December 18, 2008
Stuck in traffic headed to the Capitals game, and whaddya know: Mats Sundin is a Vancouver Canuck. One-year deal, pro-rated $10 million salary; the Vancouver Sun reports that the salary will "likely earn in the neighbourhood of $5.5 million once he joins the team after the holiday roster freeze expires on Dec. 27."
Who had 6:56 p.m. on Dec. 18 in the pool? Obviously, Vancouver’s lead of four Swedes to the Rangers’ three made the difference.
"We are very excited to have Mats join the Vancouver Canucks," Gillis said. "Playing previously in two Canadian markets and consistently being among team and League leaders in scoring, Mats has proven that he can excel under pressure. He adds a wealth of experience, leadership and skill to the Canucks."
Gillis is a big winner here, having doggedly pursued Sundin like a jilted lover for the better part of the year. He doesn't get him for two years; but depending on how Year 1 goes, maybe that's not a bad thing. And his rivals in the Western Conference clearly have taken notice of this move.
Do the New York Rangers lose by losing the Sundin Derby? As we said the other day, Sundin could have helped in a number of areas. But now the Rangers don't have to blow up their salary structure for an offensive players at a position that's pretty much filled; meaning they can do the same later in the season for a position they need, like on the blue line. (Hey, what rhymes with "flowmeester?")
We'll have more on this on Friday. In the meantime, congrats to the Canucks fans who are no doubt sounding much like Waiting for Stanley does this evening:
I really love our depth at center right now. Hank - Sundin - Kesler - Johnson. Wow.
Does this deal make us contenders? Absolutely. Mats is going to have to stay healthy though. Last thing we need is him getting injured 2 weeks after he signs. Then again... we were already 18-11-3 without him. Good god. Somebody pinch me. I'm dreaming. Wait ma....I'll take Mats Sundin socks and a new Sundin Canucks jersey! Wooo!