Kukla's Korner

Puckin' Around With Spector

What Should Selanne Do?

The struggles of the Anaheim Ducks this season has resulted in veteran winger Teemu Selanne being frequently mentioned in recent trade rumors.

Ducks GM Bob Murray has repeatedly stated his intent is for Selanne to retire a Duck, though he’s left that decision up to the 41-year old Selanne, who hasn’t fully closed the door on the option of requesting a trade to a Stanley Cup contender, but said his focus remains helping the Ducks reach the playoffs.

Despite winning eight of their last ten games, the Ducks are currently 12 points out of a post-season spot, and with less than half-a-season remaining, their odds of clinching a berth appear long.

It’s rumored Murray has received enquiries from rival clubs about Selanne’s trade status, which is understandable, since he’s currently their leading scorer, and with 45 points in 48 games, has a good shot at reaching the 80-point mark for the tenth time in his remarkable career.

Some observers believe Selanne “owes” it to the Ducks to “do the right thing” by allowing Murray to shop him at the trade deadline to get whatever assets he can.

After all, it’s his final NHL season, the Ducks are seemingly going nowhere, and even if they do beat the odds and reach the playoffs, they lack the depth to be a serious Cup contender.

Selanne’s already won a Stanley Cup, so it’s not as though he’s facing the end of a long career without a championship, but he’s admitted it would be exciting to win it one more time before packing it in.

It’s entirely up to Selanne what he wants to do. If he decides a month from now he wants another crack at winning the Cup, and believe he won’t get that chance in Anaheim, few Ducks fans would be upset if he requested a trade to a legitimate contender.

The notion, however, that he “owes” it to the Ducks so they can get some assets in return is absurd. At this stage in his career, Selanne owes the Ducks nothing.

Apart from his explosive, 132-point debut with the Winnipeg Jets in 1993, he’s already given them the best years of his life. He helped them win their first championship in franchise history, and has remain loyal to the organization which was willing to take a chance on him (albeit under a different general manager) following the lockout, when he was considered washed-up by the rest of the league.

True, his foot dragging on retirement in recent years put the franchise in an awkward situation salary cap-wise, but each time he decided to return, the Ducks were his sole option, forsaking the opportunity to sign with more talented teams.

If Selanne decides he wants to finish his career in Anaheim, will he be accused of not putting the best interests of the team over his own?

That’s what happened to former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin, who enraged the majority of Leafs fans, and puzzled a number of pundits, by his refusal to waive his “no-trade” clause near the 2008 trade deadline.

Sundin explained he didn’t believe in the concept of being a playoff “rental player”, saying he would prefer to play for a Cup contender over the course of an entire season, rather than being parachuted onto one late in the season.

He also noted being dealt to a supposed Cup contender was no guarantee of winning a championship.

Thanks to his trade clause, Sundin had the right to decide if he wanted to be moved, and by exercising his right of refusal, was castigated by Toronto fans and media. His final days in his long, distinguished career with the Leafs were overshadowed by accusations he was thinking only of himself, rather than the good of the team.

If Selanne follows the same path, would he face a similar backlash?

Considering the current market he plays in, any criticism probably wouldn’t be as intense as what Sundin experienced in the hockey hotbed of Toronto, but he could still face his share.

Selanne has reached the stage in his career where he owes it to himself - not the Ducks, or any other team – to chose the best course of action. If he feels the burning urge to seek hockey’s Holy Grail one last time, fine. He won’t be begrudged for that decision.

But if he feels it just wouldn’t be the right thing to leave the Ducks, that he would feel like he was abandoning this organization which gave him a chance when no one else would, then he should be commended, not condemned, for that decision.

Once upon a time, we use to cheer great players in the twilight of their careers who opted to stay with their teams, rather than chase one last shot at glory somewhere else. That used to be considered a sign of the player’s character, something to be admired.

All Selanne’s owed the Ducks is to play to the best of his ability every season, which he’s never failed to do.

If he wants to finish his career with the Ducks, that decision should be respected.

Filed in: | Puckin' Around With Spector | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

As a Duck fan I would be heart broken if TEEMU went anywhere before the end of the season.  There is no one they could get for TEEMU that would make it worth it!  It is such a joy to watch him play, he is why I go to the games when the Ducks were playing badly.  So I am not sure who those people are that think TEEMU should allow him self to be trade bait, I think they are nuts

Posted by Jody duck fan from So Cal on 01/25/12 at 02:08 PM ET

Avatar

No way is this as big a deal as Sundin. In Anaheim, there isn’t the same kind of microscope or hockey media presence that you find in Toronto. In fact, I’d wager a guess that the Winnipeg media would make much more of a story out of this than Anaheim. If Teemu says he doesn’t want to be traded, we’ll see overly dramatic stories about how Teemu hates Winnipeg, etc. Meanwhile, they are only on the cusp at this point; there’s no guarantee they’ll make it.

Posted by Lisa from NYC on 01/25/12 at 02:12 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Lisa from NYC on 01/25/12 at 11:12 AM ET

Selanne might accept a trade to a legitimate Cup contender. Winnipeg isn’t on that list. Nobody in Winnipeg will get upset if he doesn’t want to move there for the last two months of the season to help them almost make the playoffs.

Posted by awould on 01/25/12 at 02:23 PM ET

Avatar

In my opinion, the worst thing about the end of Sundin’s career wasn’t that he refused to waive his NTC, it’s that the following season he came back to play for Vancouver.
I would have been happy with him not waiving his NTC to retire a Leaf, but the fact that he left in the off-season for another team, leaving the Leafs with nothing, was what hurt the most.  They would have picked up some nice prospects/draft picks for him at the trade deadline.
If Teemu wants to retire a Duck then he should and everyone should respect that.  If he wants to play for a contender then let he should let the Ducks trade him.  Either way he shouldn’t get any grief from anyone.  He earned his NTC..

Posted by Steve from CA on 01/25/12 at 06:43 PM ET

Avatar

I hope he goes to Vancouver

Posted by Ruff on 01/26/12 at 12:32 AM ET

Avatar

Why wouldn’t the trade Selanne I mean he’s already 41 let him at least make it to the conference finals for his last season. TRADE HIM!

Posted by Derrin from Michigan on 01/26/12 at 03:26 AM ET

Avatar

As a long-time Ducks fan, I can tell you that Teemu is by far the most beloved of all Ducks players so far and everyone would love to see him retire as a Duck.  But, I doubt anyone would begrudge him the opportunity to make another run for the cup. Every summer we hope he comes back, but the team will raise his jersey no matter where he finishes and he’ll go out a hero regardless.  It won’t be the same as with Sundin…

Posted by Jerry from California on 01/28/12 at 04:29 PM ET

Avatar

TEEMU to CHICAGO!

Posted by Tony Gizzi from Chicago IL on 01/30/12 at 02:01 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About Puckin' Around With Spector

I’m Lyle Richardson. You might know me from my website, Spector’s Hockey, my thrice-weekly rumor column at THN.com, my weekly column at Eishockey News (if you read German), and my former gig as a contributing writer to Foxsports.com.

I’ll be writing a once-weekly blog here with my take on all things NHL. Who knows, I might actually find time to debunk a trade rumor or two.