Mats Sundin Saga: All Signs Point to Broadway

Dino MoriAnalyst IDecember 16, 2008

It appears unlikely that Mats Sundin will be heading west to Vancouver to resume his fading NHL career.

Last night, TSN and ESPN reported the former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs had narrowed his selection to either the Canucks or the New York Rangers.

Recent developments in the Canucks camp, though, namely the setback to goalie Roberto Luongo, should squelch any plans of Sundin landing in beautiful British Columbia.

Sundin and his agent, however, were to meet with Vancouver GM Mike Gillis today. I suspect it is just for posturing, though.

Sundin is going to be a Ranger.

He wants to play for a Stanley Cup contender. 

Why else would he want to come back?  He suffered through 12 agonizing seasons with the Maple Leafs, playing with the likes of Jonas Hoglund, Alexander Steen, and Mariusz Czerkawski.

When all-world goalie Luongo went down with a groin strain a during an afternoon game in Pittsburgh several weeks ago, we were told he would be out 3-4 weeks. But, a couple of days ago Luongo was forced to shut it down again following a Canucks practice. If the Canucks don't have Luongo between the pipes, why would Sundin want to come and play?

I'm quite sure at the ripe old age of 37, Sundin isn't enamored with the gruelling travel schedule many western teams, like the Canucks face over the course of an 82-game schedule. While it would be only 50 games with Vancouver, the trips across country are liable to take their toll on the Big Swede.

If Mats were a Ranger, the longest trip to any eastern destination is likely to be an hour, maybe two.

Sundin met with Rangers GM Glen Sather and coach Tom Renney last Saturday. A Hockey Night in Canada camera showed Mats enjoying a drink in a private box, while the Rangers played host to the Carolina Hurricanes.

He looked relaxed, fit, and ready to be take Manhattan for a ride.

Sather no doubt believes that by adding Mats, along with fellow Swedes—goalie Henrik Lundqvist and former Canucks center Markus Naslund—give his Rangers a legitimate shot at this year's Stanley Cup. 

It is expected that the all-time Maple Leafs leader in points will make his decision on by Friday.

My guess is it'll be with New York.