Teemu Selanne said he's healthy and still having fun going to the rink every day, so he doesn't see any reason he can't return for another season.
The 42-year-old future Hall of Famer announced Thursday he had signed a one-year deal to return to the Anaheim Ducks for his 20th NHL season. Financial terms of the deal were not released, but the Los Angeles Times reported Selanne will make $4.5 million.
"I still feel that I have something to give and that I can still play on this high level," Selanne said on a conference call during a vacation in Italy. "Even with the tough first half we had last year, I still enjoyed the game so much."
Selanne had mentioned before the start of the 2011-12 season that it probably would be his last, but he then played all 82 games and led the Ducks in scoring with 66 points. His 26 goals were third on the team, and his 12 power-play goals were eighth in the League.
"While I'm still amazed by his speed and skill level, it's Teemu's love for the game and his teammates that make him so special," Ducks GM Bob Murray said. "Anaheim is where he belongs."
It's also where Selanne feels he belongs, saying he there's "unfinished business" for his team. The Ducks started the season with just seven wins in their first 24 games, which led to the firing of coach Randy Carlyle. Bruce Boudreau replaced him, and while the Ducks were 10-21-6 and 14th in the Western Conference on Dec. 31, 2011, they went 24-15-6 the rest of the way.
"I was talking with Bob before I went to Finland and he made it clear he wanted to be get a little bigger and tougher on defense and we made those moves [bringing in Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen]," Selanne said. "We lost a couple good guys but we got what we were looking for. I'm excited for those moves and I know those guys are going to be a big part of our defense. And the rest of our core is so strong. … I truly believe we have all the pieces. That's what makes this very interesting and special because I think we all feel there's unfinished business."
Selanne said being able to play a full season for Boudreau also had an influence on his decision.
"When Bruce joined the team it wasn't a very easy situation," Selanne said. "The way he handled the whole situation and how he took the team over, it was unbelievable. And how positive and how he treats people, it's very special. I'm very happy to see how much players like him and how much they're excited to play for him. I think it affected my decision, too. … I'm excited to see how Bruce is handling different situations and everybody is very excited about it. I'm looking forward to having fun with him."
As are some of his teammates.
"That ageless wonder number 8 still doing it for one more year! What a beauty to be around," Bobby Ryan wrote on his Twitter account.
Selanne said teammates knew to give him space while he decided on playing or not. He said after talking with his family, they allowed him to make whatever decision he wanted.
"My family has always been so good," he said. "Once in a while they ask what I'm going to do, but they always say it's your decision and we're going to support it 100 percent. I think my family felt that I'm not ready to retire. They know I'm at the end of the runway right now and there's not going to be many years left. We're all enjoying this moment right now. I know my boys are excited that I'm back. Obviously my wife wants me home a little more, but she's going to get enough help. My family has been so supportive and easy with my decisions. It's another season and they're all excited about it."
In 19 seasons, Selanne has 663 goals and 1,406 points in 1,341 games. He's 12th all-time in goals, two behind No. 11 Jaromir Jagr, and five behind No. 10 Luc Robitaille. He's 19th in points, but just 19 away from 15th-place Bryan Trottier.
He's also the Ducks' all-time leader in goals (466), assists (501), points (937) and games played (856).
However, moving up any all-time lists isn't why Selanne is returning for one more season.
"Age is a funny thing. A lot of times, I don't really feel 42 right now," he said. "It all depends how good you feel, how healthy you are and how much passion you have for the game. That is why I still enjoy the game. It's fun to go to the rink every morning. … That's most important and why I'm still in the game."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK