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Posts tagged: Mats Sundin

Former Ranger Pavel Bure headed to Hockey Hall of Fame

Former Ranger winger Pavel Bure was one of four elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame this afternoon. Bure will join Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, and Adam Oates as the class of 2012. During his two-year stint with the Rangers, the oft-injured winger still managed to put up almost a point-per-game pace, with a line of 31-19-50 in 51 games.

Sakic and Sundin were the first ballot Hall of Famers, while Bure and Oates had been on the ballot for a couple of years. Surprisingly snubbed on his first ballot was Brendan Shannahan, who has 100 more goals and three more Stanley Cups than Sundin. Also left off this year’s class were first timers Jeremy Roenick and Curtis Joseph; and hold-overs Eric Lindros, Dave Andreychuck, Kevin Lowe, and Pat Burns.

Sundin Retires

Mats Sundin has decided to call it quits, announcing his retirement earlier this morning. After 18 seasons, 13 in Toronto, Sundin amassed a line of 564-785-1349 in 1346 games.

He will go to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, there’s no doubt about it. This is also one less name that the rumormongorers can link the Rangers to at the trade deadline too.

Rangers Interested in Sundin?

Finally, some hockey news to report on. After 750 words of ranting on two topics, it feels good to post on something that actually relates to the Rangers. By the way, don’t forget, if you are interested in a BSB Fantasy Hockey League, email me.

According to Steve Zipay, the Rangers are reportedly interested, again, in Brett Favre’s Mats Sundin’s return to the NHL. While Sundin never formally retired, he did wait until December of last season to decide where he wanted to go. Considering he is 38, getting married in a week, and camp is 20 days away, you have to wonder what kind of shape he is in. He certainly isn’t in John Tortorella shape.

It is widely known that the Rangers are looking for a #1 center, preferably with size. But with a little under $3 million in cap room, and Brandon Dubinsky still twiddling his thumbs, you have to wonder what the plan here is. Between Drury, Prospal, Dubsinky, and maybe Anisimov as a dark horse, the Rangers have enough options to see who can center Gaborik. Gabby had Pierre-Marc Bouchard as his center (I think) during his tenure in Minnesota, and Bouchard isn’t exactly your typical #1 center.

Gaborik also had Aaron Voros on his LW. It’s not like he needs a play maker. Let’s see how Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik does. It can’t hurt to try.

It’s Not Just About the Money

As predicted here, Sundin went to the Canucks for more money. I couldn’t be happier. The last thing this team needed was an aging veteran who isn’t a fast skater. I mean no disrespect to Mats, who is a great player and will probably make the Hall, but that’s the disadvatage of being 37 in the “new NHL”.

The Rangers probably won out in this deal too. They didn’t have to make any absurd roster movements, they keep the core of the team together, and they get to build on two wins against good teams on the west coast.

But I digress. There are a lot of people out there who believe that Sundin went straight for the pay day. And yes, it looks like that. But Sundin didn’t sign that 2 year/$20 million whopper that Vancouver offered. He signed for one year, at the prorated $10 million (roughly $6 million). As per Pierre LeBrun, Sundin phoned fellow countryman Mattias Ohlund and asked if his presence would have an effect on the Canucks locker room. LeBrun continues to add that Sundin was unnerved by the fact that multiple bodies (Prucha and Fritsche to start, maybe going further to Korpikoski and Kalinin depending on the salary) would have to be moved to clear room on the Rangers roster. Those kinds of move mess with a teams chemistry, no matter how many times they change lines during the season.

I respect Sundin, but as for him signing with the Rangers, we say good riddance.

Yet Another Sundin Post (Updated)

It’s been a whole 12 hours without another Sundin post, so it’s about time we get one out there. Today is his decision day. Just so everyone is aware of the situation, Sundin will have to pass a physical before he actually signs.

What does that mean to the Rangers? Simple, with the roster freeze coming, the Rangers simply will not be able to clear the cap space to sign him until after Christmas. Throw in that Sundin isn’t just going to step out on the ice against the Islanders on December 29 (he does need to practice a few times with the team first), and you are looking at a first possible Sundin game in 2009.

But how are they going to clear the space? They have $1.3 million in available cap room right now. Rozsival and Redden are essentially unmoveable. So that leaves waiving players. Korpikoski can still be optioned to Hartford without passing through waivers, so him and his $1.1 million (total $2.4 million) will probably go back to Hartford. As much as we like him, it’s better for him to get first line time in Hartford than less than 10 minutes a game for the Rangers. Hopefully Kalinin and his $2.1 million will get waived ($4.5 million – $675,000 for Potter as a replacement = roughly $4.0 million). Maybe they waive Fritsche to get the cap space available to $4.5 million.

