As we sit on the eve of Mats Sundin’s big decision, one has to wonder…is this a move the Rangers have to make? Or are they simply reverting back to their old ways, going after the the biggest available name out there, and not necessarily for the right reasons?
One would have to think that given Sundin’s track record that this is not just a move of desperation. Let’s face it….the Rangers offensive attack has all the symptoms of the worst types of anemia, and a big, able-bodied scorer (not named Aaron Voros or Colton Orr…sorry boys) will do wonders for an eye-gouging power play. The presence of another fellow countryman will also help in the progress of Markus Naslund, who will be a critical cog in the machine down the line, not to mention making your franchise goalie feel a little more at home.
But at what cost do the Rangers bring Sundin in? It will take a great deal of player movement and sacrifice to get him signed to the roster at the current asking price. The Rangers have taken great pride in the post-lockout era in holding on to their products, whether it be players they have drafted, or exports that have grown exponentially in their system. A commitment to Sundin will certainly mean the end of Petr Prucha (whom I believe the Rangers organization completely ruined, but thats another story for another time) and surely Michael Roszival, whose combined salary lands at $6.6 million/year. Besides, as a Rangers fan, you can’t help but cringe every time Slats goes after that big name (see Lindros, Eric; Bure, Pavel; Holik, Bobby, etc etc etc etc etc).
We can sit here all night and argue pros and cons over the decision, but it all comes down to which situation one future Hall of Fame center feels better about. In the end, the bright lights of New York, the prospect of playing with his notable natives, and remaining in the Eastern Conference will be enough to sway Sundin to the Big Apple. Then Rangers fans have to ask themselves two questions: how many line combinations will Tom Renney experiment with before he gets it right, and how much will Mats donate to Big Z for #13?