Teemu Selanne has some serious thinking to do.
It's no secret that the Anaheim Ducks' veteran winger is on the radar of general managers across the NHL who would love to upgrade their team's offense by adding Selanne. He may be old, but he's shown this season that he is still very much capable of playing at a high level.
On Friday, the Ducks found themselves in Detroit to play the Red Wings, whose fans would like nothing more than to have Selanne suit up with the Red Wings for the rest of the season.
According to Eric Stephens of The Orange County Register, Selanne simply laughed when he was told of how largely he looms in the dreams of Red Wings fans.
"We don't go that far," he said.
Selanne didn't want to talk about the rumors at all. He doesn't even think about them.
"I have tried to avoid that question. We still have [hope]. Everybody in this room believes that we can make the playoffs and I think that would be almost wrong to even think about any other options. That's not in my mind right now. Let's see what happens."
One assumes Selanne knows what the odds are. At the time he made these comments, the Ducks had 50 points. They left with 51 points after their shootout loss, leaving them still well outside the edge of the Western Conference playoff cut. At this point in the season, deficits don't get much more insurmountable than that.
The Red Wings, on the other hand, are at the very top of the conference and a clear Stanley Cup contender.
It will be up to Ducks general manager Bob Murray to figure out a deal if the team does choose to deal Selanne at the deadline, but Stephens notes that it's going to be Selanne's call. Murray isn't interested in trading him, but Selanne can change that if he walks into his office and asks.
To come to that conclusion, Selanne would basically have to give up on the Ducks' chances of making the playoffs. He would have to accept that his talents would be put to better use elsewhere.
There would be no shame in it if Selanne were to do that. As well as he's playing this year, he's not going to be around forever. Asking for a trade to a contender would mean a shot at the Stanley Cup, which is something he's not going to get with the Ducks.
Joining the Red Wings would give Selanne the best shot at winning the Stanley Cup. He would be joining a team that is already one of the NHL's best offensive teams, not to mention one of the league's better defensive teams. If he feels an urge to go Cup chasing, the Red Wings are going to stand out.
The alternative isn't quite as appealing. The way things are going, staying with the Ducks will mean missing out on the playoffs. Even if the Ducks do qualify, they don't have the goods to make a deep run through the postseason.
If Selanne decides that he wants to jump ship, he won't regret it.
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