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Canada • 82 Years Old • Male

LEAFS: Captain Of The Ship

Posted 12:16 AM ET | Comments 9
Yes Mats is still with us in Leaf land. Yes he invoked his no trade clause at the deadline. Yes Mats Sundin will be back in the blue and white next season and yes it will be with a no trade attached to the bottom of the contract. There is no reason to believe Sundin will retire at years end with or without a playoff appearance by the blue and white express. This steam engine isn't through yet and frankly I can't see how the Leafs organization can possibly let him go elsewhere. In fact I think he would retire before pulling on another jersey anyway, but in reality this club is going to need their captain to usher in not only a new era under a new GM (Brian Burke) but also to break in the heir apparent. I know there are lots of rumours out there about a lucrative 10+ million dollar deal for 2 years and although that is very possible I'm betting on a 1 year term which will in fact hold a no trade clause. The reason? Sundin wants to finish in Toronto and without a no trade he would surely be dealt once again at the deadline unless the Leafs were a serious contender. Why leave it to chance, "include a no trade or I retire" seems a good line to spit out after all he has given to the organization. I know people have drug him through the mud about not helping the team move forward by allowing a blockbuster deadline deal. Fact is I dont think it was as much his heart as it was the deals. Look at what he's done down the stretch. Without the big swede Maple Leafs fans would surely be watching Jays spring training a heck of a lot closer by now and the deals offered just didnt hold a candle to what Mats could do in a buds uniform himself. Thats my take on why he didnt go. Of course he wants to retire a Leaf. Of course he has earned the right, but still, if the deal was right, this diehard thinks he would have waved goodbye, as did the Great One once upon a time and as will the Next One when his time comes in Pittsburgh. The deal wasnt right and we have a playoff push as a result, no matter how long of a shot it is.

Now assuming Mats does in fact resign, no matter the deal. Who will be the heir? Who will management go out and get to take the reigns when Sundin does hang up the skates? There certainly isn't anyone already on the club in line. Antropov, among others, have made great strides this year but none have yet shown Sundin-like potential. And as far as bringing someone in, my bet is on an offer sheet rather then a UFA. What if you go out and offer Jeff Carter a 7 million dollar offer sheet. With the Flyers obviously looking to reaquire Forsberg they surely wouldn't match, even if they could. The leafs have already shown interest in the young stud but were unable to convince those involved to accept a trade no matter how close the deal was to being done. Carter brings everything they could want in a future leader and his days are all but numbered in Philly with him wasting away at 3rd on the depth charts. This guy is not a number 3 center (which is the part he is playing right now) I heard Bill waters compare the young man to Jon Taveres. Although I'm not quite sure I would go that far yet, he has deffinately shown a superb upside and will likely be a star for years to come.

Now what if the Flyers do match, whos next in line? I've heard Ryan Smyths name mentioned but why do you want this guy. He is everything that Mats isnt, and if Mats is the ultimate role model how can you replace him with his polar opposite. In my oppinion Mr. Smyth is a selfish player who cant hold a candle to Sundins caliber of play. He is talented, don't get me wrong, but not Sundin talented. besides why replace Mats with a player who is going to leave for a few hundred thousand dollars more then what the buds offer him 4 or 5 years down the line. Maybe they should make a play for Brad Richards. He would clearly fit the mold and would likely be overjoyed to become a Leaf. The list goes on and on.

The one piece of the puzzle that needs to be straightened out first is the GM. MLSE has to actually do what they say in replacing Peddie and Fletcher with what has been elluded to as a 'top teir hockey guy'. To this point all MLSE has done is disappoint fans so why would this off season be any different. Perhaps it will be the franchise first, 3rd consecutive playoff miss. Maybe the millions in lost revenue, or the approx. 10 million lost to revenue sharing without any recoupe from a post season run. Maybe it will be a fan demand that will finally aline the planets and land the Maple Leaf faithful a legitimate shot at building a winner.

