Blues center Scott Nichol will retire from the NHL after 12 seasons after accepting a position in Nashville as the Predators’ director of player development.

“We loved our time in St. Louis, and as a player you always want to play no matter how old you are, but I thought it was time,” said Nichol, 38, whose contract with the Blues expires later this month.

“Nashville approached me, and it was hard to pass it up. I wanted to stay in the game and this was the best chance to give back to the game that gave so much to me.”

Nichol signed with the Blues as a free agent in 2010, and in two seasons with the club he played 110 games, registering four goals and nine points. He was the team’s top face-off specialist, winning 60.6 and 57.6 percent of his draws in the past two years.

A sports hernia forced Nichol out of the lineup down the stretch this season. He didn’t play in the final 14 games of the regular season, nor did he suit up in the playoffs. He rehabbed the injury in an effort to play, but once the Blues were eliminated from the playoffs, he had surgery.

“(Blues coach Ken Hitchcock) came in one day and said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’” Nichol remembers. “I said, ‘I’m hurt.’ I played with it for a bit, but then he gave me a week off. It turned into two weeks, I felt better, started skating and felt good enough to grind it out at the end.

“I could have played, but my line (Adam Cracknell, Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves) was fantastic. I couldn’t have been happier for ‘Cracks,’ ‘Ports’ and ‘Revo.’ They forged the same identity that I did years ago. I bide my time and it never happened, but that’s hockey. The organization was great how they treated my family.”

Nichol played four seasons in Nashville (2005-09), so he’s familiar with the organization and looking forward to the opportunity to work with the Predators’ prospects.

“I’ll be going to the draft and building relationships with the kids that get drafted,” Nichol said. “I’ve been through every situation — seven years in the minors, 12 in the NHL. I’ve got a good grasp of what it takes to make it to the NHL and stay there and what sacrifices you have to endure.”