Jere Lehtinen told a Finnish newspaper over the weekend that he still hasn’t made up his mind about whether he’ll play next season.
“At the moment everything is still open. No decision has been made,” Lehtinen told Ilta-Sanomat.
As for when Lehtinen might make a decision, that’s still undetermined as well. His agent, Don Baizley, said via email Monday that Lehtinen isn’t operating under any kind of timetable to make the call.
Lehtinen, 37, has missed a lot of time due to injuries over the past three seasons, playing in 48 games in 2007-08, 48 games in 2008-09 and 58 in 2009-10. How he feels physically will be key in his decision.
Lehtinen did tell Ilta-Sanomat that if he does play next season there will be no question as to where he’ll play – it will be Dallas. Lehtinen said he can’t see making an address change like long-time teammate Mike Modano, who signed with Detroit last week.
“That’s an option I have not even thought about,” Lehtinen told the newspaper.
The Stars have said they are keeping the door open for Lehtinen, who is an unrestricted free agent, and are willing to wait as he makes his decision.
If Lehtinen does return it would give the Stars 15 NHL forwards, but that’s a problem coach Marc Crawford said he wouldn’t mind having.
“I would absolutely love it if he came back,” said Crawford. “We have to put him in the right spot. But if he comes back it’s a huge bonus for us, a huge bonus.”
Quotable: Lehtinen on Modano
“It was known that would not continue to play for Dallas but it was surprising that he left for Detroit. … He is an icon in Dallas. I have played with him my whole career and on the same team. It will be interesting to see how it goes with him.”
Jere Lehtinen, in an interview with Ilta-Sanomat, on Mike Modano signing with the Detroit Red Wings