Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mats mania

Okay, okay, I give in. It's a Sundin post.

The Mats trade watch continues to meander on in what's a pretty trying fashion, where every little tidbit of information, compelling or not (mostly the latter), is leaked out little by little.

The Sundin story, where nothing happened, was at the top of TSN, Globe Sports and Sportsnet all Friday.

Now, Sundin's had a good season, and has been a great player for 15-odd years, but we're not talking about a deal involving Sidney Crosby, and we're not talking about anything more than a rental. Sundin's 37 years old and is headed back to Leaf Land as soon as his stint with a contender (should it happen) is over.

Which means, he's really not going to fetch as much as all the fuss would indicate.

Here's a quick look at the Big Three deals from last year's deadline, where one name went for prospects and picks:
RW Ryan Smyth
for
C Robert Nilsson,
C Ryan O'Marra,
2007 1st-round pick
F Keith Tkachuk
for
F Glen Metropolit
2007 1st-round pick
2007 3rd-round pick
2008 2nd-round pick
2008 cond. 1st-round pick
C Peter Forsberg
for
RW Scottie Upshall,
D Ryan Parent,
2007 1st-round pick,
2007 3rd-round pick
Last year was a desperate time, for various reasons, for the Islanders, Thrashers and Predators, three franchises that collectively haven't won a playoff round since the early 1990s when Al Arbour was still behind the Long Island bench.

And Sundin's not likely going to a desperate team.

Detroit's interested, Anaheim, too, and it's said the Canucks, Canadiens and Senators are also in play, depending on where the captain says he'll go.

None of those teams is going to bet the farm for a rental, not with what's at stake. Ken Holland, for instance, still sounds as though he's smarting from dealing a top prospect in Shawn Matthias for 25 games (and five goals) from a broken down Todd Bertuzzi.

And why wouldn't he?

The bottom line is that I don't think Sundin fetches much more than a middling to late first-round pick and an Upshall-type project prospect.

Even if he does wave his no-trade clause, that's not a move that will save this franchise. It's a start, maybe, a small piece in a major rebuild, but that's all it is.

That's all it ever was.
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13 Comments:

At 2:55 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

Shawn Matthias was a definite win for Florida. If the wings do nothing before the trade deadline it won't break my heart.

 
At 3:23 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Hossim said...

Trade Mats? But we still have shot at playoff spot. Me no understand.

 
At 3:46 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

Last year was a desperate time, for various reasons, for the Islanders, Thrashers and Predators, three franchises that collectively haven't won a playoff round since the early 1990s when Al Arbour was still behind the Long Island bench.

... and still haven't. The three teams who "got the best player in the trade" won a combined two games in three short playoff series.

F Keith Tkachuk
for
F Glen Metropolit
2007 1st-round pick
2007 3rd-round pick
2008 2nd-round pick
2008 cond. 1st-round pick


Note: that cond. pick went back to Atlanta when the Thrashers traded Tkachuk's negotiating rights back to St. Louis in late June. Tkachuk subsequently re-signed in St.Loo in one of the more blatant examples of a player loan since about the 1950s.

 
At 4:04 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Sean said...

And Sundin's not likely going to a desperate team.

James, this is a fair point but I wouldn't rule out the desperation factor for the Senators.

OK, "desperate" may be stretching it. But here are three reasons why the Senators may see this year as their best opportunity to win a Cup.

- They may not ever have this much talent again. Redden is a goner after the season. Alfredsson is 35, and while he looks like he has plenty left in the tank how many more "elite" seasnons like this one can you expect? And with so much money tied up in long-term deals to the core players and not much in the farm system, the days of having good, young, cheap depth players may be waning.

- The writing is on the wall in the Eastern Conference: the Penguins era is coming, if it's not here already. There's no reason to think that nobody else can win during the next few years, but I like Ottawa's chances now a lot more than I will when the Pens had a few long playoff battles behind them.

