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Why was Mats Sundin traded from the Nordiques?

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Old
02-07-2012, 07:23 PM
  #1
puckfan13
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Why was Mats Sundin traded from the Nordiques?

I'm a younger hockey fan so I don't exactly know this history behind this and I was pretty curious.

Sundin was coming off a 114 pt season and it doesn't appear he was traded for much, basically Wendel Clark (who didn't even play a full season for the Nordiques) and a few seasons of Sylvain Lefebvre. That doesn't seem like a very great return for what was probably one of the top young players in the league at the time. Sundin was the leading scorer on a playoff team with a great young core (Sakic, Nolan, Ricci, Forsberg on the way), I just don't really understand.

Was this an acrimonious exit on bad terms, what precipitated the trade?

Thanks in advance.

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02-07-2012, 07:28 PM
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JacketsFanWest
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Veteran leadership with Clark and to make room for Forsberg. Sundin wasn't on bad terms of the team or anything like that.

The Nords had had a disappointing season and didn't make the playoffs with a lot of young talent.

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02-07-2012, 07:30 PM
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Big Phil
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I can't remember the whole details. I think everyone pretty much agrees it was a bad trade for Quebec. It was 1994, and Sundin just had an 85 point season. Clark had a 76 point season and a wicked playoff. But even though he was just 27-28 years old Clark was so battled and bruised that his play reflected of a man in his 30s pending retirement. I guess his value was high so the Leafs figured this was as good of a time as any to unload him. They knew more than anyone how battered he was and he wasn't getting any younger.

The Nords I assume figured that Sakic was just as good and just pretty much as young and could afford some heart into their lineup. How they didn't see the kind of career Sundin could have had is startling.

The Leafs, as usual, shot themselves in the foot just a year and a half later. Clark was so loved by Toronto that they traded back for him from the Islanders. Of course this resulted in squandering a draft pick that ended up being Luongo.

Honestly I can't remember why the Nords got duped so badly.

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02-07-2012, 07:40 PM
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The season before, the Nords were playing well and got stoned by Patrick Roy in the playoffs (and Val Kamensky being unable to hit the broadside of a barn on a breakway). Had they gotten a few breaks, they might have beat Montreal.

I think they thought they needed a Clark type player to help in those types of playoff games, but it never worked out.

I cried when I heard about it, then drug myself out and bought a Leaf jersey. (the horror).

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02-07-2012, 07:48 PM
  #5
GuineaPig
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I shudder to think of what would have happened if you added Sundin to the Avalanche.

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02-07-2012, 08:12 PM
  #6
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I shudder to think of what would have happened if you added Sundin to the Avalanche.
When you consider how many cups he led the Leafs to.....

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02-07-2012, 08:21 PM
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Ziggy Stardust
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They had too many centers and trading for Clark eventually resulted in Claude Lemieux. No Claude Lemieux, no Stanley Cup. In the end, it worked out for the Nordiques/Avalanche.

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02-07-2012, 08:25 PM
  #8
Hardyvan123
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When you consider how many cups he led the Leafs to.....
Really?

I suppose the Avs never would have won with Sundin either right?

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02-07-2012, 09:09 PM
  #9
vadim sharifijanov
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the nords had four guys that all looked like number one centers in the league. after sakic, forsberg, and sundin, there was also mike ricci, former CHL superstar, fourth overall pick, coming off a PPG year and led the nords in playoff points the year before (tied with sakic and claude lapointe). in many ways, it was the lindros deal that made sundin expendable. if lindros hadn't demanded the trade, there may have still been a place for sundin on that future powerhouse.

but the death blow for sundin with the nords, which is to say why him and not sakic, forsberg, or ricci, is because of the '93 playoffs. sundin took the brunt of the blame for the nords blowing a 2-0 series lead against the habs in the first round, coming off a 100 point season for the first time in forever. nords coach pierre page ripped into sundin in a very public way on the bench, and while it wasn't just sundin who sucked (andrei kovalenko was particularly heartless), sundin was a 100 point scorer.

the nords took a step back in '94, missing the playoffs again, and lacroix had to be proactive in cultivating a winning atmosphere. ricci had a pretty good playoffs in '93 and was considered a captain in the making (plus sundin had higher trade value), sakic was the captain and i argue was always demonstrably better than sundin, and forsberg was considered the best player outside of the NHL after his record setting WJC tournament and then his heroics in the '94 olympics.

