When Nik Antropov came to the Maple Leafs in 1999-2000 as a shy newcomer from Kazakhstan, Mats Sundin was there to help him adjust to North American life.

The transplanted Winnipeg Jet couldn't be happier that Sundin's No. 13 banner will be raised on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, prior to the Leafs' game against the Montreal Canadiens.

"Obviously, he was a great role model for everyone he played with, from old guys to young guys," Antropov said Tuesday. "I learned a lot from him on ice and off the ice. The way he takes care of people, I haven't seen so many guys do that. The Toronto market is tough to play in, and some guys were hiding from the media and stuff like that.

"He was a great person and a great hockey player. I talk to him once or twice a year through e-mail."