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It’s over: Sundin signs with the Canucks (Updated)

Posted By Sam Weinman On December 18, 2008 @ 6:59 pm In Uncategorized | 225 Comments

So it turns out Glen Sather won’t have to make any magical moves to clear salary cap space: “Mats Sundin has signed with the Canucks, after all.”:http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=260123&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_nhl

“I am truly excited to be joining the Canucks,” said Sundin in a team statement. “Once I made the decision to return to play a few weeks ago, the Vancouver opportunity was simply the best overall fit. I want to thank Mike Gillis and the entire Canucks organization for their professionalism throughout this entire process.”

Still unclear is whether Sundin grabbed the full, two-year $20 million offer the Canucks first threw at him back in July.

Regardless, at least from a financial standpoint, it was a much better deal than anything the Rangers could offer.

As for those Rangers, they remain intact…for now.

The bad news in this is they miss out on a chance to throw an elite-level center and leader into their mix, perhaps the difference-maker this team needs to become a serious contender.

The good news is they didn’t have to compromise themselves in making any deal happen. And in staying pat—by choice or otherwise—they leave themselves options to make other moves before the trade deadline.

I have to admit, I’m a little surprised, not so much in the decision, but that it happened today. I always got the sense the Swede was truly torn. Maybe he really was, but it must have been apparent he was never going to get the same type of money in New York.

Enjoy that Northwest Division travel….

Update, 7:38 p.m.: According to J.P. Barry, Sundin’s agent, the deal with Vancouver is just for the rest of this season, and not the two-year contract the Canucks had offered back in July. But that very well could have been Sundin’s choice.

Update, 7:56 p.m.: Meanwhile, let the dominos start falling. With Sundin now spoken for, you can count on other teams starting to make some moves, and you can certainly count on a Brendan Shanahan signing not far behind.

I am skeptical of the Rangers’ interest in Shanahan at this point, although strange as it sounds, I wonder if Saturday’s showdown with the Sharks helps clarify things.

It could be a game when the Rangers see they’re not  far off. Or it could be one in which they realize they need to do something dramatic.

And with Dramatic Option A now committed to Vancouver, the Rangers would need to start looking for another one.

Update, 9:13 p.m.: No official comment from the Rangers since the team was off today. I’m sure there was disappointment from those people who had already started penciling in line combinations. But I’m sure there was also a sense that Sundin even considering their comparatively meager offer could be seen as an endorsement of the organization and its direction (or maybe it just had to do with the fact that they have one really good Swedish goaltender).

What to make of today? I suppose the one thing it does is take some pressure off the Rangers. Because if Sundin stepped into the dressing room tomorrow, there’s no question there would be a heap of it (along with the predictable amounts of excitement and euphora).

Now the Rangers remain a pretty good team with a fairly impressive roster. But they’re still a team that doesn’t have Mats Sundin.

That’s it for me. I’m off to play hockey…

More later…


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