Do you think that Lidstrom or Yzerman would ever have changed their minds?
Selanne no longer has anything to prove, nor anything that he can plausibly accomplish beyond what he's done already, and he's got a boatload of money.
Can you come up with one equivalent player---the operative word being equivalent, i.e. already won a Cup, lots of scoring, etc.---who decided to leave his very longtime team (Selanne has played the past eight seasons with the Ducks, and six more before his stint with the Sharks), with which he identified closely, and go somewhere else at the very end of his career?
Lidstrom and Yzerman aren't even remotely equivalent players to bring up in this conversation; they each spent their whole career with the same team, weren't being pinched out by the cap, and they each retired earlier than Selanne likely will. Yzerman could barely skate without extreme pain and Lidstrom "lost the hunger" or something before this could become an issue. Obviously, the Wings can still afford to pay Lidstrom whatever he wants (are you reading this, Nick???).
How many teams has Selanne played for? Oh yeah, four.
We're not even talking Mike Modano or Ray Borque level decisions here, having literally spent their entire career with one team only to switch teams late in their career for one reason or another. But when there's hunger there for a Cup or to keep playing and your longtime team can't afford you or make a place for you or put a team together that can make a run, you find a way to rationalize things, painful as it may be in some ways. And again, those guys hadn't already changed teams four times before, like Teemu has.
And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it's incredibly likely that he'll play for someone else, nor am I trying to suggest that he doesn't feel a sense of loyalty to the Ducks organization at this point, I'm merely saying that if the guy wants to keep playing but the Ducks can't come up with the money to make it work, push comes to shove, I think it's entirely possible that Selanne might change his mind and play for someone else. Granted, I don't think he would do so 2-3 years from now at 45, but after this season or next, if the Ducks can't make it work financially, I absolutely believe that he would entertain other options if he still had the hunger to play.
Yzerman and Lidstrom? Seriously?
It just wouldn't be nearly as hard for him as it would be for someone like Yzerman or Lidstrom, because after all, it wouldn't be the first time he went to a new team, it'd be the fifth time. I'm not trying to take anything away from Teemu as I think he's a great, great hockey player and he seems like a great person off the ice. I don't think anyone wouldn't absolutely love to have the guy on their favorite team; he's one of the greats and a pure class act. But no matter what he may say now (and what else would you expect him to be saying now?), if he wants to keep playing and it's not looking like it's going to work out in Anaheim, if there are other intriguing options out there, I don't think it'd be outlandish at all to think that Teemu Selanne might switch teams for the fifth time.
None the less, I think you've got to be dreaming if you think he'd come to Detroit at this stage in the game. I mean, sure, it's possible and there are reasons to believe it'd be on the shortlist, and it may still be, but I kinda doubt that we'll be signing Flip to an extension and that would be a large part of the draw to get him here. Furthermore, he's not going to want to join a rebuilding team at 42, and I think it's getting harder and harder to suggest that we're not in a sort of rebuilding stage right now. It's too bad though. He'd look great in red and white and he might be able to help Flip be better than he knows how to be on his own. Dreams...
Edit: I think it's also worth bringing Chris Chelios up as equivalent players who made dramatic shifts. First of all, just him coming to Detroit at all was no small feat, and he was no spring chicken when that deal went down. And at a much later age when he had absolutely nothing whatsoever to prove to anyone, no need for money, and really only shame to gain, he left Detroit to try and make something else work. Guys who want to play well into their 40s are hungrier to play than just about anyone, and despite their best intentions, they're not going to be tied down by a feeling of loyalty. If Selanne wants to play and believes he still can, he will find a place to play, Anaheim or not.
- Hey man nice shot! likes this