Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Just Look Away Mats...

by Czechmate
Just look away, Mats!!

Although there is nothing but idle speculation surrounding the Mats Sundin situation, the summer is rapidly grinding to an end, which means training camps are just around the corner. The only concrete thing we've heard from the Sundin camp is that Mats wants to be at training camp, should he decide to honour us with another year of his presence rather than retiring.

Now, when a player of Mats' calibre (I may not like him, but I respect his ability) garners so much attention from the media, it stands to reason that people will throw out the "best fit" scenarios for him to win a Stanley Cup to end his career, a la Ray Bourque.

So, the list of "possible destinations" has been decided, at least by hockey writers and bloggers.

The one that seems to be the "flavour of the week" at the moment is Mats heading to Broadway to sign with the Rangers. Not only as a fan, but as someone who likes to think he knows something about hockey, I believe this would be a terrible idea, likely for both sides.

First of all, the Rangers are within $2M of the salary cap, meaning they would either have to a) Convince Mats to play for league minimum, to leave a bit of a buffer for injuries and whatnot b) Sign him for $2M and face a dangerous cap situation all season long, or c) Move out some salary and sign him for the $7-8.5M that the market will likely demand.

Now, some theorists have suggested the Rags would be looking to move Michal Rozsival and his $5M contract (signed this summer, in fact), but does this make any sense at all?

The Rangers aren't exactly deep on the blueline, and getting rid of Rozsival doesn't make them any deeper, especially since it would be a salary dump in which the Rangers would be seeking only prospects or picks, to maximize the dump. Is Bobby Sanguinetti ready to pick up the slack? I don't think so, nor do I think it would be a reasonable expectation from the team to put a rookie in a big-minutes situation.

Another reason Sundin should stay out of a Rangers uniform is that the team is already deep in centers and leaders. Chris Drury, who I believe will end up the team's captain this season, Scotty Gomez, and Mats Sundin? If I'm not mistaken, all 3 have been captains in the past, and all play the same position. While I suppose Drury could be moved to the left wing, I don't believe you should mess with a player's natural position if you want the most out of his game. This would leave one of those three centering the third line. A little pricey, I'd say...

Finally, the impact Sundin's sudden appearance would have on team chemisty is impossible to gauge. He seems like an affable enough guy off the ice, even if he's a bit of a prick on it. I doubt anyone would instantly dislike him, aside from possibly Wade Redden - lots of love lost during battle of Ontario games. But, it's a new team, new teammates, new coach, new system, and above all, new city. This would likely mean an adjustment period, aka - slow start. Can the Rangers' re-vamped lineup afford to allow Mats time to get settled in? And before anyone says anything about Nik Zherdev, the reason I draw a distinction is that Zherdev is much younger, and hasn't ever really planted roots in the NHL. Sundin, conversely, has 13 years of Leafs engrained in him, and it would take a lot of inner work for him to exorcise those "demons".

Anyway, I'd say Mats should really look at Toronto, Colorado, Vancouver (although the travel would be nuts) or even Montreal. I'm just praying Glen Sather has enough integrity to stick to his plan. And that plan, at least until now, didn't appear to include Sundin.

Until next time,

Na Zdravi!

Exactly how I feel and I'm a Rangers fan. The Rangers signing Mats Sundin makes no sense. We are way to deep in Centers already, and have more then enough leadership and experience on this team to win. Sundin makes no sense for the Rangers
It definitely doesn't make sense. The depth, plus the salary dump they'd have to do (especially for just one or two years).

I think what makes the most sense for any team is to do what Detroit and Marian Hossa did. If you're Montreal, give him what you have room to give him for one year, and make a run for the cup. He may not have wanted to be a hired gun to win a cup this past year, but that's pretty much exactly what he's going to be if he plays this year.
@ Children's Surgery - Glad you agree! It's not that Sundin wouldn't be a good fit, but not in the "all of a sudden" way it's being done now... It's kind of like one of your "Golden Apples" - so to speak. Might be good on the surface, but can do a lot of long-term damage to the team...