Let’s assume Sundin signs for $4 million, which is what Naslund is getting. That leaves $500,000 for a 7th defenseman. Fahey has to pass through waivers to get called up, so it’s unlikely it will be him, maybe Denisov? The roster will look something like this:

Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev
Dubinsky-Sundin-Dawes
Callahan-Drury-Sjostrom
Voros-Betts-Orr

Staal-Potter
Girardi-Redden
Mara-Rozsival

Scratches: Prucha, Denisov

Update: It looks like Sundin wants $6 million from the Rangers. With Redden and Rozsival as untradeable as Sean Avery, the Rangers would have to do some serious work, as in, trading someone we don’t want to see traded.

My opinion? Have fun in Vancouver Mats.

Update: Sundin signs with the Canucks. I’m glad this saga is over, and they didn’t have to trade people away to sign him.

So what’s it gonna be Mats?

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?

Game 35: Rangers vs. Kings

According to Steve Zipay, Vally may get the nod tonight against the Kings. I agree with this. Let Hank rest up and be fresh for the game against my pick to win the Cup this year (before they set a record of 25 wins in the first 30 games). Considering the strong effort by everyone last night (even Kalinin, who finished +1 and only had one really bad play when he let Perry just blow right by him in the first), I would expect the same scratches of Prucha, Fritsche and Potter.

Sundin has a soft deadline of tomorrow/Friday for making his decision. The Rangers offer was probably in the $2-$3 million range for the rest of the season. It could possibly go higher, depending on the moves management is willing to make.

I have a holiday party for work to attend tonight, so I probably won’t be updating this during the game. Who knows, I may get back in time for the third.

Update 4:00pm: It’s confirmed (as per Zip), Vally will get the start tonight.

Some Tidbits

After a very busy day of football and fixing things around the apartment, a few notes:

Corey Potter will be traveling with the team on the west coast swing (as per Sam Weinman). This is probably a just in case scenario, as it is much tougher to get someone from Hartford to the west coast for a game. I’m hoping it’s to get some playing time in lieu of Kalinin.

Sean Avery is, for lack of a better phrase, suspended indefinitely from the Stars. I would expect the Stars to waive him, and assign him to Manitoba (he won’t report, I think it’s just a formality), so they can clear cap space. I’m not sure if that’s kosher by the CBA rules.

Mats Sundin won’t say anything until he signs somewhere (again, as per Sam Weinman). I don’t think it will be or should be with the Rangers.

Tom Renney, despite my opinions, is still the head coach of the Rangers. Pity. I wonder if Peter Laviolette is interested?

Game 33: Rangers vs. Carolina

Hopefully that pathetic defensive showing last night doesn’t linger. And yet, they still don’t have a seventh defensemen? Let someone, anyone, sit. Please. Potter played well.

Sundin is in the house. Don’t get your hopes up though.

Considering it is a Saturday night, and I like to believe that I have some sort of social life, I will not be giving live updates. So for the three of you that will read this, sorry.

Sather Breaks Out the Welcome Mats

As published earlier, Sather is preparing to meet with Mats Sundin this weekend. If anyone didn’t expect this to happen, well, wake up. He was going to be in town, it made no sense to not sit down and talk with him.

Now the question is two fold, 1) How does he fit with the Rangers? and 2) How can they clear enough cap space to get him on the team?

To answer the first question, you could shift Drury to wing, where he hasn’t really been all that comfortable. You could also switch Dubinsky to wing, as he’s been terrible on faceoffs this year. Personally, I would switch Dubinsky over to wing for the time being. It will give him more freedom, and I personally like the sound of a Sundin/Dubinsky/Prucha line.

As for the second question, an interesting rumor came from ESPN, saying that the Rangers may be interested in Avery. The article states that it would be a Rozsival for Avery swap, with Avery being sent to Hartford to clear cap space for Sundin. I’m sure many people won’t agree with me when I say that is a stupid move. Rozsival is one of the best defensemen the Rangers have, and has been playing very well lately. It appears any lingering effects from his hip surgery have disappeared.

I don’t see why Sundin is necessary. This team has the tools to win, and Sundin just makes a slow team slower. They need to start capitalizing on chances, and stop making mediocre goaltenders into Patrick Roy.

Update 12:45pm: To clear up some space, they could always waive Kalinin ($2.1 million) and Fritsche ($875,000) and send them to Hartford. That clears up $3 million, which added on to the $1.3 million available, makes $4 million for Sundin.