For a few years, Anaheim Ducks fans have always got to this time of the year with a question in mind: was this year the last for the "Finnish Flash"?
Hopes were high until the free agency signing period started, after a very good season from Selanne, where he played a crucial role in getting the Ducks to the playoffs and in their special teams.
But the biggest reason for Teemu to stay around and play came much earlier this season, when Paul Kariya took the year off to recover from another concussion—unsurprisingly, rumors of the reunion of the Mighty Ducks' dynamic duo in the 2012 season began to spread, as Paul was a now free agent.
However, this past week might have changed everything.
Paul Kariya being forced to retire is not shocking news but it sure ended numerous fans' dreams of seeing him on a Anaheim jersey again. And, although having Kariya back wouldn't guarantee Selanne's presence in the roster, it would surely be a huge factor in his decision.
To make things worse, Winnipeg has its Jets back.
The times have changed since Selanne obliterated the NHL's rookie records but wouldn't it be special to finish his NHL career in the place where it started? Not even the Anaheim fans can argue about that.
So, why should Selanne stay with the Ducks next year? He will certainly contemplate retirement one more time but if he feels he can help the organization, he will give it one more shot.
And the first reason is also a recently retired player: Todd Marchant.
Marchant was seen as a special teams player and played a huge role in Anaheim's penalty killing. Now that he won't be coming back next year, Selanne will be seen as the main weapon in the special teams—it's bad to lose one of your top penalty killers, let alone losing your top powerplay scorer.
The other reason would be Rickard Rakell.
It's still unsure whether the Ducks will try to give Rakell regular ice time like they gave to Cam Fowler. The circumstances are different and some people think Anaheim took a gamble with Fowler by trying to fill Scott Niedermayer's spot with a rookie. Rakell will not have a similar chance.
Having the forward line many describe as the most dangerous in the league, Rakell could hope only for a second line role at best. If he is to be given a shot at staying in the main roster, Selanne's presence will be crucial to his development. His advice and experience could certainly help out the rookie and in a much more active way than the support Fowler got from Niedermayer last season.
Amidst an absolutely free agency frenzy, Anaheim fans hope the best news they get is seeing an old face coming back for another year rather than a new one.
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