@ Garth - I agree that he's likely only going to be a one-year fit, unless he goes to Vancouver, but I don't understand that logic much either, with the Sedin twins up for contracts next season. One one hand, Gillis could be gambling that getting Sundin would entice the twins to take a hometown discount, but I think it likely just hamstrings the team against the cap... Don't forget, Luongo will be due some bucks soon too... :)
I don't even see how that would entice the Sedins. I mean, "take more money so that you can play with him for one more year"? The play that Gillis made stank of pure desperation, and it still does. I wouldn't be surprised if, assuming Sundin decides not to retire and expresses interest in playing for the Canucks, Gillis tries to weasel out of the offer.
God, I'm so useful... That should of course read "take LESS money". Ugh, I stink.
Y'all don't stink... I understand what you're saying. I find the reported Vancouver offer (which I've neither heard refuted or confirmed from his agent as being true) absolutely ridiculous, and a definite sign of deperation, hence my point that he must think it gains him some form of leverage. I think it earns him stink...

He'll be caught by the cap on Luongo, rather than the Sedins, and that's the big bitch here...
1) We would be shocked to see Mats play anywhere but in Canada. He's on record stating he prefers to play in the Great White North (where he has played his entire long career).
2) We doubt that he would change this position, and believe its why he rejected getting traded last spring as the destinations were likely to be south of the border.
3) Right now we'd say the odds are:
If he signs with the Habs, and I were a Leafs fan I'd be upset for sure. That would be like Messier signing with the Islanders.
I don't know, Faux. I'm sure that I read that the most likely destination at the trade deadline was going to be Montreal.

That said, I think that Toronto and Montreal both have a better chance than Vancouver.

Oh, and Czech, I know what you're saying and maybe he DOES think it gives him leverage, but I don't think it actually does. I don't think there's a team who would try and outbid Vancouver because I think everyone knows it's a ridiculous desperation move.

Great point. I don't think any team will beat or even match Vancouver's offer. It's just way to risky to take that much of a cap hit.
That wasn't my point. It's not about matching Vancouver's offer, it's about driving up his value on the open market. Again, I believe Mats will end up taking $7-8.5M when he eventually signs. But he won't go below it, and can always point to Vancouver's offer as his reason why he feels he has greater worth... Montreal and Toronto have enough space to offer about $8M, without really pushing themselves into a hole... In view of the Rangers, I think he'd be asking $7M, which is still too much to commit to him, in my opinion, given the roster moves we'd need to make in order to fit him in...
I understand what you're saying Czech, but I still don't think it works as coverage. If Montreal or Toronto offer him, for example, $7M and he says "Well, match Vancouver or I'm going there" then I don't see anyone falling over themselves to match it. At this point, teams are going to offer him what they can afford. I don't see the Rangers or Flyers dumping big salaries to make room for him. I don't see anyone doing that no matter what the highest offer is. I imagine he'll take $6M or $7M, because that's about what Montreal and Toronto have in cap space. Vancouver may have driven up the price had Sundin made his decision at the beginning of July, but teams have built their rosters over the last month and a half and he's going to get what's left. In my opinion, of course.

I may still be misintepreting what you said Czech, and if so, I apologize.
Garth, I'm not trying to argue with you, as we both basically agree on the whole thing. My point about leverage is simply that if, let's say, Los Angeles wanted to get into the hunt, they'd basically be FORCED to offer $10M. Or, if the Rangers or Habs (both of whom have been speculated as "desirable" destinations for Sundin) decide they're going to try to low-ball him at $4M per season, to facilitate the move, his agent would simply say "not gonna happen with that $10M on the table from Vancouver". Thus, he drives it up to $7M, which is my proposed top dollar for Sundin.

