ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Teemu Selanne is returning for another season with the Anaheim Ducks, agreeing to a one-year contract on Thursday.
The 41-year-old Selanne is heading into his 19th NHL season, and the Finnish Flash has shown few signs of slowing down. Selanne was the NHL’s eighth-leading scorer last season with 80 points, the third-best season by a player in his 40s in league history.
Selanne is the 27th-leading scorer in NHL history with 1,340 points, and he ranks 14th in goals with 637. He’s also the Ducks’ career scoring leader after spending parts of 12 seasons with Anaheim.
“As he showed again last season, Teemu still has the drive, determination, and skill to play at an elite level,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. “Most importantly for us, his passion comes from not just playing, but playing for the Ducks.”
The Ducks were cautiously confident Selanne would return after his outstanding season, but spent the summer debating his future after postseason knee surgery.
“I’m very happy that my knee has recovered from surgery and is ready for the season,” Selanne said in a statement. “I’m excited and optimistic about what this team can do and thankful to have another opportunity to play in Anaheim.”
He has debated retirement each summer for the past four years since the Ducks won the Stanley Cup, but Selanne been skating daily in Anaheim in recent weeks, building his strength and testing his endurance.
Selanne’s decision to return is a huge boost to the Ducks, who open training camp on Saturday. Anaheim opens the season with a European tour that includes a game in the Helsinki area against Jokerit, Selanne’s former club.
League MVP Corey Perry and captain Ryan Getzlaf are back with the Ducks along with goalie Jonas Hiller, who believes he has beaten an apparent case of vertigo that sidelined him for much of last season.
Selanne is the scoring engine on the Ducks’ second line alongside fellow Finn Saku Koivu. Selanne was among 15 players to average better than a point per game last season, and he finished third in the NHL with 16 power-play goals.
He was clutch, too: Selanne became the first player in NHL history to score four game-tying goals in the final three minutes of a third period in the same season.
Before leaving for his summer break in Finland, Selanne said he wouldn’t consider moving his family to another city for another season — not even Winnipeg, where he broke into the NHL by scoring 76 goals as a 22-year-old rookie in his jaw-dropping 1992-93 campaign.
Selanne is the Ducks’ career leader in goals, assists, power-play points, game-winning goals and games played.