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Predicting Sundin’s value to the Canucks

How will you evaluate whether or not Mats Sundin is success in Vancouver? The real answer may lie in the post-season, but let’s concentrate on the guaranteed portion of the schedule.

How will you evaluate whether or not Mats Sundin is success in Vancouver? The real answer may lie in the post-season, but let’s concentrate on the guaranteed portion of the schedule.

The obvious answer is statistics, but goals and assists are not enough. There is a requisite amount of points that Sundin must produce if he is to earn his $5 million; his resume provides plenty of reason to expect about a point per game.

Then there are the stats of his linemates to consider, as well as the play of the Sedins.
If the twins have a banner second half of the season, Sundin may deserve some credit for drawing the top defensive match­ups on a nightly basis.

But how do you measure the intangibles that he is alleged to provide?

His former teammates speak of the consumate leader, and a player that takes significant pressure off those around him.

There is the physical presence he brings to the lineup; it will a much tougher task for the likes of Joe Thornton to push around the Canucks’ No. 1 centre.

And don’t forget defence: Sundin has been a plus player eight of the last nine years. When the regular season comes to an end, how many more wins did the Canucks produce because of Sundin?

Perhaps it’s a game-winning goal, or maybe it’s a pivotal faceoff win while nursing a late one-goal lead.

It’s a subjective measurement to be sure, but that’s the nature of the discussion, anyway.
• Mike Benevides’ decision to remain in BC as the Lions’ defensive co-ordinator is a good one. Though he was still in the running for the head coaching job in Toronto, Benevides will be better served in the long run by running the defence for at least another year.

Teams are always in search of “the hot young co-ordinator” when looking for a bench boss, but they often have little patience with them if the team’s fortunes don’t turn around quickly.
Along with promise, such coaches also come with lower price tags and less job security. Benevides will be in higher demand down the road if he is able to mold next year’s cast into an elite defence.

Having already parted ways with veterans Otis Floyd, Tyrone Williams and likely two-time defensive player of the year Cam Wake, the Lions have also lost linebacker Jamal Johnson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Maurice Lloyd would certainly help the cause. The Lions are said to be courting the smash-mouth middle linebacker, who has already been offered a six-figure salary to re-sign in Saskatchewan before becoming a free agent on Feb. 15.

 
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