The absolute last thing that Toronto Maple Leafs general manager
It was Ferguson after all who promised his bosses -- apparently with a straight face -- that the Leafs would be a playoff team this season. And while they haven't exactly flourished with the nearly 37-year-old Swede in the lineup, the Leafs would quiver before the might of the Lightning and Capitals without him. Trading the centerpiece of the franchise would be akin to running up the white flag on the season. And that would all but guarantee the end of Ferguson's checkered tenure.
At least that's the way it looks on the surface. Because if Ferguson wants to justify his continued employment and save the franchise, auctioning his star center is exactly what he should do. And the sooner, the better.
Even at his advanced age, Sundin is in the midst of a remarkable season. He stands 12th in the scoring race, his 20 goals and 48 points putting him on pace for his most productive offensive campaign in more than a decade. Unless Atlanta decides to move
Of course, the honor of adding the impending free agent won't come without considerable expense. Consider the rate of return on last season's rentals. Nashville coughed up
As long as Ferguson doesn't go the route of
For his part, Sundin has professed a desire to remain in Toronto, even to the point of shooting down any rental gig elsewhere, but that's just the posturing of a good solider. He knows he has no chance of winning a Cup with the Leafs, a realization that had to play into his thinking when he signed a one-year deal last summer. Being a smart guy, Sundin received a no-trade clause as part of the package, which means he can pick the destination of his choice...and then follow the route pioneered by
That's the ideal scenario for Ferguson and the player. The trick will be finding another GM ready to play cards. In a seller's market, the cost for Sundin is likely to be higher than what teams paid last spring, and as every team but Anaheim learned, no guarantees come with those deals.
Any package has to start with a high-end prospect, a solid depth player and two high picks. Honestly, it might take more than that. So who might be willing to ante up?
That's the million-dollar question...or maybe the two-million-dollar question, depending on when the deal is made. Almost every legitimate contender is capable of assuming the remainder of Sundin's $5.5 million salary with a tweak or two to their own lineup, and that could incite a healthy bidding war.
Anaheim has struggled to score all season long and has some enticing booty, including Edmonton's first-rounder this year and
With their Team Sweden East motif and strong playoff chances, the Red Wings would certainly be enticing to Sundin. Whether
The chance to play with the Sedin Twins and old running mate
Ferguson has ties to San Jose -- his late father was the team's head of scouting -- and the Sharks have failed all year long to find secondary scoring behind
The dark horse might be the New Jersey Devils. GM