ATLANTA (AP) -Atlanta captain Scott Mellanby retired Tuesday, less than a week after the Thrashers were swept in the first round of the NHL playoffs.
Mellanby ended his 21-year career after Atlanta made the playoffs for the first time in its seven-year history, but lost four straight games to the New York Rangers.
``I've been fortunate to live my dream for the past 21 years, and it's with a heavy heart that I'm retiring from the National Hockey League,'' the 40-year-old right wing said. ``I'd like to thank all of my great teammates, the fans who have supported me, and all the wonderful people I have met along the way.''
Mellanby played in 69 games, with 12 goals and 24 assists this season.
He entered the league with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1986 and played for Edmonton, Florida and St. Louis before spending his last two seasons with the Thrashers.
In 1,431 regular-season games - tied for 17th on the NHL's career list - Mellanby had 364 goals, 476 assists and 2,479 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 136 playoff games, scoring 24 goals and adding 29 assists. He reached the Stanley Cup finals with Philadelphia in 1987 and Florida in 1996 but never won the ultimate prize.
``Scott is a tremendous individual who has earned our utmost respect as a true professional both on and off the ice,'' Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said. ``He has helped our organization grow and has played an important role in helping shape a culture that will allow the Thrashers to be successful for many years to come.''
His retirement leaves another hole for the Thrashers to fill. They have a dozen unrestricted free agents, including key players such as Keith Tkachuk and Slava Kozlov.
``It was a real honor to coach Scott and I wish I could have begun working with him earlier in his career,'' Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. ``His experience and respect in the locker room was invaluable to the success of our club. He has helped show our younger players what it means to be a professional and how to represent an organization with class.''

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