Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gotham or Granville ?

Is Mats Sundin Gotham bound?The signs are pointing towards an early Christmas in Rangersland.

Why Rangersland? Because J.P. Barry, Sundin's agent, confirmed with the Vancouver Sun that the choice is now only between Gotham and Granville and, it is pretty obvious that Sundin would have signed with Vancouver already if that were really his first choice. Plainly, Sundin is waiting to see if the Rangers can clear some cap space. It is also clear that the Rangers are trying to create that space. Sather recalled Corey Potter Sunday from Hartford and the team is taking him out west. It looks like Sather is trying to move a defensemen to shed salary before the trip ends.

Why an early Christmas? The NHL's roster freeze starts this Friday and lasts until December 27th. Barry indicated that Sundin is likely to announce his choice of new team by Thursday night so that his client can join the team right after the freeze ends.

Why Christmas? Because Sundin can make a huge difference if he is on this team. The Rangers' power play (14%) has been pathetic. Last year, Sundin had 10 powerplay goals and 19 powerplay assists. The power play is instantly better with Mats. And, he is not way past his prime. Sundin is 37, but still playing at a high level. He averaged 20 minutes a game last year and shot 12.4 percent. Those number are pretty consistent with his averages for the past five years.

If you look at the Eastern Conference, and compare the Rangers' power play to that of the three other of the top four teams so far this year - Boston (25%), Washington(24%), and Philadelphia (26%) - you instantly see that scoring on the power play is where we fall short. Sundin should close that gap.

Without Sundin, I am afraid the Rangers' will not have a very happy Christmas nor a Happy New Year. With Sundin on the power play, a healthy Lundqvist and the continued superior play on the penalty kill, look for this team to go deep in the playoffs.

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  • jb said...

    Nice one, Sec 335. I was offline all today to get my new FIOS internet hookup (highly recommended if you can get Verizon) and I check in and see the smiling face of our hoped for saviour. All the rumors say it's 99.9% certain that he'll be a Ranger.

    If the rumors are true and they move Gomez, what a dramatic change.

    I'll have to do some research to see if Mats has a nickname. What did they call him in Toronto, just Mats?

    Shanahan waited around, it seemed like forever, before figuring out that the Rangers were stringing him along. Will Slats figure out away to nail this one down. Or has he painted himself into too tight a corner.

    Everyone must know Slats is over a barrel. He has no "hand."

  • blow-me-down said...

    I never heard the Gomez rumour (oh, heard many many armchair GMs talking about it), was actually wanting him to stay...wow, that is a big sit-down-and-take-a-big-breath kind of thing, but it is hard to even pass judgement until the whole set of transactions are known.

    Oh by the way, I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, or cast a pall of darkness, but a popular nickname for Mats in Toronto was "Captain Clutch".

    Talk amongst yourselves.

  • jb said...

    One Gomez rumor came from Rangers Review -- Talked To My Source:

    As usual, if you dont believe it, that's fine, but i figured i would share… Here is what he has told me so far. Mats is a Ranger (99.9%) Once he signs there are 3 deals being discussed, he doesn't know the exactness of it, but here is what he has heard.

    The first is between the Rangers and Nucks (Gomez)
    The second is between Rangers and Yotes (Rozsival)
    The third is between Rangers and Thrashers (Gomez+Rozsival for Ilya)
    Some other media guy also had the Gomez trade rumor, but I can't find the link now.

    Brooksie did say on Monday, "They are most certainly not attempting to deal Scott Gomez."

    Sundin does play center, can the Rangers keep stockpiling centers?

    Does Drury the $7million guy just have to move over to the wing.

    I think I heard that "Captain Crunch" moniker before.