The Anaheim Ducks were eliminated from the playoffs on Friday night with a 6-2 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, but while players like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will be back next season to try to reclaim Stanley Cup glory, there is one key member of the Ducks who very likely won’t be back.
That player is forward Teemu Selanne, who is in all likelihood retiring from the game after his 21st season in the league. In 1451 career games, Selanne has racked up 684 goals, dished out 773 assists, and has scored the game-winning goal 110 times in his illustrious career. He also has 255 power play tallies, and was a member of the 2007 Ducks team that hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time in team history.
For the past several years, Selanne has been toying with the idea of retiring from the NHL, but it appears that this time he might finally throw in the towel. In 64 regular season games with the Ducks, Selanne had nine goals and 18 assists for the team, and was only sporadically effective during the postseason. With his best days clearly behind him, the Finnish Flash might finally hang up his skates, but he won’t be doing so without receiving an outpouring of praise and support from around the NHL.
That group of well-wishers includes the Kings, who stayed on the ice after the teams exchanged handshakes following the game to salute Selanne as he left the Honda Center ice for what could be the final time in his career. The team hit their sticks on the ice in Selanne’s honor, and after the game he was clearly touched by the gesture.
"It’s unbelievable, so much class and respect," Selanne said. "That’s what this game is all about. It has been a pleasure to be around for so many years."
The Kings’ Twitter account also weighed in to say a final farewell to Selanne, with their usual snark replaced by gratitude:
We’ll miss Teemu. It been an honor to watch him all these years. Truly a legend.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) May 17, 2014
In an era when scorers aren’t producing at the kind of rates that they were during Wayne Gretzky’s heyday, there aren’t many players who are going to be able to touch Selanne’s career numbers. In his first season in the league, Selanne set a rookie record by scoring 76 goals for the Winnipeg Jets, and that was just the beginning. He would eclipse the 100-point plateau two more times in his career, both with the Ducks, and he would score 40 or more goals six times over that span. He was still a point-per-game player even as he hit his 40’s, racking up 80 points in 73 games with the Ducks during the 2010-11 season.
With all of those numbers under his belt, and a Hall of Fame induction sure to follow, Selanne will have plenty of things on his plate to keep his attention. He has said that he wants to help continue to grow the game in Southern California, but there’s also the possibility that he could end up playing for a team closer to home:
#NHLDucks Selanne: "There's going to be a huge hole to fill. I'll probably go try out for a few rec league teams."
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) May 17, 2014