Mid-December is quickly approaching—and if you believe J.P. Barry, Mats Sundin’s agent, a decision by the big Swede is imminent.
One of the teams interested in Sundin’s services is the Vancouver Canucks. We all recall the rumoured offer of $20 million for two years in the summer that Mats turned down.
At the time, I took it as a planned leak by Mike Gillis to show the fans of the Canucks that he was there to make them an immediate contender, and nothing more. However that rumour has not gone away, and has yet to be denied by either party.
Currently the Vancouver Canucks sit with just over $8 million in available cap space (according to hockeybuzz.com). They certainly have the room to make Mats an even wealthier pro athlete. However, the millions that would be thrown at Mats Sundin is the not the only cost the Canucks would incur. This signing if it happened would be quite near-sighted of GM Gillis.
Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin turned 28 years of age on September 26, give or take a minute, which makes both players unrestricted free agents come July 1. With both players hitting the prime of their careers, should Gillis really be wasting his time and money on a 38-year old that could be using upwards of $10 million in cap space over the next two seasons?
Mike Gillis should be maximizing all his energy and money on locking up the Twins for the next number of years. If there is any risk at all of losing the Sedins with the signing of Sundin, then Mats wearing a Canucks jersey should simply be scratched off the priority list for Vancouver management.
The Canucks organization and fans should not kid themselves. They are not yet a Cup contender—especially not in the Western Conference, with teams like San Jose and Detroit standing in the way of a trip to the Cup final.
Mike Gillis’ list of priorities should look somewhat like this:
1. Lock up the Twins long-term.
2. Acquire a true and proven goal-scoring right winger to play with the Twins. The Canucks can’t be a true contender until they finally have a true number-one line.
If the rumours are true that the FloridaPanthers are shopping Nathan Horton and his $4 million contract. Gillis would be wise to get on the phone with Jacques Martin before he comes to his senses.
3. Acquire a true second-line centre to complement Pavol Demitra
In the end, Canucks fans may be saved from a foolish move by Gillis strictly by the decision Mats Sundin will make. If Mats elects to join the New York Rangers, it will be the best move the Canucks never made.