Trickle down

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Before your imagination gets the better of you, there won't be any Mats Sundin sightings in a Manitoba Moose uniform over the holidays.

However, the fact the Vancouver Canucks signed the skilled Swede to a one-year deal worth a reported $8.6 million contract (that will be pro-rated) on Thursday is sure to have a trickle-down effect down on the farm.

That effect won't begin to take place until at least Dec. 27, when the NHL holiday roster freeze comes to an end.

Sundin plans to report to the Canucks on Dec. 27, but might not get into game action until early January.

The Canucks are carrying 22 players on their active roster but currently have three players (Rick Rypien, Ryan Johnson and Sami Salo) on the injured list, they'll eventually need to make at least one move to make room for Sundin.

"It would be harder for some guys to climb back up with him being there, but in the same sense it pushes talent back to us as well," Moose head coach Scott Arniel said after yesterday's morning skate. "It makes both organizations stronger when you add an impact player like that. Guys recognize it's one of the Top-10 forwards in the NHL taking that spot up there. This has been building since July. I don't think anybody is shocked by it.

"It's going to force somebody off their roster and that should make us stronger."

The signing of Sundin could mean the chances of a centre like Jason Krog or Mark Cullen getting recalled are a little slimmer.

But Moose defenceman Nolan Baumgartner said the signing of Sundin shouldn't have a negative effect on morale in Manitoba's locker-room.

"I look at it a different way," said Baumgartner. "Things can happen. There are always going to be injuries and you've got to always be ready.

"You have a team you're playing for here and I believe you should play as hard as you can wherever you are at. If you get called up, it's a bonus.

"Guys should see it that if they do get called up, they might get a chance to play with a guy like (Sundin)."

Sundin's talents speak for themselves.

"Anytime you can add a player like that on your team, it's great," said Baumgartner. "He's a great leader. When you add a player with that skill level and work ethic, you can't help but get better."

Moose captain Mike Keane says Sundin brings a great package to the organization.

"He does it all," said Keane. "He's big. He's physical when he wants to be, obviously he's gifted offensively and he's an all-around player. He goes into the tough areas that some players don't and he adds that element that scares teams."

Although many experts believed Sundin would choose the New York Rangers over the Canucks, Baumgartner wasn't surprised by the final decision.

"Vancouver was one of the first teams to make a bid on him," said Baumgartner. "They wanted him right from the start and they showed an interest. They didn't push too hard, they just said 'here's the deal and if you want it, take it.'

"It's a great fit."


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