Johnny Boychuk
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Johnny Boychuk is calling it a career due to an eye injury he suffered during the regular season with the New York Islanders.

The New York Islanders are losing a long-time veteran on the blueline as Johnny Boychuk makes the difficult decision to retire after suffering a nasty eye injury. The Islanders announced the retirement in a press release on Wednesday:

“After numerous and extensive medical exams, New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s career has come to an end, due to an eye injury suffered during the 2019-20 regular season. The most recent injury was the second to the same eye.”

This is tough news for the Isles, where Boychuk was a fixture in the locker room. The 13-year NHL veteran retires as a one-time Stanley Cup Champion with 829 career games (regular and postseason) under his belt.

Boychuk, 36, suffered the eye injury during the regular season, but still returned to play in three games for the Islanders in the playoffs. He wasn’t spectacular in those games, but he held his own during his short time on the ice.

“I don’t even think it was a decision. When you play with it and realize there’s something wrong, and then you go and get tests, it really wasn’t a decision; it was a life choice, I guess,” Boychuk said in a news conference via ESPN. “If I was to go and play again and not able to see somebody coming and get hit, I could be a lot worse than what I was.”

While it’s always tough to see a player end his career prematurely due to injury, Boychuk’s retirement frees up $6 million The Isles currently have $9.9 million in salary-cap space. That money could go a long way towards signing Mathew Barzal to a long-term deal.

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