To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first NHL Draft, NHL.com assembled a 13-member panel to select the best first-round picks of all time, based on selection number. NHL.com will feature one of the top first-round picks each day, beginning with the best No. 30 pick on June 1 and culminating with the all-time No. 1 pick on June 30, the day of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Today: The best No. 10 pick: Teemu Selanne, Winnipeg Jets, 1988
The Winnipeg Jets had to wait four seasons to bring Teemu Selanne to town, but starting with a record-setting rookie season, the wing proved to be well worth the wait.
More than two decades after his NHL arrival, Selanne continues to shine, making major contributions well past his 42nd birthday, and was an easy -- and unanimous -- selection by NHL.com's Dream Draft panel as the best first-round No. 10 pick.
The Jets made Selanne their first pick after watching him dominate the opposition with Jokerit's team in Finland's junior league, totaling 66 points in 33 games. He spent the next three seasons playing for Jokerit, and for Finland at the 1992 Olympics.
He made his NHL debut on Oct. 6, 1992, against the Detroit Red Wings with two assists, and two days later he scored his first NHL goal, against the San Jose Sharks. Selanne never seemed to stop scoring that season, setting NHL rookie records with 76 goals and 132 points, and won the Calder Trophy.
A torn Achilles tendon ended Selanne's second season after 51 games, but he returned in 1994-95 to total 22 goals and 45 points in 48 games.
In 1995-96 he had 72 points in 51 games with the Jets before he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks. He finished the season with 36 points in 28 games to give him a total of 108. Playing on a line with Paul Kariya and Steve Rucchin, Selanne had 50 goals and 100 points in two of his first three seasons with Anaheim. In 1998 he played in his fifth NHL All-Star Game and became the first European to win the game's MVP award after scoring a hat trick.
In 1998-99 his streak of 50-goal seasons ended, but his 47 led the League and earned him the first Rocket Richard Trophy.
During the 2000-01 season he was traded to the San Jose Sharks, then in the summer of 2003 he signed with the Colorado Avalanche, for whom he had the worst offensive numbers of his career, 16 goals and 32 points in 78 games.
In the summer of 2004 he had knee surgery, then sat out during the lockout to heal. The move worked, and he returned to the Ducks in 2005-06 with his best season in six years, totaling 40 goals and 90 points and winning the Bill Masterton Trophy for dedication to the game.
He was even better in 2006-07, scoring his 500th goal and 1,000th point en route to finishing third in the League with 48 goals. He became the first player in NHL history older than 35 to record consecutive 40-goal seasons. But the biggest milestone came in late June, when he lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time.
Selanne, then 37, sat out most of the 2007-08 season contemplating retirement. He opted to return in February 2008 and signed a two-year contract with the Ducks that kept him playing through the end of the 2009-10 season.
He continued to pile up the goals and points, cementing his place in NHL history. On March 21, 2010, he scored his 600th goal, and two weeks later passed countryman Jari Kurri with his 602nd to become the all-time leader in goals by a Finnish-born player.
Selanne had 12 goals and 24 points in 46 games this season, raising his career totals to 675 goals (11th all-time) and 1,430 points (15th).
"Teemu Selanne should be remembered as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport," NHL.com staff writer Corey Masisak said. "He didn't win the Stanley Cup a bunch of times, and the prime of his career came in a scoring-suppressed era, but Selanne deserves to be placed among the all-time greats. The 'Finnish Flash' will certainly be remembered as one of the most gifted skaters. Even now at his advanced age, just watching Selanne skate is a hockey fan's version of admiring a great work of art."
Voting: Teemu Selanne, Winnipeg (1988), 13
|Back to top ↑|