Kimmo Timonen signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Flyers last year. (USA Today Images)
It’s been an unusually long offseason for the Flyers – four months long now - and it’s given Kimmo Timonen time to reflect on many things, including how much is left in his Finnish tank.
Apparently, more than we thought.
“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.”
Timonen re-signed a one-year contract worth $6 million last season. Assumptions were this would be his last year as a Flyer.
The 38-year-old defenseman will be entering his 15th NHL season this fall. He looked good skating with 21 other players (Flyers, Phantoms, others) Tuesday at Skate Zone.
They’re working out on their own until training camp opens on Sept. 12.
A one-time Iron Man who played 248 consecutive games, Timonen missed the final three games of last season with a compression fracture in his right foot. The fracture healed without surgery. He says he feels very comfortable on the ice.
He originally suffered the injury on Feb. 16 while blocking a shot in Montreal, yet played through pain the remainder of the season until the very end when the club forced him to shut down, fearing the fracture would worsen.
Because the Flyers didn’t make the playoffs, Timonen has had far more time to heal a body that has incurred some pretty serious injuries during his time with the Flyers.
Since 2008, he’s had a concussion, a chip fracture to his ankle, a broken toe, injuries to both feet that did not require surgery, a hip flexor and herniated disk surgery.
Defensemen who log his kind of ice time – almost 22 minutes a game - are fair game for broken bones and back ailments.
“It depends how you play, and especially, if you play a lot of penalty kill time,” Timonen said. “The puck hits you even when you don’t want it to find you. And you have to block shots on the PK.”
Although Timonen has never worn fenders, which fit over the top portion of the skate to protect the more vulnerable area of the foot under a skate's laces, he said he will consider wearing them this season simply because he’s been hit so often with pucks.
He also plans to play for Finland at the Sochi Olympics if chosen.
“This might not be my last year in the NHL, but it would definitely be my last Olympics,” he said.
So, how will Timonen really know whether to hang up his skates after the 2013-14 season?
“I’ll know if I’m struggling or can’t get to the level of my play or a bunch of injuries comes along,” Timonen said. “You never know what will happen, but those things factor in to whether this is my last year.”