I think most of us are going into the 2013-14 season assuming that it will be Kimmo Timonen's farewell tour. He's 38 years old, and while that's old for an NHLer in and of itself, the amount of wear on his tires is much worse than the average defenseman. But is there a chance he could play beyond this year?
If Kimmo is to be believed, there's a very real chance. Via CSN:
"I'm not sure if this is going to be my last year," the Flyers defenseman said on Tuesday. "I am going to take the approach of, ‘how do I feel?' If I can still play at the level I've accomplished over the years, and enjoy it, I don't see why not play one more year [after this season]. That will be my approach.
"If I stay healthy and play at the level I want, then I'll go one more year. We'll see."
Kimmo is always one of the more worn-down Flyers, whether at the end of the year or otherwise. He didn't play during the lockout and has had a long offseason to rest, so he's probably feeling great right now, but at the end of an 82-game season, Kimmo is usually really worn down.
After the 2010 run to the Final, Timonen spoke that summer of his deep desire to win a Stanley Cup, but also said that he would retire after his then-current contract. He changed his mind on that in the three-year interim, though, and signed a one-year extension for the 2013-14 season back in February, shortly after the lockout-shortened season began.
It's pretty clear Kimmo wants to win a Stanley Cup, and that he wants to keep playing if he's able. He's stated in the past that he wants to retire a Flyer, too, so if he is in the NHL next season it'll probably be in Philadelphia. That's good news, because we all know the Flyers could use him, and the longer he sticks around, the longer some of the young defensemen in the system have to develop into strong NHL players.
Let's just hope Kimmo gets through the 2013-14 season unscathed.