The trade deadline has come and gone and as you all know Mats Sundin decided to stay a member of the Maple Leafs. Was this the right decision?
I am a Sundin fan, but this puzzles me. He has every right to stay, that's what "no trade clauses" are for, but why stay Mats? The team is obviously in need of help and rebuilding. You have been the face of the franchise for a long time, why not help them out. On one hand I understand that he loves the city, loves the team and loves the sweater he plays in. He's in a comfort zone and nearing the end of his career and doesn't want to worry about moving.
Perhaps he is also thinking about longevity, health and finances, after all there is money to be made. By not going to a playoff team, he's essentially stretching his career out by not playing in the playoffs which can be very tough on ones body. He can play the rest of the season out, sign with the leafs or another team for another couple years of the regular season and hope he makes the playoffs therefore making more money.
Now let me argue why he did the wrong thing and where I stand with all of this. To me, playing hockey is about a dream, about winning the Stanley Cup. I understand that he is European but believe me, most have a desire to win it nearly as much as Canadians and American born players. Him staying says to me "I'm more about the money". By accepting a trade to another team, he gives himself a shot to win the cup by playing with whichever team for only a few months of service. Why not give it a shot!?
Mats staying also causes a big problem in Toronto because they are forced to go with the team they have down the stretch and could not improve during the deadline. A player of his caliber, seeing what Marian Hossa got for the Thrashers, could have pulled in much needed young talent and possibly a first round draft pick. Sundin could have helped his beloved Maple Leafs rebuild in such a short time, played in the playoffs for another team, having a shot to win the Stanley Cup and regardless of the outcome re-sign with the Leafs in the offseason. That would have made most sense.
I don't buy his "I don't want to be a piece of the puzzle" comment or else Ray Bourque would never have won his Stanley Cup. I'm sure the people in Boston understood Bourque's move to Colorado, as would Maple Leafs fans.
So Mats, I say you did the wrong thing and literally put the team that gave you most of your wealth and career in a very tough spot for many years to come. Even if you come back next season, you will not command such a high price next trade deadline. If you never win the Stanley Cup, you can think back on this situation and wonder "what if?"
Or do you actually care about winning the cup?