Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It's been a tough stretch of weeks for Mats Sundin. He avoided hip surgery, and rumors he was going to retire. But now, that is all put behind him, as today hen signed a $5.5 million, one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 36-year-old Swede, Toronto's captain, had 76 points (27 goals, 49 assists) in 75 games with the Leafs last season while earning $7.6 million. Sundin's salary cap figure last season was $6.3 million, so Toronto receives a significant savings with this deal. It also gives the Leafs more flexibility beyond 2008 in case Sundin retires after the coming season.
"We are extremely proud to have Mats continue as captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs," Ferguson said in a statement. "Not only has he been one of the greatest players in our franchise history, but his exemplary leadership on and off the ice has been all that any organization could want from a team captain.
"We will again rely on Mats' playing ability on the ice and on all of the contributions he makes to the development of our young players."
Sundin also talked about his new contract with the Leafs.
"I've never felt there was a bigger chance to win a Stanley Cup with a different organization," he said. "Especially with the last few years where we've seen a new organization winning every year. All the organizations are pretty evenly matched with the salary cap. ..
"I do want to finish my career as a Toronto Maple Leaf. I don't have any urgency to go anywhere else."
Sundin also said he was not concerned about his health.
"I had some issues in the middle of last season with my hip, it was a little sore. I think it's because I got hit once. After that, I worked out with Matt Nichol and the medical staff," Sundin said. "For the last two months of the season I really didn't have any problems at all. It didn't bother me. There's nothing that bothers me now."
Now the Leafs have the center of their franchise locked up for this season. Now the challenge is to get players who can play and put them around Sundin.