It was recently reported that Teemu Selanne will wait until September to make a decision on whether or not he will play this season. Selanne is currently an unrestricted free agent and underwent knee surgery last month. With as much as he has meant to the Ducks since returning post-lockout, it’d be a big blow to Randy Carlyle and company if the ‘Finnish Flash’ ends up retiring.
When Anaheim went on that late-season tear to claim first-round home-ice, Corey Perry stole all of the headlines as he made his charge for 50 goals. Selanne also scored countless clutch goals in that stretch.
In crucial defacto playoff games in March, Selanne scored game-tying goals late in regulation against Calgary and Dallas (in back-to-back games, no less) that led to overtime victories. The future Hall of Famer also tallied a hat trick and five points in a close win over Colorado, as well as a third period game-winner against Los Angeles in April. Without Selanne’s heroics, the Ducks probably would not have made the playoffs.
Selanne still has it. He’s still one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and is coming off an 80-point season. Better yet, he scored six goals in six first-round games against Nashville, further proving he can still play at a high level. After that series, Nashville coach Barry Trotz called Selanne the “fastest 40-year-old” he had ever seen.
The issue for Selanne is his left knee. Though he showed no signs of slowing down late in the year, he has stated over the summer that his knee just doesn’t feel right. He’s hoping it is good enough by September so he can return to the Ducks for another season.
The team certainly hopes that surgically repaired knee of Selanne’s feels better, too. Though he has struggled to play a full 82-game season, the team is a lot better when he’s in the lineup. In the 54 games that Selanne has missed over the last three years, the Ducks own a record of 22-26-6; in the other 192 games with Selanne, they are 106-69-17.
Not having Selanne in the lineup this season would certainly have a negative impact on the Ducks. As noted, he was clutch and productive all of last season, finishing second only to Corey Perry in the team’s leaders for points. If you take Selanne out, it affects the offense to a point where opposing defenses really only need to focus on the top line of Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. Selanne makes the second line dangerous. Also, his presence would be missed on the power play and in the locker room.
We won’t know Selanne’s decision, possibly, for another month. But when he does make up his mind on whether to return or not, the Ducks obviously hope he’s returning to the ice and not making an emotional retirement speech.
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