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Mats Sundin
Sundin
Name Mats Sundin
Position Center
Date of Birth February 13, 1971
Birthplace Bromma, Sweden
Drafted Selected 1st overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft
Professional Career 1989-2009
Toronto Captain 1997-2008

Mats Johan Sundin is a professional hockey player with the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League. Sundin has also played with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Quebec Nordiques during his career. Sundin was the captain of the Maple Leafs between 1997 and 2008, and was the last player to wear the captain's patch for the Maple Leafs. When Sundin took a sabbatical from NHL hockey at the conclusion of the 2007-2008, he gave up the captaincy. The Maple Leafs have yet to appoint a new captain. At the time of his departure, Sundin was the longest-serving European-born captain in NHL history.

CareerEdit

Sundin was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques with their 1st pick, 1st overall, in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. At the time he was playing in the Swedish tier two league HockeyAllsvenskan for Nacka HK. He was the first European-born player drafted first overall in NHL history. Sundin played in the Elitserien for Djurgårdens IF during the 1989-90 season and won the Swedish championship the same season. Sundin made his NHL debut with Quebec during the 1990-91 NHL season, finishing second on the team behind Joe Sakic with 59 points. Sundin led the Nordiques with 114 points in 1992-93. During his time in Quebec, Sundin was considered one of the league's premier young players. He scored his first NHL goal against the Hartford Whalers in his first NHL game on October 4th, 1990.

Trade to the Maple LeafsEdit

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Sundin in a trade on June 28, 1994. The Nordiques sent Sundin, Garth Butcher, Todd Warriner, and a 1994 first round draft pick (acquired through the 1992 Eric Lindros deal, then traded to the Washington Capitals, and used to pick Nolan Baumgartner) to the Leafs in exchange for Wendel Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and a 1994 first round pick (used to pick Jeff Kealty). During the 1994-95 lockout, Sundin returned to Sweden to play for Djurgårdens IF. Sundin became the 16th Maple Leafs captain in 1997, becoming the first European player in Maple Leaf history to hold that honour.

On January 8, 2004, in a game against the Nashville Predators, Sundin broke his stick on an attempted shot and threw it aside in disgust. Instead of hitting the glass, the stick went into the crowd. The NHL suspended Sundin for one game. After the game, Sundin gave a brand new autographed stick to the fan that had caught the broken stick.

He scored his 500th career goal against Mikka Kiprusoff on October 14, 2006, in overtime, in a 5-4 win against the Calgary Flames. The goal was his third of the game, over Kiprusoff's blocker. On March 20, 2007, Sundin reached 900 points as a Maple Leaf with a 2 assist effort in a 2-1 win against the New Jersey Devils.

In Toronto's second game of the 2007-08 NHL season, Sundin scored his 389th goal as a Maple Leaf, tying Darryl Sittler's team record. In Toronto's fifth game of the season, on October 11, 2007 versus the New York Islanders, Sundin scored his 917th point as a Maple Leaf, breaking Darryl Sittler's franchise all-time record. Sundin also scored his 390th goal in the third period, breaking Sittler's other franchise record. He was voted the first, second, and third star of the game. On November 27 in a game against the Montreal Canadiens, Sundin became the first player to score 400 goals as a Maple Leaf. On December 1, in a game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, he broke Babe Dye's 83-year-old Toronto record when he extended his home game point streak to 15 games.

With the Leafs falling out of playoff contention, Sundin was the focus of numerous trade rumours as the February 26, 2008 trade deadline approached. On February 25 he stated that he would not waive the n- trade clause in his contract. He stated that he did not believe in being a "rental player", and that if he won the Stanley Cup, he wanted to do it over the course of a whole season.

Signing with the Vancouver CanucksEdit

Sundin became a free agent on July 1, 2008, although the Maple Leafs gave the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers special rights to negotiate with him until then. On the day of free agency, the Vancouver Canucks offered Sundin a two-year, $20-million dollar contract which, if signed, would make him the highest paid player in the NHL. The Rangers, Canadiens and Leafs also made contract offers. Attempting to entice him to sign with the Canucks, numerous Vancouver businesses have extended Sweden-centered special offers, such as a Volvo and IKEA products.

In late October, Sundin began training in Los Angeles, stating he desires to be in top condition before signing with any team. On December 18, 2008, Sundin signed a one-year, $10 million prorated contract with the Canucks.

International PlayEdit

Sundin has represented Team Sweden at various international competitions, such as the World Cup of Hockey and the Olympic Games, and has held the position of team captain for the national squad for the better part of the last decade. Sundin is widely recognized as one of the top players in the world in these international competitions, and has added a highly impressive list of accomplishments through these international games. Sundin specifically shined in the 2002 Winter Olympics and 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Sundin has won three IIHF World Championships with Sweden, winning the championship in 1991, 1992 and 1998. Sundin finally won a gold medal with Team Sweden in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Sundin was the captain of the Swedish National Team in the 2006 Winter Olympics. Despite the controversy surrounding the team allegedly throwing a game earlier in the tournament, he led them to a gold medal with a 3-2 victory over Finland in the final. After leading his team to the Gold Medal in Turin, he stated that he did not expect to return to the national team.

Maple Leafs LegacyEdit

During his time in Toronto, Sundin has earned a wide variety of accomplishments and accolades. Excluding his first season and the shortened lockout season of 2004-2005, Sundin has scored at least 70 points every year. He has played at least 70 games in every full length NHL season of his career, and has led the Leafs in points in every year he has been with the team except 2002-03, when Alexander Mogilny beat him by seven points. On October 14, 2006, Sundin became the first Swedish player to score 500 goals. As of the end of the 2007-08 NHL season, he holds the Leafs' franchise records for goals with 420 and points as a Leaf with 984. He is currently tied with Jaromir Jagr for the NHL record for regular season overtime goals with 15. Sundin has been named to the NHL All-Star game nine times, playing in the 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004 games. Sundin was forced to miss the 2003 game due to an injury.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular Season Statistics
Year Gp G A P PIM
1990-1991 80 23 36 59 58
1991-1992 80 33 43 76 103
1992-1993 80 47 67 114 93
1993-1994 84 32 53 85 60
1994-1995 47 23 24 47 14
1995-1996 76 33 50 83 46
1996-1997 82 41 53 94 59
1997-1998 82 33 41 74 49
1998-1999 82 31 52 83 58
1999-2000 73 32 41 73 46
2000-2001 82 28 46 74 76
2001-2002 82 41 39 80 94
2002-2003 75 37 35 72 58
2003-2004 81 31 44 75 52
2004-2005 - - - - -
2005-2006 70 31 47 78 58
2006-2007 75 27 49 76 62
2007-2008 74 32 46 78 76
TOTALS 1305 555 766 1321 1065
  • Did not play due to labor strike


Playoff Statistics
Year Gp G A P PIM
1992-1993 6 3 1 4 6
1994-1995 7 5 4 9 4
1995-1996 6 3 1 4 4
1998-1999 17 8 8 16 16
1999-2000 12 3 5 8 10
2000-2001 11 6 7 13 14
2001-2002 8 2 5 7 4
2002-2003 7 1 3 4 6
2003-2004 9 4 5 9 8
TOTALS 83 35 39 74 72

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