Franchise points leader, player for 13 years with the Maple Leafs, captain for 11 years, centre number 13 Mats Sundin will have his number honoured by the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 11, 2012 in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. Mats Sundin was drafted 1st overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989 and played 3 seasons with them. On June 28, 1994, the Toronto Maple Leafs involved themselves in one of the biggest trades in their franchise. The Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Mats Sundin services by trading Quebec Wendel Clark, Sylvian Lefebvre, and Landon Wilson, a 1994 first round pick in exchange for Mats Sundin, Garth Butcher, Todd Warriner. At the time of the trade many wondered if Sundin could ever live up to the hype built around him for years. Especially in a market which is the centre of the hockey univers. However, those thoughts were put to rest rather quickly after his stellar performances season after season after season. After Doug Gilmour signed with the Devils’ during 1996-97 season, Mats Sundin was named his successor and became the 16th Maple Leaf Captain.
While wearing the Maple Leafs sweater, Mats Sundin has done many remarkable things to solidify himself as a future hall of famer. He scored his 500th goal in a Maple Leafs uniform against the Calgary Flames, and he also left the Maple leafs as the franchise all-time leader in points and goals. Over his tenure as the player and leader of the Toronto Maple Leafs Sundin scored 420 goals and leads the Maple Leafs franchise with 987 points.
Despite some fans feeling upset that he would not waive his no trade clause in 2008 to allow the franchise to rebuild fans still respect the man that provided hope and led this team to many successful seasons. His only regret might be and the only thing missing from his great career is a missing Stanley Cup which eluded him his entire career. Despite not winning a Stanley Cup everyone in Leaf Nation is still thankful for the hard work he provided for this great team.
He might have not won a Stanley Cup but he was still fortunate enough to captain Team Sweden at the 2006 Winter Olympics where he won a Gold Medal over Finland. It was a huge accomplishment in his career and has made him a legend in Sweden as well.
Bottom line, Mats Sundin was and still is one of the best and greatest Maple Leaf to ever play for the great city of Toronto.
February 11, 2012 is a date I am now looking forward to just like the rest of Leafs Nation.