Friday, September 19, 2008

Teemu Selanne signs pro-tryout contract to return to Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks still have to clear salary cap space before signing him to a standard player contract. It is pretty much just a formality that has to be completed.

Teemu Selanne ended all speculation about his future by signing a professional tryout agreement so he can take part in formal workouts with the start of training camp on Saturday morning in Anaheim. So in other words, he's back!

"The Finnish Flash" as he's been nicknamed since he began his National Hockey League career with the Winnipeg Jets with a huge bang by scoring a league rookie record 76 goals in the 1992-1993 season. The highlight of his career would obviously be playing a key role in the Ducks' 2007 Stanley Cup championship campaign. Selanne put up 94 points (48 goals and 46 assists) in all 82 games of the 2006-2007 regular season and then tallied 15 more in the team's successful playoff run.

But at this time a year ago, the 38-year-old Selanne did contemplate retirement and didn't decide to come back until January where he scored 12 goals and had 11 assists in just 23 regular season games last season. Anaheim as the defending champions was bounced right out of the playofs in an opening round defeat to the Dallas Stars where he put up just 4 points (2 goals and 2 assists) in 6 games. Given the idea his quiet 2007-2008 abbreviated season was relatively quiet compared to past years, Selanne is hungry to not only get back out on the ice, he wants to play and win. This is despite the fact he's only been working out in recently and only now has he made it official on the eve of training camp that he'll give it a go.

"I have been a risk taker all my life," Selanne told Matt Vevoda of "I have been skating already six weeks and any day something could happen. I don't want to miss the camp. I really believe that this time is very important. That's why I did it."

In a serious change of mind of where he stands with his playing career, Selanne revealed to Orange County Register reporter Dan Wood that he could possibly sign a two-year contract with the Ducks and even may consider playing one final time for the Finnish Olympic hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

"The Olympic year next year (2010 in Vancouver) is something that's in my mind," Selanne said. "I've played four times in the Olympics, and it's an unbelievable experience. I know it's going to be the last time when NHL players are going to be participating in the Olympics, so obviously it's something quite special."

While at this point he's non-committal beyond the upcoming season, he will take those additional playing years into consideration.

"The good thing is I'm healthy," he added. "I feel very good physically, and now mentally I'm fresh. Obviously, I want to finish my career in Anaheim, with the Ducks. That's a big thing for me. That's why a two-year deal would work better, but let's see what happens."

Selanne is the all-time franchise leader in seven statistical categories. He has scored 325 of his 552 career goals in a Ducks uniform and currently has the fourth-highest goal total among active NHL players.

No comments: