NHL

Sundin meets with Leafs' Fletcher and Nieuwendyk

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Darren Dreger
9/5/2008 5:39:46 PM
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Sources tell TSN Mats Sundin and his representatives JP Barry and Claes Elefalk met with Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher Friday morning. Joe Nieuwendyk, recently hired as Fletcher's assistant was also involved in the discussions.

Sources say Fletcher outlined his plan for the team this season and assured Sundin that Toronto will keep the door open for the 37-year-old captain in the event he decides to resume his career.

"It was a very relaxed meeting," said Barry on AM640 Radio in Toronto. "It was a chance to reconnect since Mats was in town and talk about the changes on the Maple Leafs and make sure Mats was aware of everything that was going on with the team."

Sources say Sundin is also expected to meet, or speak with the Montreal Canadiens before returning to Europe on Monday.

The meeting is out of courtesy and Sundin has not narrowed the field of teams he might be interested in because he has still not decided on his playing future.

Sundin, who is in Toronto for the inaugural Festival Cup charity hockey game at Air Canada Centre, continues to mull over his future plans as NHL training camp approaches.

"Whatever happens to me, whether I'm not going to play tomorrow or whatever, I know Toronto's always the team in my heart," Sundin said Thursday. "When I retire, whenever that happens, that's not going to change."

As many as six teams have expressed interest in Sundin's services, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers.

And when Barry was asked if it was a matter of either rejoining  the Maple Leafs or retiring, Barry made it clear other teams are in the mix.

"No, I don't think that's the case but I think the decision-making process is down to Toronto and another team because that's the way he's always felt," Barry told AM640 Radio.

The unrestricted free agent said he was flattered by the suitors over the summer, and added that he cherished the time he spent in Toronto. The Leafs' most recent captain explained that no matter what happens, he'll always remain in close ties with the city.

"This is the best hockey town to play in, in the world," Sundin added. "Right now, the Toronto Maple Leafs don't have the best hockey team in the world. The fans in Toronto certainly deserve to have a team that competes for the Stanley Cup every year."

When asked the latest date when Sundin would return to the NHL, Barry provided a rough timeframe.

"January 1, maybe. Not many players would come back after a date like that," Barry told AM640 Radio. "He listens to everything everyone has to say but he's just not there yet to make a decision."

Last season, Sundin enjoyed one of his best seasons, finishing with 32 goals and 46 assists for 78 points in 74 games and leading Toronto in scoring for the fourth straight year.


Mats Sundin (Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
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