Dreger: Leafs ask Sundin for list of teams

Darren Dreger
2/22/2008 11:19:30 PM
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Toronto Maple Leafs interim general manager Cliff Fletcher and captain Mats Sundin met on Thursday to discuss his future with the team.

It's believed Fletcher asked Sundin for a list of teams he would consider playing for.

The fact Fletcher has asked for the list of teams speaks to his intent to trade Sundin, but Sundin remains in control and if unwilling can scuttle any potential deal.

Sundin has only a few days to contemplate his future with the trade deadline set for 3pm et on Tuesday, but the belief is the Leafs were hoping for a response from him on Friday. Instead, it may take the rest of the weekend for Sundin to make his decision.

"He needs some time now to reflect upon the request made by the team in order to make a proper decision," Sundin's agent J.P. Barry told TSN on Friday.

"It's an emotional time. In his heart, Mats is and always will be a Toronto Maple Leaf. He doesn't want to leave Toronto."

Fletcher also met with veteran blueliner Bryan McCabe this morning.

If Sundin clears the way for a trade, he will only do so to join the team of his choice, which will clearly limit Toronto's flexibility.

The fact the 37-year-old is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1 also hinders Toronto's asking price as it is unlikely Sundin will relinquish further control by agreeing to any extension before fully assessing his future in the summer.

Debate will rage on all fronts, no matter the outcome of Sundin's decision.

If he agrees to a trade and is moved as a rental, then the rate of return will be analyzed and compared to Sundin's value had he stayed on as the Maple Leafs franchise player for another season or two.

If he opts not to waive his no-trade and crushes any chance of the organization jump-starting its rebuild then the quiet rumblings of those critical of his decision will become deafening in an attempt to villify one of the Toronto Maple Leafs most beloved leaders.

"Toronto is a wonderful place to live with great fans and an unrivaled hockey tradition," said Barry. "Mats has loved every minute of his time here."

Detroit, San Jose, Anaheim and Vancouver are believed to be the main Western Conference contenders for Sundin, however with Sundin in full control of his destiny, an Eastern Conference team remains a strong possiblity as well, and some believe the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators will be in play.

Throughout his career, Sundin has average slightly better than a point per game. In 1,293 games he has scored 547 goals, 757 assists, for 1,304 points.

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