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Former Blackhawks Forward Zack Smith Retires from NHL

The 33-year-old forward said he is still dealing with lingering back pain even after his back surgery in March 2020.

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Zack Smith has retired from the NHL, the 33-year-old forward informed The Athletic on Friday.

Smith scored 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 50 games with the Blackhawks during the 2019-20 season. He played his final NHL game Feb. 12, 2020, when he suffered a cut to his left hand by Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson’s skate.

Smith sat out a few weeks then had back surgery March 6, 2020 to end his season. Six days later the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the NHL season. He was cleared to play for the 2021 season, but never did. In March of this year, the Blackhawks placed him on long-term injured reserve.

Smith told The Athletic that he still deals with back pain, but plans to wait until he’s healthy enough to try new healthy endeavors such as long distance running races and jiu-jitsu.

The Blackhawks acquired Smith from the Ottawa Senators for forward Artem Anisimov on July 16, 2019. Selected in the third round of the 2008 NHL Draft (No. 79 overall), Smith scored 193 points (94 goals, 99 assists) in 612 games and nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 45 Stanley Cup Playoffs games with the Senators.

Smith put up career numbers during the 2015-16 season, scoring 25 goals and 36 points. He followed it up with 16 goals and 32 points the next season and helped Ottawa reach the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.

Brandon is a contributor for On Tap Sports Net covering the Chicago Blackhawks, Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Steel. He also covers the Blackhawks as an independent correspondent for NHL.com. Follow Brandon on Twitter @brandonmcain.

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