There's a new Brett Favre on the block, and his name is Mats Sundin.
The only difference is that nobody talks about Sundin.
Time has gone by, and he still remains a controversial issue among hockey fans. While there is much speculation on where Sundin will decide to go, or if he will return at all, the New York Rangers remain among the rumored teams in the running. While many Ranger Fans are rushing to roll out the red carpet for the Sundin, many others, like myself, are praying Sather doesn't.
There isn't one person who thinks Sundin is a bad player. Short term, he might even be pretty good. And if we do wind up signing him, you bet I'll be there cheering for him and eating my words if he scores 40 goals and helps us win a Cup.
But one must look at what New York must do to get Sundin on this roster before declaring that Glen Sather use his magic free-agent powers to bring him in.
One obstacle standing in the way is that little thing called the salary cap. According to Nhlnumbers.com, the Rangers' payroll is currently sitting at $54.697 million, leaving them just barely over $2 million in cap room. Even if Sundin would agree to that deal, the NHL wouldn't.
So New York might have to lose a few players. Some players named in the rumors (and by Ranger fans) are Petr Prucha, Blair Betts, and Ryan Callahan, among others. People might say something like "Sundin is way better then all of those guys, why wouldn't you do that?"
While yes, Sundin is a better player then those three, one must look at the bigger picture. Would you throw away two good young players with loads of potential and ability and one of the best defensive fowards in the game for one year of Mats Sundin?
Everyone seems to want Prucha run out of town. I remember not so long ago, he was going to become an elite player in the league. One bad season and we cast him aside?
It is very possible to rebound. Remember when we signed Fluery? He had 15 goals in his first year—but in his second, he was among the leading scorers in the NHL for most of the season.
While that team did nothing that year, it still shows that one good season doesn't completely kill a player. If he has another bad year, we can easily just let him go. If we trade him, he might just as easily burn us in the future when he goes back to his old self and Sundin retires after one year.
For years, Ranger fans complained every time we traded our youth to get veterans. Everyone complained when we had a team of washed0up players that wasn't getting any younger. Now, we have young talent, and everyone wants to get rid of it to get—can it be?—MORE OLD PLAYERS ON THE DECLINE!
It's one or the other, people. Myself, I'm sticking with the stay-younger route—the better long term decision.
People talk like this is a must-win year for us. Cup teams take loads of time to build, especially starting with the one-line post-lockout team we had that was predicted to finish last.
This is going to be the fourth post-lockout season. If we can win the Cup this year, it would be great, and I am cheering them on all the way. But it is unfair to say that this is the year that they have to win it.
There is no need to stock-up for a cup run that we are already capable of making by giving up our young talent.
One last point. Say we trade Prucha and Callahan for picks, sign Sundin, and we are still under the cap. What is our lineup going to be? I'm not selling our future for one year of this guy to play on the third line, and Gomez and Drury are our top two centers.
What happens to Dubinsky? He's fine at center—why move him to the wing?
I doubt Sundin will sign here if it means he has to change positions. So where does he fit in?
If you have read my earlier post, you would see my possible lines, and see how each line has its own style. Putting Sundin in at center and taking out two important wingers leaves some holes.
It's not worth giving away our future for one season. It's something none of us wanted before we had young talent, so why do it now? Sundin, to anywhere but the Rangers.