Anaheim Ducks forward and future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne has announced he will return for his 22nd and final season in the National Hockey League. Selanne has decided to sign a 1-year, $2 million deal to round out his career which he’s scored 675 career NHL goals and dished out 755 assists. (Although, it was of little surprise to teammate Lucas Sbisa, who said that he was 99 percent sure that the “Finnish Flash” would return for another season.)
In fact Selanne announced his return in hilarious fashion. (Kind of tops LeBron James’ “Decision” special, doesn’t it?)
There was speculation on whether or not he would take a reduced role with the club, but met with head coach Bruce Boudreau and General Manager Bob Murray and the meetings between him and the management went well. (There was some speculation that Selanne considered a return to the Winnipeg Jets, the club that first signed him and he set many records for, including the rookie scoring record.)
It will be nice to see Selanne get the victory lap that he deserves as he’ll get a Mariano Rivera-style Farewell Tour at each NHL arena. (The new balanced schedule allows for him to visit every arena.) It’s good he gets that because a player like former Red Wings great Niklas Lidstrom never got that opportunity.
Selanne has been one of the best players from Finland this side of the great Jarri Kurri. He’s 43 years old and probably still will be a vital part of the Ducks’ offense this season as they look to improve on their first-round exit at the hands of Detroit in the 2013 playoffs. Selanne also has a good shot at making the Finnish national team for the 2104 Olympics in Sochi for his sixth appearance. (He is the Olympics all-time points leader with 37.) He’s in such good shape that he could go another five years, but probably wants to enjoy life. (And work on that bad golf game, if that YouTube video is any indication of his skill level.)
Selanne has been around forever.(His son, Eetu, is already turning heads as a top-ranked junior hockey prospect in Canda.) I remember doing having to do a report on a European country in sixth grade, and I got Finland. I really started paying attention to hockey because of Teemu. He’s always been one of the most popular players in the league. (Ask his son about the tremendous amounts of fan mail the elder Selanne gets.)
It’s going to be different if and when he does decide to retire. He’s one of the all-time greats, and here’s to hoping for a great season.
Dan Mount is an NHL writer for TJRSports.com and is based out of Watertown, NY. He can be followed on Twitter @DanMountSports