it looks bad in retrospect, but clark had a reputation as a leader, clutch playoff performer, and was only one year removed from a crazy 46 goals in 64 game career season. plus, clark was coming off back-to-back trips to the conference finals and scored 19 goals and 36 points in those two years. clark didn't work out, but as another posted mentioned, he was traded for claude lemieux, who along with patrick roy, was a proven playoff performer and moreover provided valuable locker room experience and, as they say, "taught sakic how to win."

owen nolan for sandis ozolinsh also looked like massive overpayment at the time. but i doubt the nords get past the wings in '96 with sundin and nolan instead of claude and ozo, especially because forsberg and deadmarsh stepped right into those two roles so well. it was already such a loaded team in terms of young offensive talent, and the nords/avs had that to give to get what they didn't have, which was veteran presence and a puck moving defenseman.

and let's not forget how great lefebvre was. the leafs were never the same without his steadying presence on their blueline.

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02-07-2012, 09:15 PM
  #10
tarheelhockey
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For a younger fan, you might not realize how idolized Wendel Clark was at the time. Imagine if Milan Lucic played in Toronto.

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02-07-2012, 09:25 PM
  #11
Sticks and Pucks
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So at the time was this a Lucic + for Seguin type trade? (Yes, I know they play on the same team.)

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02-07-2012, 09:32 PM
  #12
vadim sharifijanov
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Originally Posted by canuckmaster12345 View Post
So at the time was this a Lucic + for Seguin type trade? (Yes, I know they play on the same team.)
more like tavares for kesler. clark was a god to toronto.

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02-07-2012, 09:39 PM
  #13
Rhiessan71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
For a younger fan, you might not realize how idolized Wendel Clark was at the time. Imagine if Milan Lucic played in Toronto.


...and if Lucic could actually shoot with any accuracy or stood up to all comers, not just the guys he knows he can take heh.

Clark had the greatest and most wicked snap shot I have ever seen.

Clark was also one of those rare players that could change every aspect of a game in one shift.

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02-07-2012, 10:00 PM
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If memory serves:

Sundin mailed it in during the playoffs & wasn't much liked by Pierre Page.

In Sundin's defense he, and a lot of the Nords, were young at the time. I'll leave it at that before I go on a Sundin rant.

The Nords had a ton of depth at center and a lack of heart. Wendel could definitely help in the heart department.

From the Leafs side, the Silver Fox most likely knew Clark would never duplicate that 46 goal season due to the beating his body was taking.. so he sold high.

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02-07-2012, 10:01 PM
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Ziggy Stardust
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To compare that trade today, I guess it would be like Calgary trading Jarome Iginla for Paul Stastny.

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02-07-2012, 10:08 PM
  #16
shadow1
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I wasn't old enough at the time to remember this, but I know how Wendel Clark was perceived in Toronto.

He was the captain, he was with the team for nine years, he was their former 1st overall pick, and he was coming off his best season. I'd imagine it was more controversial from Toronto's standpoint than it was from Quebec's.

If it was, that probably faded a year later when the Colorado Avalanche traded Wendel Clark away one day before the season began.

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02-07-2012, 10:19 PM
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Hardyvan123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
For a younger fan, you might not realize how idolized Wendel Clark was at the time. Imagine if Milan Lucic played in Toronto.
Or a Linden in Vancouver.

some guys like these 3 are valued more than their worth in these 3 cities, not that there are not good players but they are literally worshiped.

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02-08-2012, 02:34 AM
  #18
tombombadil
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Sundin with the Avs.... I've noticed that Forsberg and Sakic had their Hart years when the opposite man was injured. Obviously they shared being the go to guy, which made the team stronger, but maybe cut into their personal point and accolade accumalations. Line 1A and 1B, so to speak. I would assume that, of the 3, Forsberg would likely get moved to the wing, as i believe he was the weakest face-off guy. He's also the best backchecker, so maybe you want him at center, but Foppa playing the wing with abandon, beside another reliable center would be something to behold, too. Anyway that it shook down, the Avs offense would have been insane... and likely 2 of the 3 guys would have had massive, massive point totals.

