ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Right wing Teemu Selanne, the second-leading scorer in Anaheim history, returned to the Mighty Ducks on Monday.

The 35-year-old free agent signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the team he played for from 1996-01.

Selanne, a nine-time All-Star, has averaged 37 goals year in 12 NHL seasons. Since entering the league with Winnipeg in 1992, he has 452 goals. Only Jaromir Jagr (478) has scored more.

Selanne said several teams he wouldn’t identify expressed interest in his services, but Anaheim was his first option all along.

“I knew exactly what kind of hockey the Ducks are going to play,” he said. “We know the new rules are going to be a good fit for me also. I know my family is going to be very happy in Anaheim, that’s a big thing, too. I’m just very happy to get this done.”

Selanne said he was slowed in recent years by an injured left knee, but had surgery last September.

“My knee is as good as when I started in the NHL,” he said. “I’m very excited now, it’s back to 100 percent, it’s time to play hockey again.

“When I can’t use my speed, I’m useless. I have really high expectations of this year, not only of myself but the team. It’s a new start. I think the new rules are going to help this game a lot. Without the red line, I think the game is going to be faster, particularly for our team.”

Selanne had 16 goals and 16 assists in 78 games for the Colorado Avalanche in the 2003-04 season and added three assists in 10 playoff games.

First-year general manager Brian Burke said Selanne’s past has nothing to do with his return to Anaheim.

“I’m not interested in adding names, I’m interested in adding hockey players,” Burke said. “I signed Teemu because I think he makes us a better hockey team. We’re anticipating he’ll play on our top six. Certainly, I’m counting on him for top-six ice time and the power play.

“From a management standpoint, he’s a proven goal-scorer. I think that’s beyond dispute. I think he’s a complete hockey player as well. I believe Teemu has leadership skills, which he’s demonstrated here in the past. He was active in the community when he was here. That’s what I have promised to Orange County and Riverside County. We believe that’s a plus as well.”

Burke said the contract is for one year “because it’s not clear from our perspective what Teemu can deliver at this point.”

“I’m told his knee is fine,” Burke said. “He struggled a bit in his last year at Colorado. With the style we’re going to play and the rules, he can play a number of years after this year. It’s up to Teemu. I made it clear to his agent we’re certainly not looking at this as a one-year thing.”

Selanne said the way he feels, there’s no limit as to how many more seasons he can play, but added: “Right now, I’m going to go one year at a time.”

Selanne played in 394 games for the Ducks before being traded to San Jose in March 2001 for Jeff Friesen, Steve Shields and future considerations. Anaheim acquired Selanne from Winnipeg in February 1996.

Selanne’s 482 career points in 394 games ranks second in franchise history behind Paul Kariya’s 669. Selanne also is second with 225 goals to Kariya’s 300 and third with 257 assists behind Kariya’s 369 and Steve Rucchin’s 279.

Selanne won the 1999 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, given to the leagues top goal scorer, as well as the 1993 Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the league’s top rookie. He has twice been a first-team NHL All-Star and twice a second-team All-Star (1998, 1999).

AP-ES-08-22-05 1738EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.