For the next two days, we're running 13 of our top memories of Mats Sundin as a Maple Leaf. There are more to choose from but Sundin captaining Sweden to Gold in 2006 and his years as a Nordique won't make an appearance on the list. For help, I enlisted Mats Sundin's biggest fan Eyebleaf to help come up with and number the list. It's far from exhaustive and your mileage may vary on our choices but these were the 13 that came immediately into our minds so consider it a small token of our appreciation for one of the greatest Leafs of all-time.
This has been a fun exercise for me in that I spent a lot of time watching highlight videos of Mats Sundin. I also realised that Leafs fans embraced Mats to a large extent much sooner than I had realised. That's a problem in that on the Leafs Nation podcast I said it came with this goal but it definitely came sooner.
I don't remember Sundin getting his 1000th point against Edmonton and beating Sittler on a fluke against the Islanders doesn't really fit the Sundin canon but his 500th goal? You could not write a better script.
As always, he was a trailblazer for European and Swedish players. He entered the game with Calgary with 497 career goals. He polished of the 490s with a classic powerplay goal (one-timer from his off wing) and a lucky bounce at even strength. Then, in overtime, he picked up his 500th in a similar fashion as so many goals: on his own and through a superb individual effort. He steals the puck, drives across the blueline, and then unleashes the clapper that launched composite sticks over Kiprusoff's glove hand.
Mats Sundin always had a flair for the dramatic. Never was that more evident than on the night of Oct. 14, 2006, when Sundin scored his 500th career NHL goal, becoming the first Swede to do so. It was Sundin's third goal of the game -- and fourth point -- and came in overtime; shorthanded no less. Mikka Kiprusoff's still looking for it, actually. I'll never forget the look on Bryan McCabe's face as he was about to embrace Sundin after the goal; an iconic image for Leafs fans, no doubt.