GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Does Martin St. Louis believe he belongs in the Hall of Fame?
St. Louis declined to make a public case for his induction Monday at a news conference to discuss his retirement. Yet, it was clear that St. Louis is more than satisfied with the way his 16-year NHL career has turned out.
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"I'm proud of the way I came in and I'm proud of the way I came out," said St. Louis, who was speaking with reporters for the first time since announcing his retirement via a news release on July 2.
St. Louis had 391 goals and 642 assists in 1,134 regular-season games with the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning and Rangers. He won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004 and the Art Ross Trophy twice (2004, 2013) as the league's top scorer.
St. Louis said he received offers via unrestricted free agency. He also said that if he expressed a desire to play again for the Rangers, he thought the team would make their salary- cap situation work to make room. No matter whom he played for, it's likely that at age 40 he would have had to take a large pay cut from his most recent contract that paid him an average $5.625 million a year.
"My heart wasn't in it," the 40-year-old St. Louis said. "Do I still think I can play? Yeah. But it's time to move on and do something else."
That something else, says St. Louis, is be a full-time dad. St. Louis has three sons -- Ryan, Lucas and Mason -- who play youth hockey in Connecticut, and St. Louis said he plans to spend his time coaching them.
"Right now, I want to be 100 percent dad and family," he said. "You can't get that time back. That played a huge role in my decision."
St. Louis is 5-7 and came into the NHL undrafted. Though his career peaked with the Lightning, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2004, his final two seasons with the Rangers were memory-packed.
In the Rangers' run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, St. Louis became an inspirational figure for the entire team after his mother, France, died unexpectedly during the team's second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team rallied around St. Louis, came back from a 2-1 deficit to win the series and then beat Montreal to make it to the Final.
"I know I only played parts of two years here, but I feel like I've been here for five," St. Louis said. "I will cherish these two years forever."