Traded To San Jose
Though Selanne and Kariya had chemistry, the Ducks were a struggling franchise in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They only went to the playoffs twice, and rumors were rampant that the team's parent company, Disney, might sell them. Though Selanne's salary was costly, it was less than Kariya's, and he had value on the trade market. Selanne had scored more goals than anyone since coming into the NHL.
In March 2001, Selanne was traded from the Ducks to the San Jose Sharks for goalie Steve Shields, Jeff Friesen, and a conditional draft pick. His first months in San Jose were not great. Soon after the trade, he had to have arthoscopic knee surgery to remove loose cartilage. San Jose was already headed for the playoffs, but when Selanne returned for the post-season, he was playing with a broken right thumb, which limited his scoring abilities. The Sharks were eliminated from the playoffs, but Selanne was finally playing with a winning organization.
In 2001-02, Selanne still struggled, only scoring three goals in his first sixteen games of the year, and twenty-nine goals for the season. While twenty-nine goals was the most on the Sharks, Selanne had fewer minutes per game than in Anaheim and was often frustrated. The Sharks did improve, making the post-season, before losing to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference semi-finals. In 2002, Selanne also got to play for Team Finland at the Winter Olympics.
Though Selanne was an unrestricted free agent in July 2002, he signed a one-year deal with the Sharks worth $6.5 million, three million less than he made the previous year. While Selanne could have signed a bigger, long-term deal somewhere else, he still believed he had the scoring touch the team needed to win the Stanley Cup.