When it came right down to it, Teemu Selanne simply wasn't ready to walk away from hockey.
So he didn't, signing a one-year deal Monday to return to the Ducks for a 19th NHL season.
"I thought it was going to be easy to retire. But when you think you can play and you can still play at a high level and you enjoy it, I don't see any reason why anybody who thinks that way should retire," said Selanne, whose 606 career goals lead active NHL players. "It's a good sign when you still enjoy it and you can compete with the young guys."
Coming off an injury-plagued season in which he still managed 27 goals and 21 assists in 54 games, Selanne, the franchise's all-time leading scorer, agreed to a deal that calls for a base salary of $3.25 million plus bonuses — a bargain for a player of his skill and experience.
"He's still got it. He still can fly," Ducks General Manager Bob Murray said. "He has the passion to play the game. He loves to score goals."
The signing continues a busy off-season for Murray, who also re-signed Selanne's linemate Saku Koivu to a two-year, $5-million contract while adding free-agent defensemen Toni Lydman and Andy Sutton.
But with six weeks left before the start of training camp, Murray still has some work to do. Selanne has been pushing the Ducks to bring back friend and fellow forward Paul Kariya — the two were a potent scoring combination for the Ducks from late in the 1995-96 season until 2001.
And Murray is still working to reach a deal with restricted free-agent Bobby Ryan, the team's leading goal scorer last season.
Kariya's return appears iffy, though, say sources close to the team who cannot speak publicly because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.
In the case of Ryan, talks have stalled over the length of the contract. The Ducks are offering five years and $25 million, while the 23-year-old Ryan, who had career highs for goals (35) and points (64) last winter, reportedly is seeking a shorter deal.
"We're going to try something different," Murray said of the Ryan talks. "And that's all I'm going to say."
In Selanne's eyes, however, Murray has already had a productive off-season — which is one reason why he's coming back at age 40.
"We have a good group of guys there," said Selanne, who missed the playoffs last season for the first time since he returned to the Ducks in 2005. "How the season ended last year, I really hope that everybody's going to remember that feeling because watching the playoffs from your home, it's tough.
"I said if I decided to come back I hope that we have a chance to win. And … I'm very happy with what our GM has done. He really wants to win next year, and that was the most important message for me."