Teemu Selanne to play 19th season

Updated: September 15, 2011, 10:17 PM ET
By Dan Arritt | ESPNLosAngeles.com

Teemu Selanne, the 41-year-old right wing for the Anaheim Ducks, will return for his 19th season in the NHL after agreeing to a one-year, $4 million deal, a spokesperson with the club confirmed.

[+] EnlargeTeemu Selanne
Anaheim DucksTeemu Selanne signed a one-year deal on Thursday, meaning the 41-year-old will be returning for his 19th season.

Selanne had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in June and wanted to give the joint additional time to heal before announcing his plans. With training camp set to begin Saturday, Selanne feels comfortable enough to return.

"You guys knew I can't stop playing yet, so I'm back, at least one more season," Selanne told fans in a video message posted on the team's website. "We start the season in Helsinki, so see you there."

Selanne turned 41 on July 3 but continued to play at a high level last season. He scored 80 points in 73 regular season games, his most productive season since 2006-07. He was particularly strong during the stretch run and into the playoffs, totaling 20 points in the final 16 games and seven more in a six-game loss to the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs.

"As he showed again last season, Teemu still has the drive, determination, and skill to play at an elite level," said executive vice president and general manager Bob Murray. "Most importantly for us, his passion comes from not just playing, but playing for the Ducks."

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.

"I really feel like I can still play at the same level I played at in the past," Selanne said. "If you can't do that, you can't enjoy the game as much, and there would be no way I'd come back. The main factor for me is that I can be healthy, my knee is OK to play at this level, and I can use my speed and play at my level."

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 powerplay 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 said his agent still got a call from the Jets, however.

"When you have four kids and a couple of dogs and a couple of horses and stuff, so many things to move, there is no way I can move anymore," said Selanne, who lives in an exclusive coastal community in Orange County. "But like I said, Winnipeg has been a special place for me, and I'm very excited to go back and play there again."

The Ducks visit Winnipeg on Dec. 17.

Selanne realizes Anaheim fans will immediately wonder if their beloved Finn is finally finished after this one-year deal. After all, the Honda Center crowd started chanting "One more year!" at him just a few games into last season.

"I think so, (but) I know I've said that the last five years," Selanne said. "But you've got to stop somewhere, and I've always approached this whole thing by saying it's my last year. I think that's really worked well for me."

Selanne is the Ducks' career leader in goals, assists, power-play points, game-winning goals and games played.

Dan Arritt covers the NHL for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE NHL HEADLINES