After Larry Brooks' article this past Sunday that stated that Sundin has the desire to play in New York, I figured that I'd interrupt my Prospect Profiles series and sound off on the issue.
This is especially a hot topic on HF Boards where I post regularly. Below is what I wrote, word for word, about the issue—including the positives and negatives of Sundin signing in New York, along with what would need to be done in order to fit Mats under the salary cap.
In addition to this, I offer some insight on what could happen, both this season, and in the near future as a result of Sundin signing. Enjoy!
The way I see it,signing Sundin will greatly affect the team, having both positive and negative impacts.
I'll start out by saying Rozsival will likely be the guy to get dealt in order to free up cap space. Some in this thread have said that move would decimate the Rangers' defense. I respectfully disagree.
Trading Rozsival will free up $5 million in cap space. The return for Rozy would probably be a middle- to low-pairing defenseman and a draft pick.
The way I see it, a team like the Los Angeles Kings would make a great trading partner for the Rangers. Consider this:
To LA: Rozsival ($5 million/year), Pittsburgh's fifth-round draft pick (originally obtained in the Hollweg trade)
To NYR:Tom Preissing ($2.7 million/year for three more seasons) L.A.'s second-round pick in 2009
The Rangers get a servicable middle-pairing guy who can man the second power-play unit—signed to a cap-friendly deal for the near future—and probably the equivalent of a late first-round pick in a very deep draft. If Sundin signs and the deal I outlined goes through, the team would look like this:
That's a damn good team, if you ask me.
Now, onto the negatives. The defense I just outlined looks very suspect, outside of the first pairing. The bottom four defenseman, however, are all capable of playing middle-pairing minutes in my mind, so it would be interesting to see how that would turn out.
With the departure of Rozsival, the Rangers' defenseman with the most experience playing the Rangers system would be Paul Mara—albeit NHL experience outside of Girardi and Staal will not be a problem.
By trading Rozsival, New York would mortgage a very solid defensive corps and hope that what they have will work out. As we've seen last season, it took a while for the team to develop some chemistry, and I fear that the defense would encounter some of the same growing pains this season that the offense had last season.
Also, signing Sundin to a contract will greatly hinder the Rangers' ability to make a big move at the trading deadline if necessary. As the poster before me mentioned, injuries happen, and finding a placement will not be too easy unless the Rangers promote some players from Hartford.
In conclusion, I would be very happy if Sundin signed here—but for no more than a year. I absolutely love what he brings to the table, and having a guy like Naslund on his wing can potentially get him back up to the 90-point echelon again.
I really believe in my heart that a team with Sundin this season can bring the Cup back to the Garden. If he is signed to a one-year deal, Sundin's salary comes off the books, and by the '09 season, Sanguinetti will be ready for the big club, in addition to Sauer and maybe even Del Zotto on defense.
On offense, re-signing Zherdev would be key—if he performs well. Once that happens, the Red Army era of the New York Rangers can begin, with Anisimov and hopefully Cherepanov ready for the big club.