February 11, 2012

HHOF Worthy - Mats Sundin?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are set to honour Mats Sundin on Saturday. Bringing #13 back into the headlines of course begs the question: Does Mats Sundin deserve inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail is already on record stating, emphatically, that he should be included:
He scored more career goals than Guy Lafleur, Johnny Bucyk and Frank Mahovlich, all of whom also won a Stanley Cup. Sundin never won a Cup then again neither did Dale Hawerchuk, who was voted into the Hall in 2001.
He also goes on to mention that Sundin was a 2006 Olympic gold medallist, was the first European drafted first overall, and was the first Swede to score 1000 points. He was "a remarkably durable, highly skilled player" who played in 1346 games, scoring 564 goals and 1349 points.

Stu Hackel over at the NY Times blog Slap Shot not only champions Sundin's Hall of Fame credential, but suggests maybe we should be considering Sundin as the greatest Toronto Maple Leaf ever.

That is a pretty lofty title in itself. I don't know if I would rank Sundin over Syl Apps, Teeder Kennedy, Frank Mahovlich or Dave Keon. But I have no reservations ranking him ahead of Darryl Sittler, who I consider to be a perfect comparable for Sundin.

Sittler and Sundin both bled Maple Leafs blue, captaining the team for long tenures and without much help. They were maligned to some degree, mostly unfairly, because of the lack of team success. Neither player won a Stanley Cup, or even a major individual trophy. Those outside of Toronto suggested that both were very good and very popular players, elevated to great players only because they were the face of the franchise in the most intense market in hockey.

I tend to agree that Sundin was a very good player for a very long time, but not necessarily a great player for any extended length of time. But there are several similar players like that already in the Hockey Hall of Fame - Mike Gartner, Dale Hawerchuk, Bernie Federko, Pat Lafontaine and, drum roll please, Darryl Sittler.

Soon Mats Sundin will take his place in the Hockey Hall of Fame on 30 Yonge Street, forever residing in the great city of Toronto, a Maple Leaf forever.

Other links:

Sundin Remembered As Consummate Pro -  Toronto Star
An Extraordinary Career - TorontoMapleLeafs.com
No Regrets For Mats Sundin - Globe and Mail
13 Unforgettable Moments - Toronto Sun
Holik on Mats Sundin - Bobby Holik


Dan said...

You wouldn't consider Pat Lafontaine a great player?

Kevin aka "yathehabsrule" said...

He'll get into the HHOF...His international record combined with his NHL numbers ensure that.

His holding out on a decision to play last season was a bit of a black mark though.

But if he gets in the Hall before Adam Oates, I'd be ticked!

Ya! The Habs Rule!

Unknown said...

He should absolutely be inducted in the HOF. He was always one of the top players in the league throughout his career. Sundin was the player opposing teams tried to stop on most nights. I don't think guys like Gartner and Federko had anywhere near the impact Sundin had. Mats never really put up that many points, but was never really surrounded with any great players. Had one really good season on a young and explosive Nordiques team with guys like Joe Sakic and Owen Nolan.

Anonymous said...

No one ever mentions how good Mats was with the media in T.O. He never shied away from an interview, never deflected criticism and never got frustrated with the Toronto media (in public). That is what a true captain does. He was the best Leaf ever and deserves to be a first ballot HHOF inductee. No question.

Anonymous said...

We are talking about the Hockey hall of Fame, and therefor we can also take into consideration what he has done on the international level. A few examples follows here:
Canada Cup 91: All star team
World Cup 96: All star team
Olympics 02: All star team and scoring leader
Olympics 06: Gold medal
World Championship 91: Gold medal and Scoring leader
World Championship 92: Gold medal, All star team
World Championship 94: Scoring leader
World Championship 98: Gold medal, All star team and scoring leader

#13-HOF said...

He should be in the hall and I'm sure his number will be in the rafters at the ACC soon enough.

darkdruid said...

2010 perspective; “I have been a member of an industrial league for 15 years. There are 2 really good teams in the league and the other 13 teams are made up of guys who really can not play hockey but LOVE the game. Every year my team competes in the final and we have won the trophy 8 times. I have led the league in scoring in 11 of the 15 years. In one game against one of the lesser opponents we beat them 27 to 0 and I had 7 goals and 7 assists. I believe in that I am now worthy of going into the Hockey hall of Fame in light of the two recent inductees ( female Hockey players). My numbers are outstanding and I demand recognition”.

Does Mats deserve to be in the Hall????? I always thought he did and now I KNOW HE DESERVES IT.