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Sundin has Sittler in His Sights

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
By Matt Frost

August 4, 2004
Mats Sundin needs 161 points to tie Darryl Sittler's franchise record of 916.
(Getty Images/NHLI)

Mats Sundin continues to make his case to be considered the greatest Maple Leaf in the history of the Toronto franchise. After another season of leading the Leafs in almost every category, and his eighth consecutive 30-plus-goal season, Sundin is that much closer to setting some untouchable team records.

An NHL work stoppage would delay, but not derail, Sundin's inevitable assault on the Maple Leafs' record book. The Maple Leaf captain enters the 2004-05 season 161 points behind Darryl Sittler's career mark of 916 as a Leaf. With four years left on his seven-year contract, Sundin will almost certainly become the first Maple Leaf to earn 1000 points in a Toronto uniform.

Sundin finished the 2003-04 season with 330 goals, 425 assists and 755 points in 762 games in Blue and White, putting Sittler's franchise mark of 389 goals also within striking distance.

Leaf Player GP G
Sittler 844 389
Keon 1062 365
Ellis 1034 332
Sundin 762 330
Leaf Player GP Pts
Sittler 844 916
Keon 1062 858
Salming 1099 768
Sundin 762 755

Sundin signed his most recent contract in the summer of 2001, making him a Maple Leaf through to the end of the 2007-08 season. In the first three years of his current deal he has averaged 79.3 games played, 36.3 goals and 75.7 points per season. At that pace, the captain should pass Sittler's point total in 169 games, or early in November 2006, and pass Sittler's goal total in 129 games or sometime around the 2006 all-star break.

Should Sundin reach both 400 goals and 1000 points with Toronto, the Maple Leafs would become the 14th NHL franchise to have at least one player with those credentials.

Last season, the native of Bromma, Sweden passed former captain Dave Keon with his 64th game-winning goal as a Maple Leaf. Sundin finished the season with 10 game-winners, and 70 in his Toronto career.

The 2003-04 season was Mats' eighth consecutive campaign with 30 goals or more.
(Getty Images/NHLI)

If Sundin has his sights set on countryman Borje Salming's career franchise assist mark of 620, he'll likely need at least another five full seasons (unless the NHL finds a way to allow the league's top players to produce the way they did in the early 90's). At his current three-year pace of 39.3 assists per season, Sundin would need to play another 394 games to catch the Hall-of-Fame defenceman.

During his tenure with the Maple Leafs, Sundin has cemented his place in Toronto hockey lore. He has won over the Leafs faithful with his hard work on the ice and easy-going nature off it.

He was named the 16th team captain in franchise history prior to the 1997-98 season and has been honoured as one of the Leafs all-time greats during the 75th anniversary season of 2001-02.

Sundin will again participate in the upcoming 2004 World Cup of Hockey as a member of Team Sweden. The tournament takes place at various sites, including Air Canada Centre, in September, 2004.

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