- Murray hasn't been subtle about his thoughts on Muckler's "don't rock the boat" deadline strategy. It was the main issue that divided them and lead to Muckler being shown the door. If Murray doesn't make a big splash (and I don't think Stillman/Commodore is it) then some people will rightly be asking what he was complaining about all those years.

Again, it's not a perfect scenario and it may all be moot if Mats holds firm. But Ottawa has plenty of motivation to act at least a little desperate over the next few days.

 
At 4:15 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mats Sundin will never play for Ottawa. Period.

Anyway, he should stay with Leafs and finish his career there.

When everybody is complaining about Thachuk type rentals and governors are even planning to change rules re: such trades there's plenty of fans demanding that Sundin should do just agree on such deal.

I don't get it.

What happened to loyalty of staying with your team? Now you're not loyal if you don't leave?

I hope Sundin stays like he has sid that he will and nobody should pressure him to do anything else.

Anybody that thinks Leafs will get better with couple of draft picks doesn't see straight.

Years of bad deals, bad trades and bad drafting will be corrected in one Sundin trade. And have your great captain wear some other jersey for couple months.

There's no limit in stupidity, I quess.

 
At 4:22 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Shane Giroux said...

"James, this is a fair point but I wouldn't rule out the desperation factor for the Senators"

The point is that with his NTC, Sundin gets to pick where he'd want to go. He won't want to go to Ottawa and he won't want to go to a desperate team.

Nothing short of a definite contender will lure him from Toronto.

 
At 4:42 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Sean said...

The point is that with his NTC, Sundin gets to pick where he'd want to go. He won't want to go to Ottawa and he won't want to go to a desperate team.

I'm not so sure. They're a contender, they're close to Toronto, and one of his best friends is on the team. Why wouldn't he go?

The always overhyped Battle of Ontario rivalry is all but dead, and even when their was bad blood between the teams Sundin was virtually never involved (with the exception of the ridiculous stick-throw incident). And he'd be welcomed with open arms, unlike a guy like Tucker.

 
At 6:32 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

Why would Sundin want to take a sweater to which he has no loyalty and get into what could become a long drawn-out playoff run for which he would get paid very little?

Wouldn't he rather put on the gold-and-blue of Tre Kronor -- a program for which he has considerable loyalty -- and play for a couple of weeks in his old stomping grounds of Quebec City? That's got to be the more attractive option to Mats at this point.

Sundin has done nothing but represent the Leafs with class, for better or worse he was given a NTC, and he is certainly within his rights to expect that it be honoured.

 
At 7:35 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Sean said...

Why would Sundin want to take a sweater to which he has no loyalty and get into what could become a long drawn-out playoff run for which he would get paid very little? Wouldn't he rather put on the gold-and-blue of Tre Kronor -- a program for which he has considerable loyalty -- and play for a couple of weeks in his old stomping grounds of Quebec City?
I hate to say this because I'm a big Mats fan. But ff he'd really rather play for a World Championship than a Stanley Cup in what could be his final season, then maybe he wasn't the sort of NHL leader we thought he was all these years.

 
At 9:27 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Baroque said...

Mike Babcock has also said that he is happy with the team as is, and is planning on reminding Ken Holland every day about the Bertuzzi trade.

I think all the GM's took a look at the miniscule impact of the deadline deals from last season, and decided to act a lot smarter this year. Whether that resolve will hold through Tuesday remains to be seen.

 
At 2:23 PM, February 24, 2008, Blogger Junior said...

Mr. Mirtle:

Words about Mats Sundin, the Maple Leafs and a possible trade - all from a hockey writer - and yet there is sanity and good sense permeating throughout the piece.

Number one, you'll never get last in the sports media if you keep THAT up.

Number two, thank you. It's refreshing.

 
At 3:25 PM, February 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Junior. This was one of the sanest posts I've seen about the Sundin situation.
I'm really not sure I would see a man who doesn't want to leave Toronto and who is evidently not driven to play on a Stanley Cup winner as the player who will take a contender over the top.

 
At 10:47 PM, February 24, 2008, Blogger dfsdao said...

Sundin has decided to not waive his no-trade clause.

 

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