The St. Louis Blues hoped they had found a future NHL netminder when they selected Luke Opilka in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, but instead he won’t even enter their minor league system. Opilka has decided to retire from hockey after his second major hip surgery in the last two years. The 21-year old hasn’t played since the 2016-17 season when he was with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.
Opilka was once an up-and-coming prospect from the USNDTP, and even won a gold medal with Team USA at the U18 World Championship. While his numbers weren’t outstanding, there was plenty of potential in his long frame and quick reflexes. He was ranked the 12th best goaltender in the 2015 draft, and ended up heading to the OHL after being selected by St. Louis.
Struggles mounted while in the OHL, and now two hip surgeries deep he’ll call it quits. He’ll leave the Blues organization with a simple thank you:
I want to thank the St. Louis Blues, my hometown team, for drafting me and giving me an opportunity to pursue my dream. Unfortunately, my career ended sooner than I hoped, but I’m excited to continue my education and begin a new chapter in my life.