ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Anaheim Ducks signed right wing Teemu Selanne to a two-year, US$5.25 million contract Sunday and put him to work right away in their pre-season game against the Vancouver Canucks.
The 38-year-old Finn sat out training camp last season and the first four months of the regular season while contemplating retirement. He re-signed in February as a free agent and had 12 goals and 11 assists in 26 games.
"We made it clear that we wanted him back, and he wanted to stay," general manager Brian Burke said. "This is a guy who's taking a pay cut to play for Anaheim. These values reflect what Teemu means to us, and what Anaheim means to him."
The 10-time all-star, the franchise leader in goals, points and game-winning goals, has 552 goals during his 16 NHL seasons. Selanne has been working out with the team for a few weeks while Burke looked for ways to fit him under NHL's $56.7 million salary cap limit.
"This is the only place I wanted to play," Selanne said in a statement before making his pre-season debut. "We have great owners, great fans and a chance to win again. This team is hungry and ready to go."
The cap restrictions don't have to be met until the first day of the regular season, but the Ducks were able to free up $3.84 million in a trade that sent defenceman Mathieu Schneider to Atlanta on Friday for defenceman Ken Klee, left wing Brad Larsen and minor league forward Chad Painchaud.
"Yes, it's a big gorilla off my shoulders, I can tell you that," Burke said. "Until we dealt with the Mathieu Schneider situation, it hasn't been a whole lot of fun, because you don't feel like you've got control over the decision-making process. You're really at the mercy of the team stepping up. I feel, until that happened, I don't feel like I had control of the steering wheel. And I don't like that. This will be an easier process."
The rest of the difference should be taken care of when roster cuts are made.
"There's a whole bunch of ways to deal with it," Burke said. "One is to send players down, whether they're players on two-ways or one-ways. One is to trade a player for a pick - you know, move some money and not take any money back. Those are all options and we're looking at all of them. We don't anticipate we'll have a problem getting under the cap to start the year, or we wouldn't have done this."