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Gartner Retires After 19 Years


Mike Gartner of the Phoenix Coyotes, the fifth leading goal scorer in NHL history, retired Wednesday after 19 years in the NHL.

Gartner, 38, had 708 goals, 627 assists and 1,335 points, the 18th most in NHL history. The right-wing Gartner played in 1,432 games for Phoenix, the Washington Capitals, Minnesota North Stars, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Gartner had 12 goals and 15 assists last season for Phoenix.

One of the few remaining NHL players who played in the defunct World Hockey Association, Gartner started his NHL career with the Capitals in 1979 after being taken with the fourth overall selection in the draft. He was the runner-up to Wayne Gretzky for the WHA Rookie of the Year award in 1978-79 with the Cincinnati Stingers.

What followed was 15 straight seasons with 30 or more goals, a mark of consistency that stands as an NHL record. His run was interrupted by the shortened 1994-95 season, but Gartner responded by breaking the barrier in each of the following two campaigns.

Gartner played with Washington until 1988-89, when he was dealt to Minnesota. He remains the Capitals' franchise leader with 789 points, 397 goals, 54 game-winning goals and 98 power-play tallies.

He played parts of two seasons in Minnesota before a trade to the Rangers, and nearly hung on long enough to win the Stanley Cup that eluded him throughout his career. The Rangers traded him to Toronto on March 21, 1994 for Glenn Anderson.

The seven-time All-Star finished out the season with Toronto and nearly made it to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Rangers, but the Maple Leafs were thwarted by the Vancouver Canucks in the conference finals. He logged a career-best 18 playoff games that season. P>Gartner spent the 1995-96 campaign with the Leafs and did not miss a game, performing the same feat for Phoenix the following season. He played 60 games for the Coyotes last season and scored goal number 700 on Dec. 14.

In addition, he was part of Canada's victorious squads in the 1984 and '87 Canada Cup.

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