Mats Sundin: To Play or Not to Play?

Matt Eichel@@mattyalloutSenior Writer IJuly 2, 2008

Don't waste any more time wondering if Mats Sundin is going to make up his mind anytime soon.

In fact, don't expect even to pick him in your fantasy hockey pools next season at this rate.

After being offered the largest sum of money of any big name free agent this off-season, Sundin is still pondering his options.

If $10 million a year, plus a $5 million bonus doesn't get him in a Vancouver Canucks uniform, then what makes any other team, such as the New York Rangers or the Montreal Canadiens, think they have a shot at the big Swede?

It's only fitting that he retires as a Maple Leaf.  He bleeds blue for the Toronto fans and if he should re-sign, it should be with the team he adores.

Sundin doesn't have this "Raymond Bourquesque" aura about him.  He seems to be content with not winning a Cup.  In all fairness to Mats and to the teams offering the contracts, the Canucks were not a serious contender last season while the Rangers and Canadiens both made it to semifinal action.

Mats Sundin is special in that he cares about where he plays and, as he is showing now with some restraint keeping him from jumping at the Canucks' big offer, he doesn't care much for the amount of money he is paid to play.

If Mats were to re-sign in Toronto, it would be for a good deal less than what the Canucks are offering.  And that's how I can see it going down, if Cliff Fletcher is willing to make that deal.

Yet, times in Toronto are changing.  Tucker, Raycroft, Wellwood, and possibly soon McCabe will be gone.  Joseph, Finger, and Hagman are coming into build a franchise from the bottom up.

But don't get me wrong. Mats is the heart and soul of the team and has been since Fletcher brought him over from the Quebec Nordiques over a decade ago.

Yet, is Mats Sundin in Fletcher's rebuilding plans?  Does he want a captain such as Mats to lead a team of younger players including Steen, Stajan, White, and Hagman?

If Mats Sundin doesn't make up his mind soon, we might as well figure he's going to call it quits.

But let's wait it, let's sweat it out a little more.