Originally written on Rob The Hockey Guy  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Vancouver_canucks_v_a535

Mats Sundin’s #13 banner was raised to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Saturday night, and it made me think back to his time in Vancouver. Sundin, as you might remember, spent half a season in blue and green during the 2008-09 season. The Mats Sundin that Canucks fans got to see, at age 38, wasn’t of hall of fame caliber but he wasn’t a bust either.

Sundin struggled initially in Vancouver, trying to get back into game shape. He finished the regular season with only 28 points in 41 games, playing on the Canucks second line. But I get annoyed with anyone who compares Sundin to Mark Messier, whom the Canucks signed in 1997. The Messier experiment was a complete disaster, as the Canucks did anything but flourish with #11 in the lineup. The team under Messier’s leadership became divided early on, and was promptly dismantled after the arrival of the Moose. Messier was brought in to be the Canucks’ captain, first line centre and help lead the team to a Stanley Cup. Instead, they were one of the worst teams in the NHL. Sundin, on the other hand, was brought in to be the Canucks’ second line centre, and bolster their team for a long playoff run.

Mats Sundin’s regular season numbers weren’t exactly eye popping, but it was in the playoffs where Sundin showed his true value. I think a lot of people forget that Sundin played his best hockey as a Canuck in the playoffs. Sundin put up 8 points in 8 games, putting him behind only Daniel and Henrik Sedin on the team. Sundin’s best game was probably game 6 versus Chicago in the second round, which might have been remembered more glowingly in these parts had Roberto Luongo been able to stop a puck in the third period.

Perhaps the real legacy of Mats Sundin was what he taught his teammates. It has been said that he encouraged Ryan Kesler to shoot the puck more (it seems hard to remember a time where Kesler didn’t love shooting the puck now), and perhaps Kesler is better for it. Many people around the Canucks organization have said that Sundin was a good influence in terms of showing his teammates how he prepares for games. The following season, Daniel and Henrik Sedin rose to superstardom and Ryan Kesler became a Selke Trophy finalist. Nobody knows for certain if Sundin helped them reach that status, but it’s certainly plausible. And for that reason, the Sundin experiment was a success.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Hot start helps Rockets stave off elimination against Warriors

Matt Millen leaving ESPN for FOX, Big Ten Network

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout loss to Yankees

John Farrell: Pitchers need an approved gripping substance

Cam Newton: Nobody has ever been who I'm trying to be

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bears cut Ray McDonald after domestic violence arrest

Report: Paul Pierce could opt out of contract, join Clippers

Report: NBA exploring moving start of Finals up

Isaiah Thomas: Danny Ainge wants my input on free agents

Brian Matusz suspended eight games for substance on arm

Baseball players in the military: A tribute

Stephen Curry leaves Game 4 after nasty fall, returns later

WATCH: Khris Davis trolls umps after controversial homer

Is Adrian Peterson leveraging himself out of the league?

Mascot creates controversy with 'Police Lives Matter' sign

The Talented Mr. Blatt

The curious case of Frank Kaminsky

Is the Cavs' Matthew Dellavedova a dirty player?

LeBron lifts Cavaliers to brink of Finals, but are they ready?

Will Phil Jackson give himself a chance to succeed with Knicks?

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

Federer unhappy with security after fan comes on court

WATCH: LeBron throws down ferocious dunk in traffic

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Curry leaves game after nasty fall

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Report: Pierce could opt out of contract

Could the NBA Finals be moved up?

The Talented Mr. Blatt

Is Dellavedova a dirty player?

Ballplayers in the military: A tribute

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

WATCH: LeBron's ferocious dunk in traffic

Kelly drops hint about ND offense

John Madden: Last SB play will 'torment' Carroll

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.