The legacy of Markus Naslund here in Vancouver is a hot topic of discussion this week with the Canucks’ captain having played his 1,000th game in the NHL last night in Detroit.
Interestingly enough, Naslund’s career has come full circle to a degree. He came to Vancouver as a young man that was not meeting the expectations of a first-round draft pick, and is now seen as veteran that is not performing at the level of excellence that he displayed only a short while ago.
In between, Naslund became one of the NHL’s premiere players, a goal scorer that was capable of finding twine every time the puck was on his stick. He scored nearly 200 goals over a five-year stretch early this decade, including three consecutive seasons of more than 40 goals. When his offensive production reached its zenith in 2002-03, his peers voted him the winner of the Lester B. Pearson Award, the league’s most valuable player as voted by the players.
Though many criticize Naslund in the present for his diminished production at a rate of $6 million US per season, they need only look at his past to realize that he is one of, if not the most talented player(s) to ever wear a Canucks’ jersey.
•Rumours of Mats Sundin’s potential relocation to the West Coast were further fuelled by the presence of two Canucks’ scouts at the Maple Leafs’ game on Tuesday.
If Sundin does become available, there would be no shortage of suitors including the division rival Flames who were also found to be watching the Toronto captain’s every move earlier this week.
Canucks’ GM Dave Nonis does have young assets like Cory Schneider, Luc Bourdon and Mason Raymond to offer in a potential deal, but he won’t move any of his top prospects unless he is extremely confident that Sundin would sign beyond this season in Vancouver. Nonis has said time and time again that he’s not willing to sacrifice the future of the franchise for a short-term rental.
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