It would not be surprising if Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne decides to retire at the conclusion of the 2013-14 NHL season.
But whether or not that ends up being the case, a recent lineup development is setting the 43-year-old up for a strong finish to his season -- and possibly his career.
In a move that is revitalizing the short-term fantasy stock of the "Finnish Flash," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has been playing the veteran on the left side of the NHL's top point pair, center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry. Boudreau made the switch against the Colorado Avalanche on March 14, and Selanne has since answered the call admirably on the team's top flock.
Teemu Selanne's move to the Ducks' top line alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry is a refreshing fantasy development for a player who is owned in only 15 percent of Yahoo leagues. (Photo: Getty Images)
Selanne, who has 1,454 points (second among active players behind Jaromir Jagr) in his storied NHL career, has two goals, two assists and 10 shots on goal over that four-game span. He had seen his role and production gradually diminish in recent years, but Selanne suddenly has a chance to make his presence felt in a featured spot again. The Ducks have 11 regular-season games remaining before they embark on what they hope is a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Although it's a small sample size, Selanne can not only help the Ducks solidify their lineup before the games reach a greater magnitude, but also service your fantasy team when it matters most in head-to-head playoffs. Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo Fantasy leagues, Selanne is there for the taking if you have lost one or more of your forwards (Evgeni Malkin, Bobby Ryan, Patrick Kane, Henrik Sedin, Chris Kreider, etc.) due to injury.
We all were witnesses to Selanne's offensive capability in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where he had six points in six games (tied for sixth in tournament), including two goals in Finland's victory against the United States in the bronze-medal game. It's not a question of if Selanne can still be effective, but rather whether he can stick in his new role to close out the season.
That's a calculated risk worth taking as the clock continues to tick for playoff-bound fantasy owners.
Even when Selanne was seeing a second- or third-line role for the Ducks this season, he was still getting his share of power-play opportunities on the first unit. He has 12 seasons with 10-plus power-play goals and eight points (four goals, four assists) with the man advantage in 2:28 minutes per game in those situations.
The Ducks, who were humbled in a 7-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on March 12, look for revenge Wednesday in Alberta. Between the likelihood of a bounce-back effort and Selanne's chance to keep his spot on the top line, it's a good idea to add him prior to the game before your league catches onto his availability.