Weeks prior to this years NHL trade deadline, I was very excited, because I was almost certain Mats Sundin would waive his no trade clause, be off to a Cup contending team, and leave the Leafs with some draft picks, and maybe even a young prospect.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like Sundin as much as the next guy, but he has such high trade value, he would have easily got Toronto some great additions to the team that would help with their rebuilding process.
But alas, Sundin did not waive that no trade clause, because he wanted to stay in Toronto to help with the rebuilding process, which is just fine with me. That is, if he even decides to stay. I would be angry - very angry - if Sundin doesn't return to Toronto next year, whether it is due to retirement, or if he goes to another team.
Now some of you may be wondering why I would be mad. Well, it's simple. Sundin could have easily been traded if he had waived that no trade clause, left Toronto, and given us some hope in future years. Maybe he would help the team he was traded to all the way to the Cup, or just give that team a reasonable run in the playoffs.
After that, I wouldn't care if Sundin retired or signed with a new team, because at least Toronto got something out of it. So once I heard Sundin wasn't going to waive his no trade clause I thought, "Oh well, he'll still be a great asset to the team, and help with the rebuilding process, because he clearly wants to stay and help with such things! It's guaranteed he won't consider retirement/going to another team!"
Well, I exaggerated that a bit, but you get what I was thinking.
But no, Sundin likely won't be returning to Toronto (or the NHL), leaving the Leafs with nothing (compared to what they would have got if he was traded, or even stayed).
Sundin is the heart of Toronto, and has been carrying the team for years, so I'm surprised he would do this to the team. Obviously it wasn't intentional, but it still leaves a big hole in the Leafs' roster if he's gone. So my message to Sundin is this: please re-sign with the Leafs, you're needed.
And just think how bad it will sound when all my friends and I are discussing our favourite teams and the best players on said teams, and I'm sitting there talking about Antropov.