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.


Brother P said...

Sundin is going to cost a lot. I read a 2 year deal for 15 million. I'm not against it but I doubt Sundin is taking a 1 year deal from the Rangers when I'm sure other teams will offer more years. Can we please sign AVERY? That should be the #1 priority for Sather. I'm surprised you are paying more attention to that Scotty.

Brother P said...

Mats Sundin wants to join the Rangers and the club has had discussions with the Maple Leafs captain's agent after receiving permission from Toronto, according to the New York Post.

Leafs have also granted the Canadiens permission to talk to Sundin, 37, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Along with Sundin, Rangers GM Glen Sather is considering bringing back F Jaromir Jagr to make a stronger push for the Cup this season, according to the Post.

The Toronto Sun also lists the Red Wings as contenders for Sundin if he waits until next week to sign, and former Leaf Wade Belak is making a push for the Panthers.

"Yeah, I've been working on him, bugging him at the end of the year," Belak told the Sun.

"Both of us know that Joe Nieuwendyk liked playing down here, with the beach and stuff."

Sundin, 37, will reportedly seek a two-year contract in the $16M to $18M range if he tests the market.