Zachary Lauzon, the Penguins' second-round pick in 2017, announced his retirement from hockey on Wednesday.
Lauzon, 20, sustained a concussion during the 2017 QMJHL playoffs, two months before he was drafted by the Penguins. He attempted to return three separate times during the 2017-18 season, and his symptoms returned each time. Lauzon was aiming for a December return in 2018-19, but a broken foot ended his season.
The Penguins relinquished their signing rights to Lauzon this summer, but with his concussion issues seemingly over, the Penguins invited him to June's development camp.
"I’m very fortunate to have landed in a great organization that took great care of me despite all my injuries and all the bad stuff that happened to me," Lauzon told me in June. "It’s a great gesture for them to give me another chance like this this year, I’m really happy to be here.”
Lauzon was invited to the Prospects Challenge this month but was not in Cranberry for the prospects' skate before the tournament and did not travel to Buffalo with the team.
Lauzon told TVA Sports that his headaches and dizziness returned in August, and he made the decision then to hang up his skates.
"I made a promise that I would be honest with myself," he said. I was confident, I could not wait to test myself. At the same time, I was realistic for the future. ... The most difficult but smart decision to make."
Lauzon said that while trying to return to the ice, he felt "fragile." He was no longer comfortable with contact, and felt that his game had changed.
Lauzon is thankful for the way the Penguins treated him over the last two years.
"I am very proud to be drafted by the Penguins, a team that really considers the human side," he said. "We all saw how they acted with the conditions of Mario Lemieux, Kristopher Letang and Sidney Crosby. They never pressed me."
Lauzon said that he has already been offered a coaching position elsewhere, but is going to step away from hockey for awhile.
"I have given enough in recent years," he said. "I will prepare my second life."