Sunday, August 17, 2008

Temujin's Turn to Kick at the Sundin Can

The Saga of Mats continues. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports:

Free-agent center Mats Sundin has declared his interest in playing for the Rangers this season, well-connected sources have told The Post.

J.P. Barry, who represents the elite, 37-year-old former Toronto pivot, has been in constant communication with Rangers front-office personnel this week, The Post has learned, though the conversations have not reached the stage of a contract negotiation.


This comes as no surprise to those of use who have been following the story all summer. Lighter travel schedule, bright lights of New York, and now the opportunity to play with Naslund are all reasons for him to go there. The article gets a little more interesting, though:

We're told Sundin, who recorded 78 points (32-46) last season, has no interest in returning to the Maple Leafs, who have offered him a one-year, $7M contract to re-up. Sundin apparently has negligible interest in joining Montreal, which has been chasing him since February, or Vancouver, which has offered a two-year, $20M deal.

Indeed, sources report that No. 13's second choice is Philadelphia, whose GM, Paul Holmgren, has been aggressive in his pursuit of the first-line center who could swing the balance of power in the East.


Emphasis mine. If that's really true, and I get the feeling it probably is, then Mike Gillis must feel about as low as a snake's ass in a tire track. He takes over a team whose fans seem apprehensive about his hiring. He quickly promises change and proceeds to make several mediocre-at-best additions. The Demitra signing (which I would not define as mediocre!) could turn out to be a beauty, but the one Big Fish that Gillis goes after balks at an offer that would pay him the highest salary in the NHL.

It seems clear now that Sundin must have negligible interest in playing with Vancouver. There can be no other reason why he would refuse such a financial windfall - unless he really does decide to hang 'em up. How long of a honeymoon does the guy need? Anyone can see through that excuse.

But now Gillis has really placed himself in a bind, by offering such a staggering contract to a 37 year old.

Can the Rangers afford Sundin though? Continuing from the NY Post:

But GM Glen Sather faces a daunting challenge in reconstructing the roster in order to fit Sundin under the cap, and would almost certainly have to dilute his defense in order to do so.

Assuming Sundin would be willing to play for between $5-7M, the Blueshirts would almost certainly have to move defenseman Michal Rozsival, who re-signed on July 1 for $5M per for four years.

The problem, however, is that the Rangers have only six NHL defensemen on their roster - including Rozsival.


Watch Sundin sign for $6 million in New York! Ha! That would definitely be a huge kick in the nuts to Canuck fans, and a big middle finger to Mike Gillis. The optimistic part of me simply doesn't see Sundin as a Ranger next season. But I wouldn't put it past Sather to find a way to nab him.

As I'm sure Sean will remind me endlessly when I see him next, the bet I made with him regarding Sundin's signing was "no later than August 15th". I was certain he'd be a Canuck by now. Alas, my predictive abilities are only slightly less accurate than a magic 8-ball.

But at least magic 8-balls are amusing.

I'm no longer amused by the Sundin Saga.

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4 Comments:

At August 17, 2008 at 1:23 PM , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

I really don't see Sather being able to make room for Sundin unless he drops Redden, Gomez or Drury. Not gonna happen. Why would he drop those 3 younger stars to pick up a 38-year-old who has to drum up motivation to play anywhere?

I would assume Sundin's Swedish agent will come out and deny this rumor in the next 48 hours.

Check out the Ranger's cap situation here

They would be stupid to move that amount. And isn't Gomez the #1 center? He's only getting paid $8 million!

 
At August 17, 2008 at 2:50 PM , Blogger Temujin said...

You may be right. Brooks could be simply trying to generate some addedexcitement for Ranger hockey fans... though I'd say they have plenty to be excited about already.

Nonetheless, I think I must owe you something for losing the bet. Heh heh heh.

 
At August 17, 2008 at 3:46 PM , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

I'll take a Cpt Morgan's supply for a week! I kid.

The same old constant air of bullshit is coming from Brooks in my opinion because I don't think Sundin has made up his mind yet. Sundin is completely private.
This is the same rumor material that Canuck fans have had to put up with for the past 2 months, so I'm not biting on Brooks' story.

Oh, and Philly is sitting at over $61 million in cap spending. Way over! Where the heck are they going to get the money from? They are paying Briere and Timonen $8 million each!

I still say he goes to Toronto or retires.

 
At August 17, 2008 at 4:07 PM , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Aha! I was close! Sundin's North American agent JP Barry just called bullshit on Larry Brooks.

 

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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.