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Glen Wesley ranks sixth in NHL history among defencemen with 1,457 games played. ((Gerry Broome/Associated Press))

Defenceman Glen Wesley ended his NHL playing career Thursday but he isn't ready to leave the game.

The 20-year veteran will become the Carolina Hurricanes' director of development for defencemen and will have his No. 2 jersey retired next season.

Wesley, 39, is the only player to have played in each of the Hurricanes' 10 seasons since the team once known as the Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina.

The Red Deer, Alta., native scored one goal and eight points in 78 games this season, his lowest output since the 2003-04 campaign, when he collected six assists. He was also a minus player for the first time since 2002-03 (minus-2).

Wesley broke into the NHL with the Boston Bruins in 1987-88, posting 37 points and a plus-21 rating. He played six more seasons in Boston before being trading to Hartford for three first-round draft picks: Kyle McLaren, Jonathan Aitken and Sergei Samsonov.

Carolina dealt Wesley to the Toronto Maple Leafs in March 2003 for a second-round selection in 2004.

Wesley ranks sixth in NHL history among defencemen with 1,457 games played. He is second to team executive Ron Francis with 903 games in 13 seasons with the franchise.

Francis is the only other Hurricane to have his number retired.