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What’s Next For Mark Letestu Now That He’s Retired from the NHL

Mark Letestu retired on Sunday from the NHL. He played 567 regular season NHL games, and 36 playoff games that spanned over a decade.

He spent seven games with the Winnipeg Jets last season, but Mark Letestu will be mostly remembered for his runs in Pittsburgh, Edmonton and Columbus before retiring on Sunday from the NHL. He leaves after 567 regular season NHL games played and 36 playoff games that spanned over a decade.

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As per The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (subscription required) Letestu is official retiring after being unable to land another deal this offseason.

Letestu never scored more than 16 goals in a single season, but the forward was often quite effective in multiple roles, working his shot on the power play, killing penalties or moving up and down an NHL lineup where needed.

Letestu did want to keep playing. Reports are he would have even accepted a minor league deal. One was simply never offered. And, in his contacts (or lack thereof) with other teams, Letestu must have seen the writing on the wall. He said, “The tool bag … it’s had enough.” He added, “I skated good enough. I shot the puck really well. I thought the game really well. But I got a lot of breaks along the way, too, right from the very start.”

It wasn’t as though Letestu didn’t deserve to have success. But, he understands how much luck and timing played a roll in the longevity of his NHL career. He got called up and stayed in Pittsburgh thanks to injuries to the best players. He got moved to Columbus and had a great run. He filled in a hole on the Oilers power play and alongside Connor McDavid, seized the opportunity.

It was after he signed in Winnipeg as a free agent that his luck started to run out. He was diagnosed with myocarditis, a heart inflammation caused by a virus and while he’s healthy now, it could be that NHL teams are a bit concerned or unwilling to take the risk that something could return to pull from the lineup.

Mark Letestu Edmonton Oilers

What’s Next For Letestu?

As Portzline writes, “Letestu will have plenty of options.” He notes that he’s already spoken to a few teams about a job. The delay is the financial situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like he did in the NHL, when an opportunity arises, he’ll likely seize it so that he can continue his career as part of the game he wants to stick around as long as he can.

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