Okay, so Sundin says he’s now weeks away from even deciding whether he even wants to play next season or retire. If he decides to play, then he won’t have the same options he has now. All these teams aren’t going to wait to see if he might retire, and then get into a bidding war if he decides not to.
He’ll either end up playing with a cup contender team for a discount, or making a lot of money with a team with a lot of cap room, like Atlanta. Teams like the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Rangers have already moved on and signed other players.
So with that being said, I’m tired of Mats Sundin. Screw him. I wanted him in Montreal, but we can’t wait around. There’s still plenty of other options out there.
So that being said, here are my top five options on who Montreal should sign.
Just missing the cut:
Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka, Georges Laraque: Shanahan is getting old, and would bring experience, but he doesn’t fit into the speed system. Straka may fit in easier, but I’m not sold on him. I like Laraque, and think he’s a great fourth liner, but he’s not the last impact player Montreal needs (the Canadiens should still sign him though).
5) Sergei Fedorov: He brings experience, speed, defensive prowess. Another Russian in the locker room for the young players to look up to. He can still play, as evidenced by what he did in Washington when he was traded (13 points in 18 games, and five points in seven playoff games). His age might be a factor, but he could probably be signed for cheap.
4) Jaromir Jagr: With all the signings the Rangers have done, I don’t know if they can afford him anymore. Jagr is still a great player. I’d be worried about his reputation of having “off-games”, since we have a player like that with Alexei Kovalev. This year, Jagr had 71 points, and that was considered an off-year for him. Is he on his way down in his career, or does he have another couple of good years left? I think he’d be worth the risk.
3) Teemu Selanne: He may be retiring. No one seems to know. Will he want to go back to Anaheim? Will he want to play his friend, Saku Koivu, in Montreal? He definitely fits into the Habs’ system with his speed. If he played a full season, he could probably still score 40 goals (and would probably be the best bet on this list to score 50, the first Montreal player to do so since Stephane Richer). He revived his career in Anaheim the last three seasons. Would he be willing to take a chance on leaving the team to start over again elsewhere? On the bright side, he could probably come cheap, and also would be a good leader for the young players.
2) Peter Forsberg: He’s pretty high on my list. Much higher than a lot of people would have him. Yes, he gets injured a lot, but he plays through a lot of pain (take a look at this year’s playoffs: he played in pain as long as he could, longer than a lot of other players would have). He has performed in the regular season, in the playoffs. He’s a Hart trophy winner. He’s strong defensively, and is mentally tough. He never gives up. He also wouldn’t be counted on to lead the team, which means he wouldn’t be the sole focus of the other teams. That could lead to him not being injured as much. The only downside is that he would want a huge contract, but I think it would be worth the risk.
1) Joe Sakic: Okay, so it may seem hypocritical that my number one pick is in the same situation as Sundin. He hasn’t decided on his future and haven’t given the Colorado Avalanche a decision. He would probably want to sign back with the Avalanche, but I think he would look good in a Habs uniform. Sakic played part of his career in Quebec, so he knows what it’s like to play in the province. He’s a Conn Smythe and Hart trophy winner. He’s one of the all-time greatest players, and is known as Mr. Clutch. He has more playoff overtime goals than any other player in NHL history. He’s a point-per-game player in the regular season and playoffs. He’s a leader, and would be a great #1 player in Montreal. Bob Gainey should be doing everything he can to sign Sakic. No more trips to Sweden to talk to Sundin. Let’s get Sakic.