The designation "Living Legend" feels commonplace, but that's only because we live in interesting times. With the exception of Bobby Hull, Dino Ciccarelli and Jari Kurri, the members of The 600 Club (NHLers to score 600 goals but not 700 or more) have all left the league within the last decade. That's 8 of the 14 greatest goal scorers of all time who have left the game under the watch of a single generation. Tonight, they welcome Teemu Selanne into their ranks, and if he retires this summer, they may welcome him into their company.
If it is indeed Teemu's last season, where will his final ovation rank amongst the farewell tours of the 600 goal scorers who have left the game since 2004?
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By comparison, it looks like Teemu's still got it. Only Jaromir Jagr scored more goals in his last year, and Teemu's goals per game this season (0.47) far outshines Jagr's (0.30) in 07-08. Teemu won't go the full 82, like many others on the list, but his missed time this season can be attributed to freak injuries to his jaw and hand, nothing that affected his play and nothing career-threatening.
So, what if he stayed? What if he chased history for one more season? Whom could he catch? All-time European goal scorer? Not likely. Even at an 0.47 goals per game clip, Teemu would end up with 644, two shy of Jagr. All-time game winning goals? Teemu's five game winners this year have him tied with Guy Lafleur at 4th all-time. If we extrapolate that 0.11 GWG/game pace to the end of this year and into next year, that would add 10, still leaving him 2 shy of Brendan Shanahan for 3rd. How about moving up the All-time Power Play goal scorer list? Maybe. He may pass Mike Gartner for 8th before the end of the year, and if he continued this season's pace (0.22 PPG/game) into next season, he would have 236, tying him with Mario Lemieux for 5th. But if he missed the mark by even 5 power play tallies, he would remain 8th.
No, it seems there really is only one record left: 601. If Selanne scores Tuesday in Calgary, he ties his boyhood idol and the original Finnish Flash, Jari Kurri. What's more, if he scores Tuesday, he will get to 601 in 73 fewer tries than Kurri. And if he scores two goals, he will take over as the greatest NHL goal scorer Finland has ever produced. For a boy from Helsinki, there are no other records.
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Teemu's Thoughts On The Goal