get another concussion.”
— With files from The Associated Press