The Sundin Situation

If you are a GM of a contending team and require a UFA player to take you over the top for a cup run this year, there is no better then Mats Sundin. Yes, there is better scoring talent but for what he brings to the table for offense, defense, face-offs, experience and leadership, he is the total package. The question right now is, will he return to the NHL next year and then the next question would be, where will he play?

This is an interesting conundrum for both Mats and Montreal. Let’s look at Montreal’s position. Montreal is rumoured to have traded a 2nd round pick or equivalent for exclusive negotiating rights to Sundin provided he signs with Montreal. Great deal Bob! A few weeks to get the inside track is an advantage consideringMontreal is a tough sell with the media attention (Which Sundin is used to) and high taxes. However, Montreal all is easily one of the most exciting teams to watch with their youth, speed and skill. Finishing first in the East last season makes them legit contenders again this year. This should attract free agents then years gone by. Alex Tanguay waived his no-trade clause to come to this environment which is more suited to his style of game. Like Toronto, if you lose here, there is no worst place to lose but if you win, there is no better place to win either.

The biggest issue I see is Sundin sitting on his hands deciding his future. Let me be clear, Sundin has definitely earned the right to do this. He is a wealthy man who has earned every penny, about to be married and very much enjoys his off-season fishing in Sweden. The ramifications are Montreal can ill afford to wait for a decision from Sundin if he decides after July 1. If Gainey does not land an impact player via UFA, at the very least, the off season would be a partial failure, even if Gainey was able to land a top player via trade. The problem with a trade is you would be giving up talent to do so. At this stage, improving your team without sacrificing talent is in Montreal’s best interest. One would think Hossa would the number 2 target for Gainey but while Hossa is a dynamic sniper and would definitely improve the potent Montreal attack, I feel he is not the player we need to put us over the top in comparison to the tangibles Sundin brings to the table. That being said, Hossa is plan B and we need to land plan B if plan A fails. If Sundin decides to wait a few days after July 1, Gainey cannot wait for a decision as Hossa will be scooped up very quickly to the highest bidder.

Sundin’s point of view is a bit of a mystery. Montreal is a logical choice as he likes the city of Toronto and Montreal is less then 6 hours away via car (an hour by plane), is a contending team and Sundin would play a lead role. The big issue is, Sundin was a long time leaf and to jump ship to Montreal really goes against the grain. (Even though Gilmour did it but different circumstances). Unfortunately, NYR seems to be the most logical choice for Sundin (assumption). They have a good team and Sundin would make them a team to beat. The glitz of NYR is always a good thing plus it would insulate Sundin from the wrath of leaf fans as NYR is not a main rival and still geographically close to Toronto. Of course, this interesting revelation of Jagr going to the Russian league for mega bucks might change Sundin’s mind depending if this does happen and NYR was unable to add a palyer who can compensate the production loss of Jagr.

One would think if Sundin does return, he would want to win a cup. I understand that Sundin supposedly does not work that way as he has stuck with Toronto the last couple years as he had chances to go to another team but lets be serious, you play in the NHL, you want to win the cup. I don’t care who you are.

Who knows, maybe Sundin will just play for 4 million a year and head to Detroit who oddly gets little attention in the Sundin affair as that is his best chance to win a cup and totally suits all of his needs. This is a story that will hopefully be played out by the end of day on July 1. One thing is for certain, Montreal fans will be on the edge of their seat waiting to hear what happens. I have this gut feeling that like in past years with Montreal’s unsuccessful attempts to land top UFAs, poutines will be splattered across TV sets.

17 Responses to The Sundin Situation

  1. Kramer says:

    My sources are reporting there are lots of rumors here.  Something big is gonna happen I think.

  2. flyersfan10897 says:

    Unless the Rangers re-sign a lot of their players or sign a lot of free agents, they aren't really a team to beat.  Sorry, but Drury and Gomez followed by Dubinsky, Prucha, Betts, and Callahan doesn't really scare me.  And Tyutin, Backman, Girardi, and Staal on D are hardly terrifying.

