Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
If you are frequenting a blog dedicated to the Anaheim Ducks then you most likely have heard that Teemu Selanne has re-signed for one more year. He has indicated it will be his final year, that means no more anxiety in the off-season like we shared with his teammate Corey Perry. Or maybe you kept a cool head through the entire off season and were certain Teemu would re-sign just like Luca Sbisa.
Financial terms of the deal raise some interesting questions. Bob Murray had left over 4 million for Selanne. There are no bonuses on the contract. The cut in pay may be an agreement between Selanne and Murray to have wiggle room for call-ups to the team.
Or perhaps Murray has plans to address holes left in the blue line with injuries to Francois Beauchemin, who is recovering from surgery for a torn ACL and Sheldon Souray who tore ligament in his right wrist. Even though Souray is on long term injured reserve (LTIR) I wouldn’t expect Murray to be too aggressive with the $3.66 million because he has no intention of replacing Souray. This may be a chance for Hampus Lindholm to see significant ice time and prove himself. Vatanen was already expected to have a more active role with Lydman retiring. This opportunity may show the promise in our prospect pool, the Ducks are praised for the depth and talent of their prospects. Fans may finally see these prospects contributing to the big club, and the hype will finally be put to the test. More responsibility will be put on Cam Fowler‘s shoulders, a defining season may be ahead. The signing of Mark Fistric for the league minimum has potential to be a great signing, it addresses Murray’s desire for size on the back end. Fistric doesn’t get much fanfare but is touted as a solid defensive defenseman who plays a very physical style.
Many questions face the blue line but even with Selanne signed there are still questions to answer about potential line combinations. The major hold up in the contract was the question of what role Selanne would fill for the time. Before moving any further with Bob Murray he requested a meeting with Bruce Boudreau and the rest of the organization staff. Selanne wanted a clarification of his role on the team. Selanne a top six forward spot if he was still at that skill level. There are no guarantees on his ice time, Selanne even acknowledges the strength of young prospects and accepts that they may take some of his playing time.
Selanne was unhappy with a career low time on ace average of 15:41. Selanne also say a lack of shifts on the number one power-play unit time. Selanne is currently 3rd all time in power-play goals with 251. A talent like that should not be left off a power-play unit. Many fans expressed that Selanne looked tired and that he had lost a step. Selanne has always been candid about the high levels of fitness and nutrition he undertakes to stay at a competitive level. A compacted schedule was not his ally, and Selanne responded in his press conference call today about his chances for rest and dealing with the grind of an 82 game schedule.
The driving force behind Selanne’s decision to return was Olympic participation. Selanne is currently the all time points leader in Men’s Olympic ice hockey with 37.
Players on twitter also shared their joy with Selanne announcing another year in the NHL.
Luongo once again displayed he is trying to compete with the twitter comedy of Paul Bisonette
Selanne also informed everyone up front that this will be his last season. Selanne will leave behind a historic and storied career. A once in a lifetime talent who’s impact on the game may never be tangibly measured. I hope I speak for all Ducks fans and possibly most fans of the sport of hockey, after Selanne’s plays his final game, he will be sorely missed and we thank you for all of the amazing memories.