Is Mats Sundin Required for the Montreal Candadiens' Success?
Mats Sundin is the so-called prize catch the Montreal Canadiens are looking for to get them to the next step. Personally, I believe Mats is not even needed in Montreal because the Habs are loaded with talent.
So far in the offseason, the Habs have lost the likes of Streit and Ryder. Both were important to the Canadiens, but not vital.
Streit was a big part of the special teams in 2007-08. He recorded career highs in assists and points but is off to the New York Islanders.
Ryder was and still is an amazing scorer, but got in the bad books with Guy Carbonneau after having a fluke season and is now off to Boston.
With these two full-time Habs gone, it leaves two more spots to be taken. But with the newly acquired Tanguay, it looks like Ryder has already been replaced.
The Habs only have room for a two-way forward or a defenseman who can hold his own. Sundin doesn't look like a bad choice now. He's a modest 6'5" and 231 lbs of dominating force. Sundin hasn't had a season under 72 points since his first season with the Nordiques (59) back in 1990-91 (his first season).
He hasn't had too many over 72 either.
To look at Sundin, one would have to look beyond the stats. What does he bring to the Canadiens? He has never won the cup and has only amassed 17 games in a playoff run with the leafs back in 98-99.
If one were to look at how he plays on ice now compared to 10—even five—years ago, one would see that his presence is not as large as it used to be. He has become more modest with age and he ain't getting younger.
If Sundin were to sign with Montreal, where would he be put? What would be the best fit for Sundin in the lineup?
Well, without Sundin I made a mock lineup of 2008-09 Habs. Left to Right are the LW C RW positions.
1st- Tanqauy, Koivu, Higgins
2nd- Plackanec, Kovalev, Lantresse
3rd- Andrei Kostitsyn, Sergie Kostitsyn, Kostopolus
4th- Begin, Lapierre, Laraque
Now I will give you my reasons for these lines
First Line- With Tanquay already a top linesmen in Calgary and a proven scorer, Carbonneau may want to use that to his advantage. Koivu, who is an awesome playmaker, will easily get Tanquay to 80 even more points. As for Higgins, he has worked well with Koivu over the past few seasons and they seem to do a lot of damage together.
Second Line- Both Kovalev and Plackanec had AMAZING seasons last year. They scored 82 and 69 points respectively. There are huge gaps from last season. They also played some parts of last season together and showed great hope as a second offensive power, if not the first go-to guys for scoring in Montreal. Latandresse will give Kovy and Plack even more play making power by setting up the one timers etc.
Third Line- The Kostitsyn brothers are one of the best brother pairs I have seen. They have not matched the Sedin twins yet, but they did showcase their offensive power in 2007-08 and show much promise. Each brother brings their own type of game to the rink and comes together for a magnificent show of hockey premise. With Kostopolus as the right wing, he can charge forward and prevent any oncoming defenders wishing to stop the brothers. Kostopolus's veteran presence and hockey sence he can also create plays and show the boys how to be safe and score at the same time.
Fourth Line- I must admit, I was a bit hasty when making the roster for the fourth line. This line can consist of any of the AHL affiliates or some others I have not mentioned such as Chipchura, D'Agostini, Gregory Stewart, Ferland or Locke. But Begin and Laraque have the experience to back them up. Lapiere should start things off slow in the fourth line. But with stiff competition, Lapierre needs to get past his modest 18 point season.
When you look at it, the lines are pretty even. First is play-making for the scorer. The second is strictly scoring. The third will be a play-making pair with dominating right wing, while the fourth will be brains of the game.
Sundin would probably go on the first or second line, considering his $8-10 million salary. This means a highly skilled forward would have to go back a line. If he were to go on the first line, either Tanquay or Higgins would go back a line.
Higgins would probably drop to the second line because he can work with Kovalev , Plac and Lat as well.
If Sundin ends up on the second line, Latandresse would leave because he is not as dominating at Sundin. If Sundin were to ask for a centre position, either Kovelev would be a winger or third string and Sundin would be a second stringer because Koivu is a much better centre than Sundin.
At the cost of Sundin, the Habs are not in need of a $10 million second stringer and should not waste their cap room on him. Let him return to the Leafs or go to a place that can really use him—like Washington, where they strive to have a dominating centre-man. Maybe St. Louis should take a look, but don't hope for Sundin in Blues uniform because he wants to go to a Stanley Cup contender.
If Detroit signs him I'll FREAK, they have TOO MANY good players.
WHY HOSSA? WHY?
Thanks for reading my first ever entry, and happy Hockey.
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