by PuckStopsHere on 05/18/14 at 04:36 PM ET
I like to write a career retrospective whenever a player I consider a future Hall of Famer retires. Here was the post I made when I first considered Selanne a Hall of Famer. Teemu Selanne has played his final NHL game as his Anaheim Ducks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings on Friday. Therefore here is my Teemu Selanne career retrospective.
Teemu Selanne was born on July 3rd, 1970 in Helsinki, Finland. He first was noticed by NHL scouts when he played for Jokerit Helsinki in the Finnish Junior league in 1986/87. He quickly became one of their better players. In his second year there he led the league in goals with 43 and points with 66 (in 33 games played). He played five games in the Finnish 2 adult league as well and was a standout in the European Junior Championships scoring 16 points in six games played and making its All Star Team. This was a strong enough showing for the Winnipeg Jets to draft him in the first round, tenth overall in the 1988 Entry Draft. Selanne then served in the army in Finland for a year, which is mandatory for Finnish citizens. This had him playing with the Army Sports Academy in the Finnish Junior League as well as with his home team of Jokerit Helsinki. He played the majority of his games in the Finnish second division league that year. He also played in the World Junior Hockey Championships scoring ten points in seven games. 1989 saw Selanne playing in the Finnish Elite League with Jokerit where he stayed for the next three years. In 1991, he played on the Finnish team in the World Hockey Championships. In 1992 he played in the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Selanne had 11 points in eight games but did not win a medal. He also led the Finnish league in goals with 39 (in 44 games played).
The Winnipeg Jets had a policy of letting their European players mature in Europe at that time. Since Selanne had not signed an NHL contract in four years after being drafted he was considered a restricted free agent. The Calgary Flames signed him to an offer sheet paying him $2.7 million over three years. This was well above what Winnipeg had offered so far, but they chose to match the offer. Selanne debuted in the NHL in 1992.
Selanne was an instant star. He set records as a rookie scoring 76 goals and 132 points. His 76 goals led the NHL. He played in his first of ten All Star Games that year. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and made the All Rookie Team and made the First All Star Team. His second NHL season was limited to 51 games played due to a season ending Achilles tendon injury. With the 1994/95 lockout, Selanne returned to Jokerit Helsinki to start the season before returning to the NHL. In the 1995/96 season, the financially troubled Jets traded Selanne, Marc Chouinard and their fourth round draft choice in 1996 (later traded to Montreal - the Habs chose Kim Staal) to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for Chad Kilger, Oleg Tverdovsky and Anaheim's third pick in the 1996 draft (Per-Anton Lundstrom).
In Anaheim, he was paired with Paul Kariya and had significant success. Selanne played for Finland in the 1996 World Cup. 1997 saw Selanne make the NHL First All Star Team for his second time when he cleared 100 points. In 1998, he led the NHL with 52 goals scored and made the Second team All Star. He played for Finland in the 1998 Nagano, Japan Olympics and led the tournament with ten points. He repeated his goal scoring lead in 1999 and won the inaugural Maurice Richard Trophy with 47 goals scored and again made the Second All Star Team. In 2000/01, the Mighty Ducks struggled in the standings and chose to trade Selanne to San Jose for Jeff Friesen, Steve Shields and their 2003 second round draft pick (this pick was traded to Dallas who selected Vojtech Polak).
Selanne spent slightly over two years in San Jose. Since his scoring rate had fallen below a point per game, people began to speculate that he was in decline. He played for Finland in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. He declined an option year in 2003 and chose to sign a one year contract with the Colorado Avalanche where he could rejoin his old teammate Paul Kariya. That was not a successful season as he struggled through knee problems and eventually had knee surgery. Selanne took the 2004/05 lockout season off to recover after playing in the 2004 World Cup.
With the lockout over, Selanne returned to Anaheim as a free agent. A rested Selanne was scoring at better than point per game rate again. He played for Finland in the 2006 Turino Olympics and won the silver medal. He won the 2006 Bill Masterton Trophy for overcoming his knee problems and continuing his career. In 2007, he was a significant part of the Stanley Cup winning Anaheim Ducks. Selanne took the majority of the next year off "contemplating retirement" before he resigned in Anaheim and played 23 games. Selanne played out the rest of his career as an Anaheim Duck, last scoring above point per game rate in 2011. He also played in the Vancouver and Sochi Olympics. He won a bronze medal in Vancouver and is the all time top scorer in Olympic hockey.
Selanne is the highest scoring Finnish hockey player ever. He finishes his career 22nd overall in games played with 1451, 11th in career goals with 684 and 14th overall in career points with 1457. He is remembered as one of the fastest offensive stars in NHL history. He was nicknamed the Finnish Flash. He holds most major team records in Anaheim club history.
Selanne's retirement leaves us with 13 active players I consider future Hall of Famers. They are:
I have also dropped Sergei Fedorov from the list since the last time I posted it. It doesn't look like his comeback is for real. This list may still grow as the Stanley Cup is won this year. It may shrink by a couple more members if they retire this summer.
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