Player Profile will be a running column on questions and thoughts for the upcoming season. Individual players from each team will be highlighted in each post.
Is it time for Teemu Selanne to retire?
It’s a simple question, but a difficult answer with many shades of grey. Selanne is 43, and definitely not in the prime in this career. But in saying that Selanne was still on pace to score over 20 goals in a regular 82 game season (but this was a lock out shortened one, so he scored 12). Still even with numbers that dipped a bit last season it’s hard to argue the fact that Selanne could be more important this season compared to last season, especially after the loss of Bobby Ryan via trade to the Ottawa Senators. Without Selanne there are numerous questions about the Anaheim Ducks top six forwards, with Selanne it all of a sudden gets a little bit clearer.
Still the question remains, is it time for Teemu Selanne to retire?
In the recent past Selanne has had very productive seasons since hitting the ripe old age of 40. He had remarkable production for a player in his 40′s, let alone most of the players on his own team. In 2010-11 Selanne had more points (80) then everyone on his team except for eventual Hart Memorial Trophy winner Corey Perry (who had 98). The very next season in 2011-12 Selanne then led the team in points (66) and showed that even after the age of 40 players can still be productive.
So, the question needs to be asked, was last season an aberration or is it what Selanne is becoming? If you look at the minutes he logged last season he found his role transformed, and he became much more of a steady hand playing on the third line with fellow veteran Saku Koivu. They made a formidable pairing, but with the trade of Ryan, Selanne looks to get an upgrade in playing time, and scoring talent around him. But can he turn around a down season, and become a valuable point producer for the Anaheim Ducks again? That’s the question for the Ducks if he decides to come back. Is he still capable of being the Selanne of old, or at this stage of his career is he just another role player? If the answer to that question is, “We see Selanne as a veteran leader and a great role player for our team”, then all Ducks fans should be really disappointed. If Selanne is coming back, then he needs to be the offensive threat he was once. But can he be? Be honest and ask yourself the question.
Come on, is it time for Teemu Selanne to retire?
Yes, it may be time for Selanne to retire. Last season we saw the beginnings of his new role with the team. The Ducks will try to fit Selanne (a square peg) into a top six forward spot (a round hole) and it won’t work. Selanne is past the point of being a point producing player, and while it pains many fans to see Selanne continue to play past his productive years let me remind you that Chris Chelios retired at 47. Still, Selanne should still be a solid player, and in a role suited for him it seems logical that he can still produce somewhere near 40 points next season.
But if that’s all he can produce, should he retire?
Fans were sad that Nicklas Lidstrom retired when he did, after all the previous season Lidstrom had won his seventh Norris Trophy. But Lidstrom, not the fans saw his playing level, energy and love of the sport diminish. Selanne needs to answer these questions himself before he can decide whether or not he’s coming back. But, the answers to these questions may be irrelevant, after all Selanne is a player who has always been able to dazzle and play the game smarter than most. He has scored over 100 points three times in his career, and has transformed himself from a sniper to a playmaker as the years went on.
The Ducks would be foolish not to offer every inch of cap space they can to bring him back. Selanne can’t be the player he once was, and I’m sure even he knows that. But, a Selanne that plays on the third line, and gives veteran leadership is valuable to the Ducks, more valuable than Selanne going home and not playing. More importantly it means that they are still in the hunt to win the Stanley Cup. Selanne‘s only quest at this point is the Stanley Cup, and while he may see it possible in the Ducks future; it may be a matter of close or distant. If they can win it now, it seems logical he will give it one more season. If they don’t seem likely though, Selanne is much more likely to hang it up and retire.
But should he retire?
Fine, I’ll answer the question. Yes he should. The Ducks are not close to winning the Stanley Cup and while a role playing, veteran leader like Selanne is better than no Selanne I don’t see him playing another season with a middle of the road team. His heart belongs in Anaheim so he won’t pull a Daniel Alfredsson. I only see Selanne coming back if he thinks the Ducks can win the Stanley Cup, and quite frankly they probably can’t.