Every year there is a rumor that floats around for the better part of the offseason which spills over into the regular season. Last season the popular rumor centered around the personification of injury problems- Peter Forsberg. This season we are stuck with yet another Swede who may or may not play (even though he probably shouldn't)- Mats Sundin.
The current predominant Sundin rumor is that the Sens are pushing for Sundin, as Daniel Alfredsson is in the shop for a couple of weeks getting a bone chip removed from his knee. The notion is that Heatley and Spezza will have nobody else to play with on their line.
Let's think about this for a minute. Mats Sundin is a center. Daniel Alfredsson is a wing. Alfie plays opposite Dany Heatley in most situations, with Jason Spezza centering them. Every year some Ottawa coach at the time talks about breaking up this line, and it happens...for about 2 games before the line is reunited, which makes for interesting annual arguments in fantasy leagues across North America.
Alfredsson's injury shouldn't mean the Sens go into panic mode and attempt to land Sundin, here's why- even if they wanted to sign the man they don't have anywhere close to the necessary salary cap room.
(I'd also like to add that they would be sporting two centers on their top line (Spezza and Sundin), or else they'd be looking at throwing big money at a 2nd line center who hasn't touched any ice not involved in a gin and tonic for well over 8 months.)
According to NHLSCAP.com the salary cap for the 2008-09 season is $56.7 million. As it stands the Ottawa Senators are at $53,176,555 and after taxes, title and fees have precisely $3,236,004 in cap room.
Just over three mil a year is below market value for even a retired Mats Sundin, and far below the 10 million dollars a season he was offered by Montreal earlier this year and rejected.
The fact of the matter is that even if Sundin wants to come back, all indications point to the fact that he would really only like to do it with Toronto, a team that basically kicked him out the door. (Don't get me started on that abstract and sad situation.)
Some people are predicting Mats goes to Detroit if he returns. Not only would Sundin going to Detroit be akin to blasphemy, but he would be asked to accept just over 47 grand to play, as the Wings are tight to the cap. The last time I checked, this cannot happen as NHLPA rules dictate that professional hockey players in the NHL are not allowed to make teacher money.
So there is no way Detroit, which has somehow managed to convince a slew of talented players to take far below market value to play for the Wings in the quest for the Cup, will get Mats Sundin.
The following are the teams where Sundin could play:
Atlanta (over 10 mil in cap room) -Mats plays for Atlanta the day the sun goes supernova.
Buffalo (over 5 mil in cap room)- Possible but improbable.
Carolina (over 5 mil in cap room)- Brindy and Staal. Um...no.
Colorado (over 4 mil in cap room)- The Avalanche don't need a center with the return of Sakic (and probably Forsberg in December)
Columbus (over 6 mil in cap room)- Columbus has already invested in youth, and Sundin is practically unnecessary on a team where one must hip check to play.
LA (over 12 mil in cap room) The Kings have a LOT of work to do before they should even consider asking Sundin to live on the worlds largest parking lot.
NJ (over 10 mil in cap room)- mmmaybe? But why would the Devils throw most of their cap money at a retired guy when they already have a blossiming Zach Parise?
NYI (over 8 mil in cap room)- *snick*
Phoenix (over 9 mil in cap room)- Not with that youth movement in full effect, and they already signed Jokinen.
Toronto (over 7 mil in cap room)- Please, somebody disband the Leafs, for the sake of the children.
Vancouver- (over 9 mil in cap room)- They tried. He blew them off like the cheer squad ignoring the chess club.
Finally, there is the HUGE assumption that if Mats Sundin were to return he would actually be effective. Keep in mind the last time Mats Sundin potted over 80 points was the 1998-99 season.
Bottom line, even if Sundin wants to come back, does anyone at this point really think any team with the financial wherewithal would take him?