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Teemu Selanne Returning to Anaheim With Paul Kariya in Tow?

Aug 6, 2010 – 5:10 PM
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Susan Slusser

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Teemu Selanne was cagey when asked about his future plans toward the end of last season, and it appears that he's planning to return to the Anaheim Ducks, according to TSN.ca, citing Finnish magazine "Sports Journal."

TSN's report quoted Selanne as telling "Sports Journal": "I made the decision to continue my career. In fact, it has been clear for a long time. Negotiations are now ready to begin."

The Finnish publication also reports that Selanne has made a pitch to bring former teammate Paul Kariya back into the fold.

The Ducks do not have any announcements scheduled for today, I'm told, and while it was confirmed that negotiations continue with Selanne, there were no such confirmations about Kariya.

There was never any doubt that Anaheim would like to have Selanne back. Selanne, who turned 40 earlier this offseason, told "Sports Journal" that as long as the Ducks aren't rebuilding, he's interested because he believes Anaheim has the talent to succeed right now.

When Saku Koivu re-signed with the Ducks earlier this week, agreeing to a two-year deal, he said he hoped it would help countryman Selanne make up his mind to return, along with the Ducks' addition of another Finnish player, defenseman Toni Lydman, who signed a three-year deal earlier this week.

Selanne, one of the league's all-time greats, would be returning for an 18th season in the NHL and his 11th with Anaheim.

Kariya, 35, has played in the league 15 years, including the Ducks, his first team, for nine seasons from 1994-95 to 2002-03. He has been one of the most high-profile remaining free agents.

Kariya and Selanne, dangerous linemates for the Ducks a decade ago, have been a package deal before, though it didn't work as they had hoped. They signed with Colorado in 2003, and they never quite found the magic that had been hoped for. Kariya, injured part of the season, scored 36 points; Selanne had 32 in 78 games. Their time with the Avalanche lasted exactly one season.

Selanne is immensely popular in Anaheim, as was Kariya during his seasons there, so if nothing else, this would be a fun blast-from-the-past double signing, if it is truly in the cards. GM Bob Murray presumably is making restricted free agent Bobby Ryan's contract a top priority, but the club has about $13 million in cap space, making a Selanne/Kariya reunion not out of the realm of possibility at all.
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