NHL

Canucks GM Gillis says Sundin close to decision

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The Canadian Press
12/16/2008 5:05:26 PM
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VANCOUVER - Free-agent Mats Sundin will decide Thursday whether he'll suit up this season for the New York Rangers or Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis met with J. P. Barry, Sundin's agent, on Tuesday and said the star centre is close to making up his mind on where he'll play for this year.

''He's going to make a decision Thursday about the final destination,'' Gillis told reporters. ''We re-iterated our position in  all of this and formalized our offer moving forward. We feel good about our team and where we sit and what we have to offer.

''We will see how it plays out.''

The Canucks have offered Sundin US$10 million a year, which pro-rated for the rest of the season would be around US$5 million. He reportedly earned $5.5 with Toronto last season.

The Rangers are limited in how much salary-cap room they have and would have to make some deals to sign the former Toronto Maple Leaf captain. Reports are New York would have to free up $2.8 million so that Sundin could play in the Big Apple for the second half of the season.

But New York is in desperate need of offensive help. Despite sitting atop the Atlantic Division, the Rangers have scored just 88 goals this season, the same number they've given up.

New York is 10th overall in goals scored but has also played more games (33) than any other NHL team.

Sundin, 37, would also provide a wealth of experience for whatever team he signs with. The six-foot-five, 231-pound forward has spent 17 seasons in the NHL with Quebec and Toronto, having registered 555 goals and 766 assists over his career.

The nine-time all-star had 32 goals last season with Toronto. He's also the Maple Leafs' all-time leading scorer with 987 points (420 goals, 567 assists) and served as the club's captain in 10 of his 13 seasons in blue and white.

Sundin, selected first overall by Quebec in the '89 NHL Entry Draft, has also accumulated 74 points (35 goals, 39 assists) in 83 career playoff games. He has also appeared in 65 games for Sweden, recording 31 goals and 46 assists and in 2006 helped the Swedish team claim Olympic gold in Turin, Italy.

Mike Gillis (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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