Mats Sundin Signing: Should There Be a Deadline For Making a Return?

Ryan DohertyContributor IDecember 18, 2008

People have asked whether or not it is okay for players to sign with a team well into the season.

The quick answer from me is yes.

I'll admit that I hate it when guys mull over retirement well after the offseason, but in the end it is their decision on whether or not they want to play—not mine.

Mats Sundin is a prime example of all of this, as Sundin has been dragging his feet on a possible return to the NHL. Since July the talk has been, where will Sundin land, if anywhere?

Well, we finally have an answer—the Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks never took their offer off the table for Sundin—two years and $20 million.

Is it okay to wait this long to sign with a team? The answer is yes. It is nobody's business to tell someone how long they have to make up their decision. What is the difference between signing a guy midseason or bringing up a player from the AHL?

The fact of the matter is that it is every general manager's responsibility to put the best team out there on the ice possible.

Did Canucks GM, Mike Gillis make the Canucks a better team on December 18 than they were on December 17? The answer is undoubtedly yes.

If someone wants to play, they should be able to, no matter the decision date. As long as they can still lace them up and contribute to a hockey club, then put them out there.

People say the league is watered down enough when it comes to talent thanks to expansion. So why not let a guy come back who is one of the game's elite?

Sundin finished with 32 goals last season in 74 games. Vancouver currently has 50 games left this season.

Let's say Sundin plays in 45 games this season for the Canucks.  Do you seriously think this guy won't pot double-digit goal amounts? Anyone coming up from the AHL going to do that for you in half a season?

The name of the game in the NHL since the lockout has been bringing fans back to the game. Do you think not letting a player like Mats Sundin back into the league is a good business decision?

The survey says no, and let's face it, people—as long as we're living in a free world, you can expect at least one of these drama-filled decisions annually.

Is it a headache and a nuisance? Absolutely, but take some aspirin and get used to it.