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02-08-2012, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by tombombadil View Post
Sundin with the Avs.... I've noticed that Forsberg and Sakic had their Hart years when the opposite man was injured. Obviously they shared being the go to guy, which made the team stronger, but maybe cut into their personal point and accolade accumalations. Line 1A and 1B, so to speak. I would assume that, of the 3, Forsberg would likely get moved to the wing, as i believe he was the weakest face-off guy. He's also the best backchecker, so maybe you want him at center, but Foppa playing the wing with abandon, beside another reliable center would be something to behold, too. Anyway that it shook down, the Avs offense would have been insane... and likely 2 of the 3 guys would have had massive, massive point totals.
Sometimes I feel Sundin is so underrated, he never really played with any good wingers in his career but still put up a PPG career for over 1300 games, can´t imagine how many points he would have on a team like the Avs.

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02-08-2012, 03:45 AM
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kaiser matias
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Its interesting that the Nordiques had the first overall pick three years in a row, and all three of them were traded away from the team, who ultimately won two Cups. All three retired without ever winning the Cup themselves, and combined only made the Finals once (Lindros in 1997).

Not really anything to analyse, its more a neat fact to know more than anything. Still thought it would be worth pointing out.

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02-08-2012, 04:50 AM
  #21
MS
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Basically it's as touched on by others here.

Quebec had an embarassment of young franchise centers on their roster - Sakic, Sundin, Forsberg - and a team outside of that that had failed in the 1993 playoffs and during the 1993-94 season. Sundin in particular took a lot of heat for under-achieving during that stretch.

Quebec felt they needed goalscoring on the wings, veteran leadership, and grit so this is the trade they made. They just didn't bank on Clark falling apart so quickly.

Didn't turn out too badly in the end, though, as Lefebvre and Lemieux both ended up as key contributors on their Cup team in 1996.

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02-08-2012, 06:35 AM
  #22
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Even thou this worked out just fine for Quebec/Colorado this is one of my favourite "what ifs".

Hated the trade when it happened, hate it now. Was looking forward to seeing two young star swedes on the same team and in retro would love to have seen to of my favourite all time swedish hockeyplayers on the same team. And add Sakic, another favourite player of that generation... Forsbergs passing with Sundins heavy shot. Or Forsberg to a free Sundin in the slot using his perfection of a backhandmove. Could have been classic combinations. Getting carried away here I could talk about this for hours, even on a party dominated by attractive interesting ladies. A few questions aroses quite fast:

Who would have moved to the wing? My thought is actually Sundin (even if he probably would take most of Forsbergs draws...).

Would Sundin be as loyal and stay as long with this franchise? They had the money, so I don´t see why he also would hang on to the lock out.

Wich trades would instead have taken place to fill the holes in Colorado? Some players would "lose" their cups, some would "gain" a cup or two...

Sundins legacy is probably what most would benefit from this. He would most surely have atleast one cup and greater regular season stats. He showed from time to time in the national team that he was clutch and on par with the best of his generation when on the national team playing with good players.

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02-08-2012, 06:40 AM
  #23
Eisen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS View Post
Basically it's as touched on by others here.

Quebec had an embarassment of young franchise centers on their roster - Sakic, Sundin, Forsberg - and a team outside of that that had failed in the 1993 playoffs and during the 1993-94 season. Sundin in particular took a lot of heat for under-achieving during that stretch.

Quebec felt they needed goalscoring on the wings, veteran leadership, and grit so this is the trade they made. They just didn't bank on Clark falling apart so quickly.

Didn't turn out too badly in the end, though, as Lefebvre and Lemieux both ended up as key contributors on their Cup team in 1996.
And don't forget Ricci. That team had an insane strength, albeit young, down the middle.

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02-08-2012, 07:39 AM
  #24
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
For a younger fan, you might not realize how idolized Wendel Clark was at the time. Imagine if Milan Lucic played in Toronto.
the best you can compare Wendel Clark to is Lucic?

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02-08-2012, 07:41 AM
  #25
LeBlondeDemon10
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Cliff Fletcher looked very good in this trade from a hockey perspective. But from a fans perspective, it reminded Leafs fans of the Lanny MacDonald trade all over again. Talk about salt in the wounds. And then when Sundin refused a trade from the Leafs and ended up signing with Vancouver, Leafs fans were beside themselves. Sometimes, some players are just meant to play out their careers in certain cities.

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