Yesterday, at around 8 EST, two reliable sources from CBC sports informed that Mats Sundin has narrowed down his list of teams to two.
Toronto Maple Leafs and Rangers?
Toronto Maple Leafs and Canucks? Nope, in fact, the Leafs didin't even make the "playoffs" for the big Swede!
The two final teams are the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks.
Every team wants to win one, it doesn't matter whether your first or last in the league, you want it, and you'll do whatever you can to get it!
Mats Sundin is no different. Even though he's just one individual, he's been around long enough to crave it with all his heart.
What have the Leafs given him in return for all the effort he's put in every night? well, we've given him lots—support, fame, and money.
However, we haven't given him what he truly desires—a Stanley Cup.
It doesn't matter how many times he writes to Santa Claus, it's something he'll have to earn with a good team. The Leafs aren't a good team yet, and with Mats soon to retire, he'll have to look elsewhere.
The New York Rangers started off pretty well this season, and are now lying second in the Eastern Conference, despite having played the most games in the league. I don't think there's anyone at the moment that questions the Rangers' ability of making the playoffs—they're a good team and it's shown this season.
As if they weren't good enough, imagine adding Mats Sundin to the roster. Now we're talking Stanley Cup contenders.
In Toronto, Mats managed to average a point per game despite not having such a great team. With the Rangers, he'll probably have a chance to show how effective he can be on the ice, and what he can achieve with a great team around him.
The Leafs will have two back-to-back games against the Rangers on February 22 and 25, so that might be something to look forward to.
Along the lines of scheduling, the Leafs will play the Vancouver Canucks on February 21, right before the Leafs play back-to-back games against the Rangers. Looks like Mats will be back in Toronto sooner or later.
It's been said sometime in the summer that Mats Sundin preferred to play for a Canadian team. It seems that the Canadiens and the Canucks would be the only teams interested. With the Habs out of the way, Vancouver's the only Canadian destination (that has a chance at the Cup) for him to go to now.
The Vancouver Canucks have had a pretty descent season so far. They lie third in the the Western Conference, but could get knocked down to seventh with a loss or two. With Mats on their roster, their productivity would increase, just like the Rangers.
The Vancouver Canucks are probably going to make the playoffs with the astounding goaltending from Roberto Luongo. So they've a checked off goals against—with Mats on the ice, they can check off goals for as well.
Let's face it, whether he goes to New York or Vancouver, he'll increase their chances of becoming Stanley Cup winners. I personally hope he signs with Vancouver, just so I can get to see him play one last time when I return to Canada.
The world revolves around money nowadays, doesn't it? Mats Sundin is no different that the average Joe—he likes money.
The Rangers can probably offer Mats a descent wage, but they'll have to clear up some cap space. The Vancouver Canucks, on the other hand, have offered Mats Sundin an impressive 10 million dollars.
Not very much I can say, but if Mats prefers money to the Cup (which I doubt) then he'll go to Vancouver.
Andy's Closing Thoughts
Wouldn't it be great if New York was in Canada and they were offering him the same amount of money as the Canucks? Well it would be, but now Mats has to choose between two teams that have about the same to offer.
I personally hope Mats Sundin chooses the Rangers so that he can experience the joy of winning a Cup—he's worked hard and deserves it more than anyone. The city or the team doesn't matter, the fans in Toronto loved him, and I for one, will always be one of his fans.
If he plays in New York, Vancouver, or Sweden, I'll still follow him throughout everything, and one day tell my kids "You see that guy? He played for us once!"
Of course, I'd be showing them the video through YouTube or whatever's popular at the time, because Mats would obviously be too old at that time.