February 13, 1971, Happy Birthday Mats Sundin!
In honour of his birthday, we have pulled this gem from The Hockey Writers Archives, written by former THW contributor Clayton Theriault and originally published on Jan. 4, 2013.
The 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction class was one of the best yet. We saw Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, Adam Oates and Mats Sundin inducted into the hall. In the Greater Toronto Area, the player that catches the attention of most is Mats Sundin. Arguably the best Toronto Maple Leaf of all time, Sundin leads the Leafs all-time in goals with 420 (564 career), assists by a forward with 567 (785 career) and points with 987 (1,349 career). He was selected to the NHL All-Star game nine times from 1996 to 2004. He is one of three players to score 20 goals in each of his first 17 seasons.
10) June 17, 1989
Sundin becomes the first European to be selected first overall at the NHL Entry Draft
Mats made NHL history back in 89′. He would forever change the NHL Entry draft when the Quebec Nordiques selected him first overall. Other European players who have gone first overall include Roman Hamrlik (1992), Patrik Stefan (1999), Alex Ovechkin (2004), and Nail Yakupov (2012).
9) June 28, 1994
Sundin is traded to the Leafs along with Garth Butcher, Todd Warriner and a 1994 first round draft pick for Wendel Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and a 1994 first round draft pick
The trade would prove to change the Leafs forever. They obtained their future captain who turned out to be one of the greatest players to ever dawn the blue and white.
8) 2006 Winter Olympics
Sundin captains the Swedes to a gold medal
The 2006 Turin Olympics marked the first and only Olympic gold medal Sundin has won. It was only Sweden’s second gold medal in Olympic men’s hockey history. Mats Sundin played a major role for Sweden compiling 8 points in 8 games.
Named captain of the Leafs
After Doug Gilmour was traded to the New Jersey Devils midway through the 1996-97 NHL season, Mats Sundin was named the sixteenth captain in Leafs history. He was also the first European captain in team history.
6) October 11, 2007
All-time Leafs leader in goals and points
The goal didn’t look pretty, but Sundin became the all-time Leafs leader in goals in points against the New York Islanders.
5) February 11, 2012
Number 13 raised to the rafters of the Air Canada Center
Sundin’s number 13 was raised to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre during a ceremony prior to a game against the Montreal Canadiens.
4) February 21, 2009
Mats Sundin returns to Toronto with the Vancouver Canucks
Perhaps one of the most emotional moments in his career, Mats Sundin returned to the Air Canada Centre with the Canucks in 2009. Sundin was saluted with a video tribute and standing ovation during a break in the first period. The Canucks won 3-2, with Sundin scoring the shootout winner.
3) April 11, 2006
6-point night against the Florida Panthers
Sundin had the night of his life on April 11, 2006. He recorded 4 goals and 2 assists against the Panthers in a 6-5 overtime win.
2) March 10, 2003
1,000th career point
Sundin recorded his 1,000th career point against the Edmonton Oilers. He became the first Swedish player to reach the milestone.
1) October 14, 2006
500th career goal
Sundin recorded his 500th career goal in ultimate fashion. It was a short-handed hat-trick in overtime to defeat the Calgary Flames 5-4. At the time he became the 35th player in NHL history to record 500 career goals. He is also the only Swede to reach the 500 goal plateau.