Anyway, one thing to consider is the whole concept of age-related incentives, which is still a muddy area right now due to the potential re-neg of the CBA from the PA... Only time will tell on that one...
I'm not trying to argue either (I'm thinking of this as more of discussion than arguement) and I know what you're saying, but I still kinda disagree. Back, even before the Vancouver offer, it was being said that a deal around $7M was what it was going to take to land Sundin. I don't think there's a team in the league that Sundin would accept a $4M a year deal with, and I think the Vancouver deal only makes a difference if the team offering it is seen as 'undesireable', such as your LA suggestion.

If he doesn't retire, I don't see money being a factor. I think he'll choose the team he wants to play for and get what they can give him. I don't think he'll go to Toronto or Montreal and say "I want to play for you, but only if you match Vancouver's offer".

Like I said, I only see a problem if he decides he's coming back just for the money, and in that case, there's not much Toronto or Montreal can do, because they won't be able to match an offer my a team with a bunch of cap space.

Whatever, I just hope he retires.
I've always wanted to see him sign in Montreal, maybe we could finally trade that deadweight, Slacker Koivu
Grath - glad we're discussing rather than arguing... lol...

Anyway, one thing I could see happening is Sundin wanting to go to a team like the Rangers, which is up against the cap. Now, in order to make him happy, and themselves happy, the Rangers walk a delicate balance. The CBA extension would be key to this, as they could offer him a manageable base salary of let's say $3.5M per season, PLUS incentives, which would only count against the cap next season... Otherwise, they'll have to deal away a good player to fit an aging Sundin into the payroll structure.

Sundin, likely unwilling to play for under $7M, would simply point to existing offers, and suggest he should make MORE than whatever offer is being made.

Not saying he's greedy, but establishing market value is important, and there will be pressure from the PA about it as well... No way they want Sundin pulling a Paul Kariya and signing for pennies... Not under this CBA... It skews market valuation dramatically, and will only cause issues within the union.

Anyway, I'm hoping he retires too, since I want him as far from the Big Apple as possible (unless he decides to do some charity work and play for the Isles...lol)...

@ mikeyhabs - Are you serious about Koivu being a slacker? I don't think that's a valid point, although I agree his time in Montreal might be best cut short, since his best days are behind him...
I get what you're saying about establishing market value, and I agree that he won't sign for less than $7M (maybe $6M), but I don't think the Vancouver offer changes much. I sort of liken that offer to the contract that Rick DePietro got. It's a one-off thing and isn't really going to influence much. I don't think there's much chance that he signs with Vancouver and from stuff I've read, that seems to be the concensus, so I don't see it as much of a bargaining chip. I see Toronto and Montreal with $6M and $7M in cap space as being the comparison points. Like, if the Rangers really want him, he can point to those two as teams who can fit him under the cap, so "if you want me, you have to come up with that kind of money".

I think if he DOES play, there's probably a 90% chance that he plays for Montreal or Toronto.
I see Toronto and Montreal with $6M and $7M in cap space as being the comparison points. Like, if the Rangers really want him, he can point to those two as teams who can fit him under the cap, so "if you want me, you have to come up with that kind of money".
This makes good sense... I guess my thinking was more about driving up his minimum price, to avoid cap space being the complete determining factor for Sundin's contract demands.

Realistically, I agree that TOR and MTL seem like the most likely destinations, with MTL likely at the top of the list because of the bad blood that surely must exist between Mats and the Leafs from last trade deadline...

Starting to really hope he retires...
Forgive the salty language, but this is getting to be fucking ridiculous. I've been an advocate of "he's a free agent, let him take his time", but now the report is that he is going to, or MAY, wait until the season is over? Back when Toronto wanted to trade him, didn't he say he wanted to play with a contender, but play with one from the start of training camp, all year, rather than being a rental? Make up your goddamn mind, Mats.

Seems to me, if there's any doubt in his mind about playing, he shouldn't play.
Yep, im serious, Koivu never does more than he HAS to, and the last couple seasons, hes been taking more bad penalties than getting goals or even assists...I cant stand him, and never could; he represents the Habs teams at their worst
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