Niedermayer is expected to clear the air on the matter when he meets the media in Anaheim on Thursday. "He hasn't decided that he wants to retire but I know he's not certain he wants to start this soon," Niedermayer's agent Kevin Epp said Wednesday.
No problem, says Anaheim GM Brian Burke - the Ducks can wait for him.
"I think there's a misperception out there that this is somehow inconveniencing us. And it's not," Burke told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "We want this player to return. The phone call we don't want is that he's going to retire. The fact he's undecided and this might stretch into the start of the year, this is not a crisis mode for us.
"This is good news. Because it means he hasn't made the one phone call we don't want him to make."
While Burke would not say, a source close to the situation said he and Niedermayer met Wednesday morning. Burke was also hoping to meet with Teemu Selanne either later Wednesday or on Thursday. The 37-year-old winger is an unrestricted free agent and also hasn't yet decided his playing future.
Selanne arrived in Anaheim back from his native Finland on Tuesday.
"I spoke to Teemu at the end of last week and he indicated he would call me as soon as he made a decision," Selanne's agent Don Baizley said Wednesday. "And I still haven't spoken to him."
Because Selanne is without a contract, there's no paperwork to worry about. But once camp opens Tuesday, the Ducks will need to formally suspend Niedermayer for not showing up at camp in order to get relief under the salary cap from his US$6.75-million salary.
If they don't suspend him, he still counts against the cap even though they wouldn't be paying him. The Ducks stand at around $49 million under the $50.3-million salary cap - counting Niedermayer's salary.
Expect the Ducks to go ahead and suspend him, something Niedermayer already knows will happen. If and when Niedermayer decided to return, the Ducks will lift the suspension and he will then begin counting against the cap.
There is a caveat, however.
"The Ducks can't have an 'agreement' with Niedermayer as to when he will return - that would be a circumvention (of the salary cap)," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail.
Burke protected himself back in early July just in case Niedermayer and Selanne would not return, signing defenceman Mathieu Schneider and winger Todd Bertuzzi.
But the Ducks would dearly love to have both Niedermayer and Selanne as well.
"We would like to have both of them back? For sure we would," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "But that's not the hand we're dealt. If they're not here at training camp then we have to move on without them. That's a tough thing to say when you're talking about your captain and Conn Smythe Trophy winner and a player like Teemu Selanne who scored 48 goals for your hockey club last year.
"Those aren't easy things to say but we have to live with it and we can't allow this to be a distraction for us."