Islanders’ Johnny Boychuk retires due to eye injury suffered last season


New York Islanders defenceman Johnny Boychuk (55) wears a Hockey Fights Cancer jersey as he warms up before an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in New York (Jim McIsaac / AP)

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — New York Islanders defenceman Johnny Boychuk has decided to retire as a result of an eye injury sustained last season.

The Islanders on Wednesday announced Boychuk’s decision to end his 13-year NHL career after the player had numerous and extensive medical exams. The 36-year-old Boychuk required stitches and plastic surgery after being cut across his right eyelid by the skate of Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen on March 3.

It was the second injury to the same eye in Boychuk’s career.

Boychuk returned for the playoffs in August before sustaining a head injury in the preliminary round series opener against Florida. He missed six weeks before returning to play in New York’s final two games against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference final.

Boychuck has two years left on a seven-year, $42 million contract he signed with the Islanders in March 2015. He spent six seasons with the Islanders.

He also played six seasons with Boston, where Boychuk won a Stanley Cup in 2011. From Edmonton, Boychuk broke into the NHL with Colorado after being selected by the Avalanche in the second round of the 2002 draft.

Overall, he has 54 goals and 152 assists for 206 points in 725 career games.

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