So now that Vancouver has been eliminated... what becomes of Mats Sundin?
With Chicago's 7-5 victory, the man who holds the record for the most career games, points, goals and assists by a Swedish hockey player may have played his last game in the NHL.
Based on his play at the start of the season it looks like he's well past his prime and on the blip, but he's in good enough shape (strength wise, at least) to push it for another year should that glass hip hold up. In the past few games Sundin has finally started to look like his former self. If Sundin trains properly this off season as opposed to slacking off and fishing like last year he might be able to actually *contribute* to a contender.
On the other hand, he's not going to get a 10 million dollar contract this time around. He'll be paid based on this year's performance, which may not be enough to lure him back into the league. He won't be nearly as coveted an asset, and he likely won't have as many suitors -- especially if he fails to realize that his value has dropped.
The other intangible is the olympics. Mats Sundin has always been a dominant force playing for Team Sweden in international competition, and he may want to play in the NHL so that he is in mid-season form come time to represent his country. A shot at the Stanley Cup may just be a bonus...
I hope Mats finally retires with dignity instead of letting things become a joke like he did before. I used to like him a lot, but now I have zero respect for him and the other "Hmm, should I stay or should I go?" guys. It makes a mockery of the sport for all the kids and families waking up at dawn sacrificing to just play the game.
Respect him or not, if he decides to play again next season, he will still be one of the most sought after UFA's. As it stands, there aren't too many top two line capable UFA centers available, so there will always be a market for him at this stage of his career.