With good friend and long time teammate Teemu Selanne re-upping with Anaheim for one more season, rumor has it Paul Kariya is seriously considering making his own prodigal return to Anaheim.
Kariya, who first played for the Ducks in 1994-1995, with great sticks in hand he spent his first 9 NHL season in Anaheim, during 7 of which he served as the team’s captain.
In 2004, Kariya promised to bring a Stanley Cup to Anaheim, though he has yet to play a game with Ducks since making the proclamation. At the end of his 9 year tenure in Anaheim, Kariya and former GM Byran Murray allegedly reached a verbal agreement in which Kariya would take a pay cut in order for more high-caliber acquisitions to help the team better chase the Cup.
However, during the ensuing off-season, Kariya chose to sign with the Colorado Avalanche, who also signed Selanne, re-uniting the friends and line mates for the first time since 2000-2001. Ultimately the Avalanche fell short in their Stanley Cup quest. After his one year stint in Colorado, Kariya signed with Nashville where he spent two years with the Predators before leaving town for St. Louis via free agency.
For the past three seasons, Kariya has struggled to live up to his lofty career benchmarks with the Blues, though perhaps were he to re-sign with Anaheim and once again play alongside Selanne, the one-time Duck captain could be rejuvenated towards a late career statistical resurgence.
At 35 years old, it is difficult to tell how much Kariya has left in the tank. Selanne, on one hand, has strung together productive seasons well past Kariya’s current age, having turned 40 this July and already committed to at least one more season with Anaheim. If nothing else, seeing Kariya and Selanne skate together once more under the Ducks banner would be a welcome sight to Anaheim eyes.