Friday, November 28th, 2014

About Mats

19

Dear Tom,

You haven’t been posting much lately. If its because there isn’t much to write about, I’d like to know what you think about the Mats Sundin saga.

BL

I haven’t paid much attention because I don’t think there is much chance he will end up in Vancouver. If money was his motivator and he was interested in the Mike Gillis offer, Sundin would have signed right away. Even though I think he is still an excellent player, its probably best for the Canucks if he does pass.

I don’t have any problem with Mats taking all the time he wants to make up his mind, but the delays only really make sense if his instincts are telling him to retire. After a long disappointing – in more ways than one – season, he didn’t want to play any more. He kept that to himself because he didn’t want to be hockey’s Brett Favre and he knew he might feel differently as the season approached. He’s been through it before. That’s my guess, of course, but I can’t see that there is any reasonable alternative. The longer he takes to make up his mind, the more likely it is that he will retire.

In any case, if the juices get going when he finally starts to skate, I can’t see him deciding to play in Vancouver. Why would he take on the extra travel? Why would he leave the higher scoring conference, the conference where he would deliver up the best performance? He would go for an extra $3 million when he doesn’t need the money and he is apparently considering walking away from $7 million entirely? I don’t think so.

If he really isn’t enthusiastic about playing and he really isn’t enthusiastic about Vancouver, but he still decides to play on the left coast because the money is fantastic… Would that be a good thing for the Canucks? Again, I don’t think so.

The Gillis plan wasn’t necessarily a bad one – but I do think it was a little unrealistic. Sundin to Vancouver was, and remains, a longshot.

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Comments

19 Responses to “About Mats”
  1. Magicpie says:

    I agree the money probably doesn’t matter to him. The money doesn’t seem to matter to 90% of the players older than 35 playing in the league right now. Everybody just wants to play for a winner. Maybe that’s good for the winners, but right now it’s bad for Vancouver.

  2. rajeev says:

    why did gillis not try and sign jagr? all he wanted was a two-year deal and i think 6M per would have done it. a whole lot cheaper than sundin, jagr, though not dominant, is still a heck of a player. as a pure half-court player who likes to control the puck down low and take his time, he would be a good fit w the sedins. he was particularly great towards the end of the season and in the playoffs. despite the travel, i think he would have welcomed the idea of playing in non-edmonton canada. i’d rather have jagr and an estra 4M to spend than sundin at this point. gillis apparenlty offered 12M, 3-years for ryder, but no effort to sign jagr. bizarre.

  3. Dennis_Prouse says:

    Was Jagr open to the possibility of staying in the NHL? I certainly got the sense that he was anxious to get out and play overseas. IIRC, he signed over there barely two days into free agency.

  4. rajeev says:

    no no, jagr’s first priority was stay in nyc, and very much so. sather never indicated he wanted him back and never made a serious offer. jagr’s next choice was to remain in the nhl but wanted a 2-year deal. his father is opening a new rink for the kladno team for two 2010 season, and jaromir wants to play for that team then. he wanted a 2-yr deal to take him into that season, claiming that he didn’t want to go through another year of worrying about his contract and the free agency process (something he’d never been through this year). i guess he weighed a generous one-year deal from edmonton and and less generous one-year deal from pitt, and ended up going with the stability of the 2 year (player option for the third) deal from omsk. no, if he wanted to bolt for russia, he could have signed with them long, long ago (before july 1 in fact). he only signed with omsk AFTER the rangers signed naslund (and kalinin and redden), which ended jagr’s career there. his heart was very much set on staying in nyc, and this was obvious to anyone who followed his career there, but sather went in another direction. jagr has certainly indicated that he respects that decision. but he’s also been on record consistently in stating that he wanted to remain in the nhl for two more years. why the canucks particularly wouldnt have also wanted that, i have no clue.

  5. Roberto says:

    …e’s also been on record consistently in stating that he wanted to remain in the nhl for two more years. why the canucks particularly wouldnt have also wanted that, i have no clue.

    Because he is a right winger, and not a centre. Gillis has identified the Canucks’ most pressing need as being at centre, and rightly or wrongly seems to prefer spending the bulk of his money there.

  6. Tom says:

    I don’t know why Gillis decided to pass on Jagr. Probably because he is a more difficult sell than Sundin.

