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Teemu Returns To Anaheim (The First Time)

Much to the relief of every Ducks fan everywhere, Teemu returned to the franchise in 2005 after brief stints in San Jose and Colorado.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

I wrote a piece back in 2011 about the trade that sent Teemu to the San Jose Sharks in 2001, so I won't go into much detail about Number Eight's stints with the Sharks and the Colorado Avalanche here. That being said, here's the TL;DR version - Teemu played well in San Jose, but joined Paul Kariya in Colorado because he believed he would have a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup there (the Avs were a good team then). Needless to say, Selanne and Kariya were unable to recreate their Mighty Ducks magic in Colorado (partially due to Selanne's nagging knee issues), and Selanne signed a contract with the Mighty Ducks after the conclusion of the 2004-05 NHL lockout.

While re-reading my 2011 piece, I was struck by this piece of information:

And - don't forget - he would have had to beat us to get that Cup. There is no way to know this for sure, of

course, but had Teemu been traded to New Jersey [as a part of a multi-player deal that would have allowed

the Devils to unload Scott Gomez], a part of me thinks that he would have never returned to Anaheim.

Thank goodness that Teemu vetoed that trade!

Anyhow, the 2005-06 season was a resurgent one for Teemu. On January 30, 2006, Selanne scored his 1,000th career point in the Mighty Ducks' 4-3 victory against the Kings. Here's the video below:

Via YouTube, courtesy of the NHL

2006 was also an Olympic year, and Teemu would participate in his fourth Olympic games, held in Torino, Italy. Team Finland dominated group play in the preliminary round of the tournament, winning all five of their games by at least a two goal margin. In the final rounds of the tournament, they defeated the United States, 4-3, in the quarterfinals; Russia, 4-0, in the semifinals; but would fall to Sweden, 3-2, in the Gold Medal Game. Selanne was named Best Forward by the Directorate, and was also named to the media All-Star Team. You can see a bittersweet Teemu receiving his silver medal around 1:37 of this clip (which includes highlights from all six of the Olympics in which Selanne participated):

After returning stateside, Teemu would ultimately tally 40 goals and 90 points by the end of the NHL season. This number lead the then-Mighty Ducks in scoring. Selanne would also receive the Bill Masterton Trophy for dedication and perseverance.

Teemu was relatively quiet (by Teemu standards) during the Mighty Ducks' 2006 playoff run, but contributed in key moments. During Game Four of Anaheim's Western Conference Semifinal series against the Colorado Avalanche, Teemu scored the game winning goal, allowing the Mighty Ducks to sweep the Avs en route to the Western Conference Final. Teemu scored a goal during Game Three of the Mighty Ducks' WCF series against the Edmonton Oilers (cutting into the 4-0 lead that the Oilers had created by the third period). Ultimately, though, his contributions were not enough, and Edmonton won the series, 4-1.

Eventually it became a recurring theme for Teemu to come back for "one more year" but the first time, it was different.  In later years, we'd seen where his skills were and how he was defying his age (for the most part), but after that year in Colorado and the lockout, nobody could have seen that kind of resurgence coming.

Yet, there were greater things on the horizon. Teemu was once again a pillar of the newly named and revitalized Anaheim Ducks. As we all know, the next year, Teemu would finally achieve the dream that sent him into the "wilderness" of San Jose and Colorado - a Stanley Cup.