Selanne re-ups for 20th NHL season

41-year-old returns with Ducks

Author: By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 13 2012 08:22:24 AM EDT

Those in the hockey world who watch Teemu Selanne believe that he can still play for a few more years, and leading the Ducks in scoring at age 41 only strengthened that sentiment.

Apparently Selanne also believes that he has a lot left in his tank as well.

The future Hall of Fame winger, who sits 12th on the NHL's all-time scoring list with 663 goals, is back for another season with the Anaheim Ducks, as he agreed to a one-year contract worth $4.5 million.

Selanne, who turned 42 on July 3, went beyond his own initial timetable to decide whether he'd play again, but he delivered some positive news in what's been a rough summer for the Ducks.

The club's fans have had to deal with top prospect Justin Schultz not signing with the franchise that drafted him and perennial 30-goal scorer Bobby Ryan expressing his unhappiness over continually being mentioned in trade rumors.

But the return of the greatest player in Ducks history proved to be a nice tonic.

"Very excited," said Selanne, who was on a conference call while vacationing in Italy. "Obviously there's some unfinished business from last year. Can't wait to start the season again."

The beloved winger has spent each of the last few summers deciding if he willing to put in the work to display the high level of play that he's shown over 19 NHL seasons.

That was the case in 2011-12, as Selanne carried the Ducks through their horrific first three months and eventually finished with 26 goals and 66 points, the latter of which led the team.

"I watched the first half of the season, and I thought it's going to be hard," he said. "But the second half again was so much fun. I've always tried to have four weeks, six weeks, whatever it takes after the season to clear my head and think about how much I enjoyed it and how healthy I am.

"I think this year I kind of knew that I still had a lot of fun."

The all-time leading scorer in Ducks history, Selanne could realistically catch Jaromir Jagr, Luc Robitaille, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Mark Messier on the career goals list. He has an outside shot of being the seventh player in NHL history to score 700 goals.

Selanne also sits 19th on the all-time points list with 1,406 and joins Jagr and Hall of Famer Stan Mikita as the only European-born players to score 1,400 or more points. The 11-time All-Star has recorded 436 goals and 501 assists in his 13 seasons with the Ducks.

"While I'm still amazed by his speed and skill level, it's Teemu's love for the game and his teammates that make him so special," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. "Anaheim is where he belongs."