Monday, February 25, 2008


Mats Sundin Won't Waive No-Trade Clause

by Jes

All too often, people whine about the 'good old days' and how a player tended to play for one franchise his one career. Of course, it was much easier to play for just one team when there were only SIX teams in the league. In today's 30-team monstrosity, there is a lot more choice out there for both GMs and players.

Basically, people whine that players aren't loyal any longer, all the while forgetting that GM's don't exactly show 'loyalty' to the players they put on waivers, etc.

Now, as we approach deadline day, the one player that has been in the spotlight the most is Mats Sundin. Sure, Sundin is with his second NHL franchise, but it feels like he's been a career Maple Leaf.

Mats said 'no' to waiving his no-trade clause, and now he'll remain with the Leafs until the end of the season. Obviously, Mats enjoys playing in Toronto and doesn't want to move his family and/or away from his family and friends for an extended period of time.

Per Ice Junkies:
Many players have come before him and have left their home team in order to chase the dream temporarily with a cup favorite but Mats decided it was not the way he wanted to win. To me, this speaks volumes about his class and leadership and illustrates exactly why so many teams were lined up for a shot at his services. Sundin deserves a cup, but with Toronto clearly embarking on an intensive, and much needed, re-build he may never get it. Many will accuse Mats of hurting that rebuilding effort and claim that he should have allowed Fletcher to get some value for him and then just re-signed with Toronto in the off-season. Regardless of one's perspective on that, Mats decision is actually a refreshing one as he will be a leaf until the end and that's something to be celebrated.

On the flip side, Greg Wyshynski over at FanHouse disagrees entirely with what Sundin is doing.

Sundin has placed his own personal comfort ahead of self-sacrifice for the franchise he so dearly adores. The asking price was only going to rise as Tuesday's deadline grew near; there's no telling what improvements to next year's Leafs their captain just pissed away because of his nihilism toward the "concept of a rental player." Ice Junkies believes this decision is the epitome of class; I couldn't disagree more.

Well, I'm obviously not siding with Greg on this issue.

1. Why shouldn't Sundin place his own personal comfort ahead of everything else? He signed a contract with a no-trade clause specifically because he *gasp* didn't want to get traded. If the Leafs wanted to trade him, perhaps they shouldn't have agreed to the clause. D'uh!

2. It's not Mats Sundin's responsibility to do anything other than perform well on the ice. Anything that has to do with how much talent surrounds Sundin is the sole responsibility of Leafs' management. The fact that the Leafs are in their current pickle is the fault of JFJ and his ilk.

3. Why the double standard? Do we now praise players because they choose to be rental mercenaries, or do we praise them because they show some actual loyalty?

So, Mats made a personal decision and didn't want to upset his family and be a pawn in the NHL's Meat Market. Good for him. Mats has fulfilled his obligations to the Leafs, and is not obligated to play the role of trade bait. Why do we insist on treating players like commodities? It would be akin to me chastising Greg for not quitting FanHouse so that we can go out and hire Al Strachan.

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While technically I agree with your first 2 points above, and I can certainly admire Sundin for adhering to his strict standards of not wanting to win a Cup with a different team as a "rental", I fail to understand why this personal, self-serving decision makes him "loyal" to the franchise.

If he was truly loyal, wouldn't he sacrifice a couple of months of inconvenience, for the long-term benefit of the franchise he loves?

Do you think that this decision makes it more likely that he will come back with the Leafs again next year, or not so much?
Loyalty is for suckers and school girls.
Sundin and the Leafs signed a mutually agreeable contract that included a no-trade clause.
If players are now expected to waive this part of their non-monetary compensation, what are the owners giving up?
He is hurting the franchise he apparently loves. That's all there is to it. If he is resigned, the cup will be further away than it would have been otherwise.
1) While we believe that Sundin, and all players who negotiate a NTC, should be allowed to exercise that option without admonishment from teams/fans it is puzzling why Sundin didn't want to entertain the possibility of winning a Cup.
2) He's not a spring chicken and the Leafs are NOT going to win a Cup any time soon. If Ray Bourque could do it after playing so long in one city, then anyone can,. We doubt ray is regretting finishing his career in Denver!
As a Leaf fan, I was torn when I heard this news. On one hand, Mats has been such an important part of the franchise. On the other the rebuild is going to be quite a bit harder without the assets that would've been brought in in a Sundin deal. He could've started the bidding war to end all bidding wars and been the centerpiece of a deal that could've gone a long way towards getting this team back on track.
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