Joonas Donskoi Retires from NHL at Age 31 After Multiple Concussions

Joonas Donskoi Retires from NHL at Age 31 After Multiple Concussions
Julia StumbaughAugust 28, 2023

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 15: Joonas Donskoi #27 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins at SAP Center on January 15, 2018 in San Jose, California (Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images

Joonas Donskoi announced he is retiring from the NHL after “suffering multiple concussions” over his seven-year career.

“It is extremely hard to let go of something you have put your whole life into, but at this point I know it’s the right decision for my own well being and future,” the 31-year-old wrote on Instagram.

Donskoi has not played in the NHL since suffering the seventh concussion of his career in September 2022.

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Joonas Donskoi, who has suffered multiple concussions over his career, has retired at the age of 31, he announced on Instagram.

Donskoi, a native of Finland, went to the Stanley Cup Finals with the San Jose Sharks during his rookie 2015-16 season.

After four seasons with the Sharks, Donskoi played for the Colorado Avalanche until the Seattle Kraken chose him in the 2021 expansion draft. He will finish his NHL career having recorded 208 points in 474 career games.

With the Sharks, it did not take long for Donskoi to surpass the expectations set by his status as a 2010 fourth-round draft pick whose rights had been dropped by the Florida Panthers.

After earning a regular-season roster spot, Donskoi played a key role in helping San Jose advance to the first Stanley Cup Finals in franchise history.

Donskoi recorded 11 points through the first 20 games of the postseason, then scored in overtime of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final to cut the Pittsburgh Penguins’ series lead to 2-1.

“I think I was able to reach my own potential, which was always my biggest goal,” Donskoi wrote in his retirement announcement.

Donskoi battled “multiple injuries” during his sophomore season, according to the Sharks, but former general manager Doug Wilson praised his “aggressive, hard-working effort in all three zones” when the Sharks extended him for two years in 2017.

But those injuries eventually compounded to derail his career.

Tiia Honkamaa, reporting for the Finnish outlet Jatkoaika, said in January that Donskoi had not been able to practice since colliding with a Seattle Kraken teammate during a preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Since then, Donskoi suffered from persistent vision problems, vertigo and headaches, Honkamaa reported.

Several other NHL veterans, including former No. 1 pick Rick Nash in 2019 and two-time Stanley Cup champion Andrew Shaw in 2021, have cited concussions as the impetus behind their retirement.

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