How Sundin fits with the Rangers


All right, all right, I'll write about Sundin:

At this point it doesn't appear as though Sundin is going to decide against returning. Either club is taking a gamble here that he'll help them rather than upset team chemistry. Of the two I think he might best help the Canucks, as I don't understand why the Rangers would pursue a center when their problems are so obviously defensive, which Sundin won't rectify.

— Lyle (Spector) Richardson

Lyle must be taking a toot on some of the good stuff, because every Rangers game I've seen this season (and last, for that matter), putting the puck in the net was New York's biggest problem.

The Rangers are 28th in NHL scoring this season and 23rd on the power play, but have been lights out in terms of preventing goals, something that is due in part to Henrik Lundqvist's strong play. New York is ranked eighth in goals against and first overall on the penalty kill.

So they need him.

How on earth will they afford Mats Sundin?

If I was running the ship in New York, I'd immediately waive Dmitri Kalinin, who has had an awful season, play Corey Potter in the No. 6 spot on defence. (His brother Harry is unavailable.) That saves you about $1.6-million on a full season scale.

Add in the about $1-million space the team already has, send Petr Prucha's $1.6-million salary to the minors, and there is about $4.2-million to play with. Lauri Korpikoski could go down, too, and if he's replaced with a league minimum player, there's another $500,000.

Sign Sundin on a relatively cheap contract at the midway point and re-sign him for bigger dollars next year in the summer, and voila, there's some help in the goal-scoring department.

Larry Brooks has done the math, and seems to think the Rangers need only $2.87-million to get Sundin in the lineup just after Christmas, and that seems entirely doable.

The main thing I'd be worried about with Sundin is just how game-ready he's going to be at this point. He hasn't played a hockey game since March 29, and one of the major concerns would have to be that he'd be rusty and get injured early on.

If you're a team in the mix to come out of the East, however, I think it makes sense to take the gamble. And I don't think he's going to Vancouver.

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