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Dreger: Will Sundin go to Montreal?

Darren Dreger
6/21/2008 12:13:14 AM
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Is it a sure thing that the Canadiens will get something done with Mats Sundin? 

No.

The Canadiens do have exclusive negotiation rights with Sundin, though, and you have to assume that there is some pre-arranged deal between Montreal and Toronto just in case something does get done. So if Bob Gainey and the Canadiens are able to lure Sundin out of potential retirement and sign him before July 1 when he would hit unrestricted free agency, there would be some level of compensation to make it worthwhile for Cliff Fletcher and the Maple Leafs.

Gainey spoke with Sundin on Thursday and there are a couple of things to consider here. He will continue to speak to the Sundin camp, mainly through agent J.P. Barry, on Saturday.  But Sundin is not one hundred percent convinced he's coming back to the NHL at all.

And while the Canadiens do have exclusive rights to negotiate with Sundin, that only lasts until July 1.

It's a big year for the Canadiens - it's their 100th anniversary - but there is absolutely no guarantee Sundin will sign with Montreal. If he wants to come back to the NHL next year, he could still wait until July 1 and then look at the open market.

I think Saturday could be very interesting for certain teams.  Keep in mind that four of the six Canadian teams made deals on Friday. The Oilers and Canucks were quiet on the trade front. 

That could change quickly. Vancouver GM Mike Gillis acknowledged that he's received calls from other GMs with interest in defenceman Kevin Bieksa, but it would take a sweet, sweet deal to get him from Vancouver. How sweet? Maybe Erik Cole of the Hurricanes, or Justin  Williams? I don't think Tuomo Ruutu gets it done, but that's the kind of thing we look forward to on Saturday.

Also, keep an eye on Joni Pitkanen of the Edmonton Oilers. He's another possible target for the Hurricanes.

Darren Dreger

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