Later this week, I’ll file a mini-column on the fallout from Mats Sundin’s refusal to do the smart thing and waive his no-trade clause.
For now, let’s leave it at this: if Sundin chooses not to retire from the NHL this summer, it’s fair to assume he’ll only want to return to the Maple Leafs organization he obviously loves so dearly.
Should that turn out to be the case, and I’m the lucky so-and-so who replaces Cliff Fletcher as Toronto’s GM, my first contract offer to the captain comes in no higher than $1.7 million, the same amount Sundin’s dressing room neighbor Alex Steen just signed for.
And if No. 13 rejects it, my next offer will be for even less money.
By doing it this way, the hockey world would see exactly how far Sundin’s loyalty really extends. I’m not trying to imply the man would expose himself as a money-grubber of Yashinian proportions, but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.
And if Mats truly is a Leaf for all seasons and reasons, he’ll put less money where his mouth is and give Toronto some much-needed salary cap breathing room next year.
• As your faithful correspondent has expected for months now, Marian Hossa will be an ex-Thrasher before the sun sets Tuesday. And the way Atlanta meekly laid down during a must-win situation that ended in a 3-1 loss to Toronto Saturday, coach-GM Don Waddell shouldn’t stop the swapping after his star right winger is gone.
Specifically speaking, Waddell employs a gentleman named Bobby Holik who will almost certainly draw interest from playoff-bound teams seeking a big checking center unburdened by contractual obligations beyond this season.
If Montreal GM Bob Gainey has the choice between (a) paying through the schnozz for an unproven playoff performer such as Hossa, or (b) paying far less for a two-time Stanley Cup champion like Holik, his decision should be an easy one.
Adam Proteau is The Hockey News’ online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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