At the end of the day there are few gaurantees other then that Mats will be another year older, Fans will be planning a parade before the first puck even drops in October and it will be at least 2 or 3 years before we even get close to knowing if the heir brought in is actually going to live up to expectations. Lord knows Sundin will leave behind some huge skates to fill.

You heard it here.
Filed Under:   maple leafs   contract   carter   sundin   flyers   burke   smyth  
March 13, 2008 2:56 PM ET | Delete
Carter is not the answer, at least at the cost of 4 first round picks. Toronto is likely going to be bad for a while, so each one of those 4 first rounders could end up better than Carter. That'd be a big mistake.The Leafs should find their Sundin replacement in the draft. They should not look for someone to replace him anywhere else.
March 13, 2008 3:36 PM ET | Delete
Good point.. the 7 mil figure i threw out was because that would almost gaurantee he signed with the leafs... what about 4.5 mil? a 1st, 2nd and 3rd pick surely is worth carter, assuming the Leafs arent in the bottom 5 next year(the picks would be 2009 draft) i guess the question then is.. would the flyers be able to match at 4.5? i think not. at least not if Forsberg is as serious about going there as he said. rumours in philly are he'll sign in the offseason. I cant see Carter in a Flyers uniform in 09, maybe not a Leafs either though. Unless they draft top 5 there isnt a Sundin replacement there.. unless they can sell off everything, tank again next year and snag Jon Taveres. Imagine that!?
March 13, 2008 4:49 PM ET | Delete
Next year is the Tavares/Hedman draft, so I don't think I would make an offer sheet for anyone if it cost them their first rounder. As long as they continue to hold onto their draft picks we should be able to find our Sundin replacement eventually. Will whoever it is turn out as good as Sundin? Probably not, but then again Sundin is likely a top 5 player in franchise history.I don't think the Leafs will be able to find a replacement easily, so we should probably be patient! That's my opinion.
March 13, 2008 6:58 PM ET | Delete
Yeah, I thought the Leafs were deadset on getting Tavares (did they actually try to sign him to a contract before he's eligible or was that just a rumor?) so I can't see them giving up their 1st next year.
March 13, 2008 7:50 PM ET | Delete
From what I understand fergie had a "conversation" with Taveres' agent. It would have involved Taveres signing an AHL contract with the Marlies thus opting out of the entry draft in 09. If/when a team took a flier on him on draft day (even though he had already gone pro) he refuses to play and then signs with the Leafs 1 year later once he is age eligible... something of an Eric Lindros situation minus the trade. I think this was merely an attempt at Fergie saving his job at the time but give him credit for coming up with such a far fetched plan anyway. In the end Taveres said he will complete his junior career and has no intention of signing a pro contract prior to draft day '09. one thing I do find funny is that Stamkos and Taveres have publicly said they are huge Leaf supports, yet they will likely never see the Blue and White... at least not out of the draft. Hey.. maybe they could trade up for the 1st pick... im sure some bottom feeder needs an entire nhl roster....haha cause thats what it would take from this Leaf lineup to obtain it minus a sundin/Kaberle move.
March 13, 2008 7:55 PM ET | Delete
Im not entirely clear on the rules applying to a players rights when he turns pro prior to the draft but from he sketchy details i have collected that was the senerio as I understand it... Daeth may be able to add...
March 13, 2008 10:49 PM ET | Delete
Tavares definitely won't be coming to the Leafs by signing a minor league contract lol. That was just an inquiry on JFJ's part. I'm not sure there was any real serious talk going on. I'd love to see him in Toronto.. no doubt.. but we'd some luck on our side to end up with the first pick next year!
April 22, 2008 9:39 PM ET | Delete
i know ryan smyth and hes may not get the hilite goals or anything but hes the hardest working guy and gives it his all, i would have loved to see him with the twins in vanvoucerand if ur upset on what he makes, look at the new CBA players are getting ridiculous contracts its just the new era of the NHL either deal with it or stop watching it will probly just get worse
June 24, 2008 8:16 AM ET | Delete
Aren't the leafs a bottom feeder in need of an entire NHL Roster! Just saying!
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