Kings D Robyn Regehr hangs up his skates after 15 years in NHL
After 15 seasons in the NHL, defenseman Robyn Regehr has decided to retire.
Following the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-1 season-ending win over San Jose on Saturday afternoon at the Staples Center, Regher announced he had played his last professional game. It was simple and direct, much like the his style of play.
"I’m probably not going to play again," he said. "I think it’s time to move on to the next chapter in life."
The 34-year-old veteran was set to become a free agent following this season. And after playing such an integral role on the team over the last seasons, it was expected that negotiations would ensue.
But Regehr says that was not, in fact, the case. He already had retirement on his mind when general manager Dean Lombardi signed him to a two-year extension after the 2013 playoffs.
"I talked to Dean just after I got here and he asked me how long I thought I could play for," he said. "I told him I could give him two hard years and we would see what it was like after that."
— Jill Painter Lopez (@jillpainter) April 11, 2015
Regehr has been plagued by injury throughout his tenure in Los Angeles. He missed 15 games due to injury this season and missed much of the playoffs last year after taking a hit from Teemu Selanne. A year prior, he played the entirety of the postseason with an injured elbow.
"There’s a lot that goes into a decision like that," he said. "I’ve been thinking about it for a while. You’ve got to think about where your body is at and how it’s holding up, how it’s not holding up."
A stay-at-home defenseman, Regehr was brought to L.A. to aid the penalty kill and help bring along young defensemen. He’s skated next to Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez, two of the top young d-men in the league, as well as helped Slava Voynov and dressing room anchor Matt Greene.
In his later seasons, his age and injury history never limited Regehr on the ice. Big and physical, he was still able to deliver crushing blows and kill penalties with his hard-nosed work ethic. He finished this season a plus-nine and finishes his career plus-30.
"Good guy in the dressing room, plays hard out on the ice and you know what you’re getting from him every night," said winger Justin Williams. "That’s an extreme quality to have. A consummate professional."
It’s an emotional loss for coach Darryl Sutter, who had a close relationship with someone who was right alongside him for the Game 7 Stanley Cup heartbreak with Calgary in 2004.
"I had a really personal relationship with Robyn," Sutter said. "To be able to get him here and win one here was awesome."
He clearly wasn’t the player he once was, but, at 34 years of age, he was still exceptionally productive and a key defenseman, and not just in the Kings’ last Stanley Cup run.
Williams said if he wanted to play again, he would have a number of teams lined up for his services, but the fact that he was so forthcoming with his decision wasn’t a surprise to those who know him best.
"He didn’t fade off into the sunset or anything," Williams said. "He had a decision made, made it and now he’s going to be a dad for the rest of the time."
Regher acknowledged that his family factored into his choice.
"There’s family decisions that are involved with decisions like that," he said. "It’s a big decision and I think we have decided."
Stoll, on retrieving the game puck for Regehr: "That was for Reggie, and whether he wants it or not, I thought it’d be a good thing."
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) April 11, 2015
Regher was meaningful to the team the captain Dustin Brown passed the Stanley Cup to him first during after the Kings’ win over the Rangers last season. With his help, the young defensemen have come into their own. Regehr’s influence reached beyond the ice and it’s likely to remain in the play of his former defense partners.
After a little more than two years, the Kings and Regehr will move on with mutual appreciation.
"He’s not only a good player," Sutter said. "He’s a great person."