  3. habsrock99 says:

    If Montreal fails to sign Sundin and Hossa but they go out and trade for someone big, that's a success in my book. Sure we're giving up talent but if the cards are played right(which Gainey does rather well) we might be giving up a couple of Prospects in our very deep Prospect Pool. Talent that will in no shape or form effect us in the coming season. Also, Sundin has been quoted this past season as saying he will not take any sort of discount to play if he in fact plays next season. So a 4 million dollar salary seems almost impossible.

  4. pezzz says:

    with their system, the Rangers don't need big names. they only need role players to play along the system.

    and if you really think Tyutin, Girardi and Staal aren't scary, that's because you don't know your hockey.

  5. careyprice31 says:

    Staal is the rest aren't. They will get better ill give u that but they arent scary.

  6. simplyhabby says:

    The discount thing is also coming from the same guy who wants to retire as a leaf.  Of course, that remains to be seen but all the signs point that if he does play again, he will not retire as a leaf.  Detroit is also the only organization that players regulary take discounts to play there.

    I do agree about the trade but at this juncture, it is much better to land the UFA impact player rather then trading.  With trading, we would likey have to give up a solid roster player.  With the UFA, we can dump the weakest links.

  7. simplyhabby says:

    But adding Sundin to their current roster makes them a lot more scarier then before.

    I do have to give Montreal the edge for who is the better team but the NYR lure is very strong. It would not take much for Sather to make the changes to faciliate a real cup run.

  8. habsrock99 says:

    Giving up a solid Roster player depends on who the trading partner is. If we're dealing with a bubble team then yes, a guy like Higgins, Grabovski or Latendresse will need to be involved. But if the trading partner is a cellar dwellar looking to unload a solid Top 6 forward, then Prospects and Picks should suffice.

  9. Peenz says:

    kramer you are a waste of space on this site.

  10. mojo19 says:

    Flyers fan you mentioned Drury, Gomez, Dubinsky etc. but failed to mention the player that makes the NYR such a threat – Henrik Lunqvist, aka the best goalie in the LNH

  11. wheresthesoda says:

    As a Rangers fan, I really do not want Slats to go after another player thats over 35!!!! Sather……Sundin is a great player but not what we're looking for. Instead of picking up a player at our strongest position, why don't you look for defense. Get us a liles and a hainsey. Then maybe add a Ryder or huselius.

    And one more thing, do everyone a favor and tell Shannahan you will definitely sign him. This  team needs him, especially if JJ leaves, have shanny play on the 3rd line with dubinsky

  12. billypilgrim says:

    Oh, did Brodeur aka best goalie in the world retire?

  13. billypilgrim says:

    Excuses, excuses. Signing a top UFA should be a non issue for a team that finished 1st in the conference and shows the will to keep the winning elements of the team intact.

    Sure MTL is deep in prospects, to to get the "impact player" via trade they would need to give up an important piece of last season's puzzle.

  14. mojo19 says:

    I don't know I'd probably give the edge to Lunqvist at this point.

  15. habsoverserver says:

    If Detroit expresses interest, perhaps they offer Sundin a better chance of winning a Cup. 

  16. Kramer says:

    WHO LIKES FUN?  JULY 1 IS COMING!!!!!  YIPPEEE!!!!!!!  I can't wait and hope there's gonna be big trades!!!!!!!!!!

  17. nordiques100 says:

    if its the habs and the deal is worked out before tuesday, then i would guess any one of these players would be sent as compensation to toronto.

    current roster

    lapierre OR

    ryan white
    ben maxwell
    yanick weber
    pk subban OR
    draft picks like 2nd or 3rds

    i chuckle……when higgins name gets mentioned.

    it wont be much, but at least some compensation.

    leaf fans wont be happy but so be it. the leafs need to change. sundin is terrific, we'll see that number 13 up in the rafters, maybe in the hall too.

    but at this point, if the leafs wanted to finish on the bottom and rebuild. sundin hurts those chances. he is so good he could carry them to fight close to 8th. they just will never have enough talent over the next year or two to put them over.

    best off to get a top 5/top 10 pick again.

    there's no point crying about him being in montreal. leafs need to rebuild. plain and simple.
    i'll wish him luck.

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