Report: Sundin to Sign Soon

According to TSN.ca and the Toronto Sun, it appears the Toronto Maple Leafs and captain Mats Sundin are closing in on the new contract that has long been rumoured to be happening this summer.

Link: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=209448&hubname=

It appears to be a 2 year contract worth 11 million. This will make for a 5.5 million cap hit for the Leafs. These have been the numbers that have been talked about for quite some time, but finally this deal may be finalized.

The issue is of course Sundin’s health and age which are both questionmarks considering the Leaf captain has had to carry the team on his back for years. It may be catching up to him. So it is hard to say whether he is a $5 plus million dollar player in a cap world.

This has been pretty much a split debate. Some will feel his age, health and him just being a point per game player, no more no less, means he does not warrant being paid like a to 10-20 player in the NHL. Others will feel him being saddled with no talent around him, plus being the face of the franchise that he deserves to be paid well for all that he has done as a Leaf. These have been the ideals of the Leafs organization for years and years and unless there is dramatic change, there is almost no chance the Leafs ways will change any time soon.

Right now the Leafs payroll for next season is hovering at around #37 million. With cap projections expected to be around $48-49 million, the Leafs have some room, but not much. The team has 18 players under contract and plenty of holes to fill on a team that has missed the playoffs for two consecutive years.

Under contract:

Goal: Raycroft
Defence: Mccabe, Kaberle, Gill, Kubina, White, Wozniewski
Forward: Tucker, Stajan, Steen, Pohl, Ponikarovsky, Newbury, Belak, Kilger, Wellwood, Devereaux, (Sundin when the contract is done)

RFAs: Coliacovo
UFAs: Peca, Oneill, Antropov, Aubin, Perreault, Green, Battaglia

They need a backup goalie. Raycroft cannot play 70 games again. If his confidence is shot he may not even be good enough to play in the NHL period.

They could use improvements on defence but with half their payroll tied to the blueline, they are pretty much out of options.

They need 2 top line forwards and forwards who can add grit, toughness, faceoff prowess and penalty killing.

Heck the team actually needs a new president, a new GM, new uniforms (all teams need new uni’s for the new material), better ticket prices, less of a presence on National TV, and pretty much new everything if they ever want to turn things around and at least give themselves a half decent chance to break their Stanley Cup drought.

Common sense says that because the team has accomplished nothing in 40 years, something has to give. Pretty much anything short of a complete makeover of the entire team from top to bottom will not be enough to change the team’s fortunes. I guess that may be far too much to ask from a team with so many owners and so many hands in the cookie jar jerking the team in every which way possible.

The Sundin pending signing is a perfect example of this. There is no one in the organization with enough power, guts or respect to be willing to make change. Status quo is the norm in Toronto, which explains clearly their extended futility. Sundin is a great player, but it’s time the Leafs swallow their pride and start from scratch.


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