The 1988 draft featured legends such as Mike Modano, Rod Brind’Amour, Mark Recchi and Rob Blake. Even Jeremy Roenick was drafted in the top ten, one spot behind Martin Gelinas. But none were quite as legendary as the class act himself, Teemu Selanne. At 10th overall, Selanne was picked by the first edition of the Winnipeg Jets where he would take the NHL by storm. An astounding 26 years later, the 44-year-old has decided to end his illustrious career through retirement.
On Sunday, January 11, the Anaheim Ducks have elected to retire Selanne’s iconic number 8, when the Ducks take on the Jets of course. The team that drafted him will pay tribute in the city where Selanne made himself a household name. Fans of the Ducks, and hell, fans of hockey in general, will all miss one of the most respected and skilled players of all time as his jersey is raised toward the rafters.
Selanne burst into the NHL with speed and craftiness unseen from a rookie since Wayne Gretzky. With 76 goals and 132 points, Selanne set the record in both categories for a rookie, landing him a Calder Trophy and a bragging right which stands to this day. After nearly three more seasons with the Jets, Selanne was shipped to the Ducks where he would pair up with Paul Kariya and create one of the most dynamic duos of all time. The two led the Ducks to the organization’s first playoffs and lit up the scoresheets for many years.
In 1998, Selanne scored a hat trick in the season’s all star game, making him the first European to ever receive MVP for such an occasion. In the very next season, the Rocket Richard Trophy was created, and guess who happened to take it home in its first year? After one more season with the Ducks, Selanne was traded to an abysmal San Jose squad, where he led the team in goals during his first full season with just 29. After only two full seasons with the Sharks, Selanna and his old buddy Kariya decided to in Colorado together to try and win a cup. But their efforts fell short when Selanne’s knee bothered him. He would later require surgery and use the 2004 lockout to his advantage as he recovered.
Just as he Selanne seemed to be down and out, he experienced a resurgence in his career. The Finn decided to go back where he truly made a name for himself as he once again suited up for the Mighty Ducks. After finishing the season with 90 points – his best season in six years – he was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy.
In the following season, as Anaheim decided they were no longer mighty, Selanne experience the ultimate highlight in his career. The Ducks managed to oust the Ottawa Senators in five games to win the Stanley Cup and cementing Selanne’s name in the record books.
The “Finnish Flash,” as he’s known, finished 15th overall in total points with 1457, on spot behind Stan Mikita and one above Bryan Trottier. Here’s a breakdown of some more all time stats, and where Teemu sits:
Games Played: 1451 (22nd)
Goals: 684 (11th)
Assists: 773 (37th)
power-play goals: 255 (3rd)
Game winning goals: 110 (4th)
Oh, and let’s not forget how successful Selanne was internationally. During the Olympics, Selanne has helped his country to four medals, including one silver and three bronze.
Check out the tribute preview here:
Graduate of the U of T journalism program. Interned at The Hockey News. Follow me on twitter: @AceLarkin