Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Lucky Number 13?
Thirteen is an infamous unlucky number and just five New York Rangers have donned the number in franchise history.
Jack Stoddard was the first. Stoddard played 80 games for the Rangers in the early '50s and I know nothing about him other than his numbers. Thirty years later Bob Brooke wore it as a big third-line center (if my memory holds). The next decade saw the most famous 13 (so far) in Sergei Nemchinov, who won the Cup. Sergei was one of the best checkers in the league for a short period of time and also will go down as one of the Rangers best draft picks - 12th round, 244th overall in the 1990 draft. Trading him at the 1997 deadline was one of the many errors that the Blueshirts made while disassembling a great team. Another of the mistakes of the post-Cup era, Valeri Kamensky, also wore #13. It's a shame he could never recreate the magic he had with the Aves. And the fifth and final Ranger (so far) to wear 13 was tough guy Richard Scott, who was called up a few times before the lockout but never amounted to anything.
Will Mats Sundin be the sixth??
While Sam over at Rangers Report doesn't see signing Sundin as a good move, I do. I mentioned it in a post a month ago and see no reason to change my mind. Sam, among others, have held Sundin's age against him and that is just a mistake. The Swede was as good as he ever was last season and brings an air of dignity and class to the team that will be necessary should Sather not re-sign Shanny. Sundin provides the big body in the middle that the Rangers needed so badly and, if the Blueshirts can fit him in while re-signing Jagr, can you imagine the two on the power play together? He also would provide support to Henrik, which could help him finally avoid that dreadful mid-season slump that has cost him the Vezina the last two years. (Yes he was a finalist the last three but I don't think he really had a chance to beat Kipper in '06.)
Handing Sundin a one year contract works because the unrestricted free agent class of next summer features some fantastic younger players including Marian Gaborik, Vinny Lecavalier (although rumour has it he is signing an extension on July 1st) and the Sedin twins and the restricted free agents are even better: Evgeni Malkin, Paul Stastny, Eric and Jordan Staal to name a few - all of whom should be well worth offer sheets if they don't get big money deals before then.
Signing Sundin to a short-term deal would keep star-power on Broadway and keep the Rangers in contention while ensuring that the future of the team is allowed to mature until they are capable of grabbing the reins themselves. You satisfy the yuppies in the purples and Blue-bloods in the blues at the same time.
Get that man a contract.