  7. Dennis_Prouse says:

    Regardless, it is pretty clear Sundin is not coming to Vancouver. As others have pointed out, he would have signed the Vancouver offer long ago if it really appealed to him. If he plays in the NHL, a big if, it will likely be back with the Leafs. It sure sounds like he is heading to retirement, though. Sundin has half a dozen NHL teams clamouring for his services, and can’t commit to any of them. That sounds like a guy who has pretty much decided to hang them up.

  8. rajeev says:

    Probably because he is a more difficult sell than Sundin.

    sell to the player, or sell to the fans. certainly not the former, as a 2 year deal even close to what they offered sundin would have been good enough to get jagr. he knew he was going to have to take a pay cut from the 8 and change he made last year. oh well, what’s done is done, but considering sundin is not going to van at this point, and likely not going anywhere, it’s just hard to justify the abundance in cap space and shortage in skill van is going to have.

  9. Dennis_Prouse says:

    Having some available cap space, though, could come in handy come January. Teams who start falling out of the playoff race will be looking to start shedding salary and/or getting something in return for looming UFAs. If your team is snug up against the cap, you have little flexibility to make those deals. Hopefully the Canucks can stay in the hunt until then via great goaltending and team defence, then look to add some scoring in time for the stretch drive. (My glass is half full this morning!)

  10. Gerald says:

    Hopefully the Canucks can stay in the hunt until then via great goaltending and team defence, then look to add some scoring in time for the stretch drive. (My glass is half full this morning!)

    Half full of scotch, evidently.

    j/k

  11. rajeev says:

    If your team is snug up against the cap, you have little flexibility to make those deals.

    fair enough and i agree. but they’re not going to be able to land a player as good as jagr, and certainly not at his cost (no organizational assets but for cap space). not sure what theyre going to be able to do with the cap space mid year though. the cupboard is pretty bare as it is, and to the extent any other team wants a player/prospect, it’s likely to be someone that’s already on the roster (aka, cant imagine someone really wanting grabner at this point). no, but i agree that the canucks are not necessarily in bad shape as it stands. of all the talk of the 08-09 oilers being the next 83-84 oilers, i think we’ll probably see bigger steps taken by mason raymond and alex edler than sam gagner and andrew cogliano. though i’ve always enjoyed a bit of the glenmorangie in the morning as well.

  12. Dennis_Prouse says:

    Half full of scotch, evidently.

    j/k

    Touche. :-) Hey, give me my August optimism, will ya? It will be gone before Halloween in any event.

  13. Tom says:

    Having some available cap space, though, could come in handy come January. Teams who start falling out of the playoff race will be looking to start shedding salary and/or getting something in return for looming UFAs. If your team is snug up against the cap, you have little flexibility to make those deals. Hopefully the Canucks can stay in the hunt until then via great goaltending and team defence, then look to add some scoring in time for the stretch drive. (My glass is half full this morning!)

    Cap space is hardly ever a problem at the trade deadline for anybody interested in making a deal. I don’t see the big advantage. The Canucks may be in a position to take on any amount of salary but I don’t think they are in a position to give up the assets these kinds of deals cost.

    Gillis promised he would take risks and I think the Sundin pitch is probably an example. As long as the cost of his gambles is limited to what this will turn out to be, who can complain? If we go through the raft of wannabes looking for a surprise, I’m okay with it.

    The cap won’t go up much next year and the space might turn out to be very valuable next season. If Sundin passes, Gillis will probably put the money in Aquilini’s pocket and save the space for Gaborik.

  14. Doogie2K says:

    of all the talk of the 08-09 oilers being the next 83-84 oilers, i think we’ll probably see bigger steps taken by mason raymond and alex edler than sam gagner and andrew cogliano. though i’ve always enjoyed a bit of the glenmorangie in the morning as well.

    I haven’t heard any of this talk, and I’ve been reading Oilers blogs and Edmonton media all summer. And if Raymond and Edler do make more progress than Gagner and Cogliano, it’s probably mostly because of the relative strides those players made last year — Gagner in particular had a significantly better second half, and I would expect that to keep going.

