The ageless (but actually 40) Teemu Selanne scored his fourth goal of the season last night, bringing him to a career goal mark of 610 and a tie with Bobby Hull for 15th on the all-time list. The score also puts him just 36 goals shy of Jaromir Jagr, the all-time leader for career goals by a European player.
Right now, the Finnish Flash is on pace to get ever so close to Jagr's mark, and it's worth noting that in both of the seasons since the Lockout that Selanne has played more than 65 games, he has also scored 40 or more goals.
Daniel, what do you think of Selanne's chances of tying or surpassing Jagr this season?
First, let's keep in mind that while Selanne has 4 goals in 9 games, the Ducks offense was completely inept for the first three games of the season. So, Selanne has 4 goals in the past 6 games. The guy can score in bunches. Now that the offense seems to be clicking a little better, I expect Selanne's goal totals to climb and climb. Anaheim has scored 3 or more goals in 4 of their last 5 games. Selanne has 3 goals over that stretch. I think it's safe to say he's a pretty important part of the offense.
This will always come down to luck. If the circumstances line up, and he can play the right amount of games, Selanne can definitely pass Jagr. If you subtract the three games from the season total, and say that Selanne scores 4 goals every 6 games, that's 52 goals. That might be a ridiculous pace, but you never know what the Finnish Flash is capable of.
Yeah, it's always tough to project this sort of thing based on pace. I think the key to this will be playing the full season and, as you said, luck. But as so much of staying healthy in hockey is luck, it's pretty much all luck.
I want to say his age is relevant, but it really isn't. None of Selanne's injuries in the past few years have been age-related; they've all been freak occurrences. And his recovery time hasn't lagged because of his age; he always comes back ahead of schedule. So, I think finding a healthy season will be less about his 40 year-old body and more about the bounce of the puck.
He does most of his damage on the power play, and he'll still be featured there plenty this season. The Ducks have been feast or famine on the man advantage, but Selanne's belly usually fills during any feast. Also, with Koivu and perhaps a speed option on the other wing, the Finn arguably has more shots at even strength goals now than he did with McDonald as his center.
I think, even with everything going his way (a full 82 game season, dynamite chemistry with Koivu +1, a solid Ducks power play in the post Newell Brown era and a team that spends at least some of its time in the offensive zone), Selanne still probably falls just shy of Jagr. There are just too many variables. But as I say that, I'm reminded of how many people thought Selanne's career was over in 2005 and the fact that his goals per game last year (.50) is equal to what it was in 2005-06, when he scored 40, AND that his shots per game total last year (3.20) is actually .07 more than his mark in 2006-07, when he scored 48. He's not exactly slowing down.