Mats Sundin has officially declared that he will not waive his no-trade clause to help Cliff Fletcher clean up the JFJ disaster.
His words leave some fans howling in disbelief and calling him a traitor because he is being overly loyal; that if he really wanted what's best for the Leafs he would accept a trade and then come back next year if he's so committed to the blue and white.
But it may just be that Sundin may not be back at all anyway. While releasing a statement that he would not waive his no-trade clause, he also indicated that he would not be signing a contract extension. Retirement this summer, it appears, is a large possibility for the big Swede.
This scenario may leave fans grumbling, but if they look at the future, this will now play out in one of two not-unpalatable ways.
1. Sundin could retire. $5M comes off the books. Sure there aren’t any prospects or picks, but still, that's some breathing space for the GM.
2. Sundin could come back. Like this year, it’s likely to be at a rate that is less than he would fetch on the open market.
Either of these scenarios is absolutely fine by me. In scenario one, he leaves on his own terms and gives the GM some nice financial breathing room. In scenario two, we're looking at getting huge value for the dollar in terms of scoring and leadership.
It's rare that an athlete these days will not opt to be a hired gun, given the chance. Sundin's commitment to Toronto is a deep and personal one. That is now undeniable.
You can't fault Sundin for not waiving his no-trade clause. If anything it's a good thing it was there, or else you can be sure we'd see yet another great Leaf captain treated like garbage.
I, for one, hope that he's back next year.