Report: Teemu Selanne to re-sign with Anaheim; Paul Kariya to join him?

teemuselanne1.jpgIf you’ve been wondering what will happen with Ducks star and Finnish legend Teemu Selanne, it appears that you can stop wondering right away and prepare for at least one more season of the Finnish Flash. TSN, via Finnish magazine Sport Report, tells us that Selanne will be coming back to the NHL for at least one more season.

“I made the decision to continue my career,” he told the magazine. “In fact, it has been clear for a long time. Negotiations are now ready to begin.”

Selanne, who is expected to play his 12th season with the Ducks, added that his level of play and the direction the Ducks were going in affected his decision. In 54 games last season, he scored 21 goals and 48 points. 

“I informed (Anaheim) that if they re-build (the team), I’ll then do something else,” Selanne said. “With the guys that the team has acquired, I’m convinced that we can still succeed.”

The Ducks have been filling their lineup bit-by-bit lately signing Andy Sutton to play defense after dealing James Wisniewski to the Islanders. Meanwhile they’ve been working very slowly towards trying to get a contract worked out with restricted free agent scorer Bobby Ryan. With Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Saku Koivu already in place, the Ducks top six is almost complete with Selanne back in the fold and assuming Ryan’s return. But what about a left wing to play on a line with Koivu and Selanne? It appears that Selanne is hard at work trying to recruit someone both he and Ducks fans might remember pretty well.

Selanne also told the Journal that he’s made a pitch to the Ducks and former teammate Paul Kariya for a reunion in Anaheim.

“I’ve talked to Paul and the Ducks,” said Selanne. “Paul has been waiting for my decision and I hope things move forward,” he said.

If it turns out that Selanne was the catalyst needed to get Kariya interested in rejoining Anaheim, that would give the Ducks two lines of players that would look like something out of a movie (not that movie) with a top line of young guns featuring Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan and a second line of old-school scorers with Koivu, Selanne and Kariya. All of a sudden, what was starting to look like a tenuous rebuilding year for Anaheim would look pretty decent on paper rolling with a top six like that. While the Ducks’ depth wouldn’t be too much to write home about at the moment, what they’d have initially would look pretty fun and reek of lots of old-time Disney-fashioned nostalgia.

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    Ekblad out again, this time with a sore neck

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    It’s not concussion-related, Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe told reporters today — but defenseman Aaron Ekblad woke up this morning with a sore neck and will miss tonight’s game against Arizona.

    Ekblad had only just returned to the lineup after missing four games with a concussion. He logged 18:14 in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Carolina.

    And now he’s out again.

    Certainly, the timing of Ekblad’s latest injury, not to mention the fact it’s a sore neck, will lead many to doubt Rowe’s assertion that it’s not concussion-related.

    But Rowe said before the Hurricanes game that the club was being cautious with its 21-year-old star defenseman.

    “We didn’t want to rush him back because he’s such a young guy,” said Rowe, per the Miami Herald. “With a concussion, we didn’t want to rush him back.”

    Stars’ Janmark won’t play this season, and there’s a ‘question mark’ about next year

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    In a season filled with injuries, one of the biggest Dallas suffered this season was Mattias Janmark‘s knee issue.

    The 24-year-old Swede has missed the entire season thus far, but recently resumed skating and practicing with the club. That said, Janmark confirmed he won’t play this year — meaning he’ll miss the entire 82-game campaign.

    And what’s more, he might miss games next season as well.

    “I think there’s a question mark (about next season), but we don’t know to what degree yet,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff, per the Dallas Morning-News. “He’s progressing nicely. He still has a ways to go, but I think the fact he is practicing now and has gone this far always gives a guy like that a better chance for next year.”

    Janmark’s original injury occurred during the preseason, when he knee locked up in a game against Colorado.

    “He had a small segment, approximately 21 millimeters by 11 millimeters, that became displaced and is locked in his knee,” GM Jim Nill said at the time. “It’s the bone and the cartilage, they both came off together.”

    Janmark underwent surgery to correct the issue, but his recovery was plagued by a preexisting congenital condition called osteochondritis dissecans. Nill said the likelihood of a full recovery was 80 percent.

    Losing his services was a big blow for Dallas. After surprising onlookers by making the team out of camp in ’15-16 — a “great story,” according to Nill — Janmark had a pretty successful rookie campaign, scoring 15 goals and 29 points in 73 games.

    He also fared well in the playoffs, with five points in 12 contests.

    Janmark’s contract situation complicates things. He’s a pending RFA, currently in the last of a two-year, $1.6 million deal with an $733,750 cap hit. The Stars would (presumably) like to keep him, but the uncertainty regarding his health might made negotiations difficult.

    Fehr injures hand, spotted in cast following Leafs debut

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    Eric Fehr finally played his first game as a Maple Leaf on Wednesday night, suiting up for the first time since being acquired from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline.

    It didn’t go especially well.

    Fehr, who logged 10:44 TOI in a 5-2 win over Columbus, suffered a hand injury while blocking a shot in the third period and was seen afterward wearing a cast, per TSN.

    According to the Toronto Sun, the 31-year-old forward confirmed he spent the night in hospital.

    While a break or fracture might rule him out for the remainder of the season, it’s worth noting Fehr won’t be done entirely in Toronto. He’s in the second of a three-year, $6 million deal with a $2M cap hit. Prior to joining the Leafs he appeared in 52 games for the Pens, scoring six goals and 11 points while averaging just under 11 minutes a night.

    He was also a regular in last year’s Stanley Cup run, scoring three times in 23 games.

    Though his role decreased, Fehr was still frequently used by head coach Mike Sullivan — albeit in a more limited capacity. He is a good PK contributor, and can play both center and wing. Those were some of the attributes the Leafs were hoping Fehr could bring down the stretch and, should they make it, into the postseason.

    He’s back: With 10 games left, Isles recall Halak

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    The Isles are in full playoff push mode, and on Thursday made a move to bolster their chances.

    Jaroslav Halak, the veteran netminder that’s been in AHL Bridgeport since early January, has been recalled ahead of New York’s crucial three-games-in-four-days stretch, the club announced.

    It’s the latest in what’s been a tumultuous move for the 31-year-old. Halak opened the year as part of an uncomfortable three-goalie rotation — along with Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube — and was soon on the trading block after agent Allan Walsh criticized the setup on Twitter.

    With no takers — and after then-head coach Jack Capuano called him out for his poor play — Halak was placed on waivers, and sent to the minors.

    Halak has been really good in Bridgeport. He’s posted a 17-7-1 record with a 2.15 GAA and .925 save percentage, and a pair of shutouts. And given how spotty Berube’s play has been as Greiss’ backup, there’s a shot Halak could be making a start for the Isles soon.

    As mentioned above, the club is in the midst of a compacted part of the schedule. Greiss was excellent in last night’s win over the Rangers — stopping 34 of 36 shots in a 3-2 victory — but he was also busy.

    The Isles head to Pittsburgh on Friday, then host the Bruins on Saturday, then host the Preds on Monday. The Boston game looms large because, after last night, New York found itself just two points back of the B’s for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

    Per Newsday, there’s a real chance Halak will face the Pens on Friday, which would open the door for Greiss to take on the Bruins the following day.