  15. rajeev says:

    i was exaggerating to be sure (glenmoranigie, remember), but is it fair to say expectations are very high for the oilers this year? i think expectations are very low for the canucks right now. some of that is based on the fact alot of things went right for the oilers last year (mostly a preposterous shootout and ot record) and many things went horribly wrong for vancouver (injuries). i think these inverse versions of “shit happens” seasons for the two teams have led to unfair expectations at both ends of the spectrum. what’s most likely is regression to the mean. that’s what was at the heart of my comment.

    i will add, though, that gagner seemed to have everything break in his way (soft parade, insane shootout results gave him more and more confidence, was playing without the pressure of a playoff push for most of his hot stretch), and we are seeing a player who shouldnt have been on the game 11 roster now being touted as a legitimate 2nd line scoring anchor on a playoff team. im not sure that’s going to happen for him just yet, especially when he starts facing the pahlssons and mikko koivu’s more and more. that said, gagner’s a beauty and will likely be a great, great player. raymond should get the minutes gagner was getting last year, and from the little i’ve seen of him, he should score some goals. as up as the oil fans are re their team (sans maybe dellow), and as down as the canucks fans are on their team (sans maybe dp), i think the two teams are probably close to each other at this point (though admittedly most of that is because of luongo).

  16. kinger says:

    some of that is based on the fact alot of things went right for the oilers last year (mostly a preposterous shootout and ot record) and many things went horribly wrong for vancouver (injuries)

    http://mirtle.blogspot.com/2008/03/official-man-games-lost-to-injury.html

    Damn injuries.

  17. kinger says:

    Numbers at seasons end:

    Vancouver Canucks Injuries, Transactions

    Total Man-Games Lost: 259

    Edmonton Oilers Injuries, Transactions
    Total Man-Games Lost: 340

    INJURY UPDATE
    A total of 16 players have missed 340 games due to injury or illness in 2007-08.
    The 340 man games lost sets a new team record for most man games lost due to injury or illness in a season. The previous high was 286 games set in 2006-07.

    http://oilers.nhl.com/preview/gamenotes1208.htm

    Canucks sure had it rough. Smooth sailing for those Oilers though, smooth sailing.

  18. Dennis_Prouse says:

    I think the all time hard luck team on the injury front had to be the LA Kings a few years back. They were just decimated on the injury front, and yet Andy Murray kept pulling a McGyver, using duct tape, bailing wire and some chewing gum to put a decent team together. I don’t think he ever got the credit he deserved for the job he did.

    Those stats on man-games lost can be somewhat misleading, of course. Losing a top six forward or a top two defenceman is of course far more damaging than losing a fourth line grinder or sixth defenceman. The stats, though, record both of those losses in the same manner.

  19. rajeev says:

    Canucks sure had it rough. Smooth sailing for those Oilers though, smooth sailing.

    the oilers lost a ton of games to injury, no doubt. alot of these were known well before the season started so they acted to taper expectations going in (moreau, pisani). it’s one thing to know before training camp that these players will not be on your team for a while, another thing for them to go down mid-season. it’s alot easier to ask cogliano to do pisani’s job than it is to ask luc bourdon to mattias ohlund’s. the other players that racked up the games lost were, i would argue, of a lesser quality. souray is not a particularly good hockey player despite his shot and his contract. id much rather have gilbert and grebeshkov eating up his minutes. torres is a mean s.o.b. but i dont think it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t playing particularly well when he went down and wasnt a significant part of the team. horcoff is obv great, but how close were the oilers to the playoffs when they lost him? iirc their record improved after he was gone. i wonder if that had anything to do with other teams taking them lightly? pitkanen was probably a big loss when he was out.

    do you really think all of that is more significant than van’s injuries. they lost basically all of their top 6 (on a team built on the back end) for major portions of time. ohlund, bieska, mitchell, salo, krajicek, miller. throw in morrison who is one of the four forwards on that team that can do anything on the pp and i dont think it’s particularly difficult to argue that van was hurt by injuries more than edm, despite your context-free bean counting.

    i noticed you didn’t touch the main part of my point which is that the oilers were helped by astronomical (and as tyler has shown in various iterations and places) probably not repeatable shootout results.

    I think the all time hard luck team on the injury front had to be the LA Kings a few years back.

    agreed. that was certifiably insane and nothing i have seen in the nhl comes close.

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