Mats Sundin Is Not About the Money

Dave McCarthyCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2008

Heard Sunday July 7 On the Season Finale of AFITC

Now, close to a week into free agency, and we still have not heard a decision from Mats Sundin regarding his playing future, other than him saying a decision of any such nature is still likely, not days, but weeks away.

Throughout his tenure in Toronto, Sundin has maintained a remarkably private life for someone who is the captain of arguably the most reported-on hockey franchise in the world. On the ice, he is not a very difficult player to understand. Simply put: he's one of the best to have ever played the game.

Off the ice though, Sundin is much more difficult to figure out. Not to suggest his conduct is questionable, Sundin has been a model citizen during his career as both a tremendous leader of the Maple Leafs on the ice, and away from hockey through his various philanthropic efforts to give back to the community that has embraced him.

The question that many have struggled to find an answer to is: what is it that drives Mats Sundin?

Following the events of the past week, it’s quite clear that money is not as high on his list of motivating factors as some may have thought it was.

With at least four serious offers on the table, including a staggering two-year deal worth $20 million from the Vancouver Canucks—one that would make him the highest-paid player in the game—it has not influenced Sundin’s decision regarding next season in the least.

It seems now that the only thing standing between Sundin and another NHL season is whether or not he wants to put his body through the rigors of 100+ games.

If the answer is no, then it doesn’t seem like any amount of money could change his mind. If the answer is yes, he will return because a passion for hockey still burns inside him. If it was all about the money, Sundin would be the newest member of the Vancouver Canucks.

But hey, all that was just rigmarole.