Kukla's Korner Hockey
The New York Rangers were granted permission by Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher to talk to free-agent-to-be Mats Sundin before the Montreal Canadiens were last week, Sportsnet has learned.
My opinion on this, which is only going to get bigger the next ten days, Mats doesn’t sign with anyone until after July 1st.
update 8:14pm, from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
There are other teams interested in Sundin - the New York Rangers and Detroit are believed to be among them - but Fletcher dismissed a Sportsnet report Monday that the Leafs had given the Rangers permission to talk to Sundin before giving the same opportunity to the Canadiens.
“That is absolutely untrue,” Fletcher said yesterday. “We gave exclusive negotiating rights to the Montreal Canadiens and nobody else.”
more on Sundin…
added 8:33pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The truth is, this is all happening too fast for Sundin, who doesn’t feel comfortable being pressured into deciding right now which NHL team he wants to play for because he hasn’t gone through his annual introspection of whether he is even going to play another season.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Those close to him doubt he will retire, let alone come back to the Leafs. He is said to still be miffed at Toronto management for simply not coming out and saying: “Mats does not want to be traded and will not be traded” weeks before the Feb. 26 trade deadline instead of allowing the speculation to drag out in public as it did.
Keeping that in mind, why would he now want to do the Leafs any favours by coming to terms with the Canadiens prior to the opening of the unrestricted free agent period one week from tomorrow?
Were he to do that, the Leafs would receive compensation from the Habs as part of a conditional deal that already is in place.
Why not, instead, wait to go on the open market July 1?
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
If you were to ask Ken Holland, GM of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, to identify the quality his scouts look for when it comes to the annual entry draft, his answer would be succinct.
“Skill,” he’d say, just as he’s said it many times before.
Nine teams followed that mantra when it came to making selections with the top 10 picks of the NHL entry draft on Friday night.
One did not.
That team would be your Maple Leafs.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
While Gainey usually wears a poker face whenever prodded to reveal such plans, a source close to the Habs GM suggested he might wing across the Atlantic for a face-to-face chat with Sundin as early as Wednesday.
Whatever Gainey does, this much is certain: The two teams do have a deal in place in the event Sundin signs with Montreal. There is speculation that Toronto might receive a 2009 first-round pick in return, but that, to this point, is merely draft-floor speculation.
About 15 minutes before Gainey had his chat with the hordes of reporters at Scotiabank Place yesterday, Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher was being peppered with Sundin queries of his own.
“I talked (to Mats),” Fletcher said. “I just have to do my job and do what’s best for the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is what it is.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In some ways, Gainey shares many of the same qualities as Sundin. They are both soft-spoken, resolute and like to do things in orderly fashion.
Accordingly, the first order of business for Sundin is to determine if he’s going to play at all next year. Thus far, he has not provided his agent, J.P. Barry, with any guidance along those lines. Until he does, all the other talk is just a lot of white noise.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
We received permission to talk with him late yesterday and it was even later in Sweden,” said Gainey. “We didn’t talk numbers. We wanted to introduce ourselves and we got to know a little bit about each other and we’ll get to know each other better.”
Gainey said he planned to have additional talks with Sundin tomorrow or Monday.
Sundin would give the Canadiens the impact centre they have been seeking. He’s 6-foot-5 and 231 pounds and has been one of the NHL’s elite players since he arrived from Sweden to join the Quebec Nordiques in 1990. He’s 37 but he’s coming off a 76-point season and has had at least 72 points in each of the past 12 seasons.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Sources tell TSN the Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to encourage Mats Sundin to decide his playing future before July 1.
In the past 24 hours the Montreal Canadiens were granted persmission by the Maple Leafs to speak to Sundin’s agent about the possibility of the 37-year-old signing in Montreal.
Update 3:45pm ET (alanah): For a blast from the past, below is a video of Sundin when he was selected in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. I don’t think I would’ve even recognized him…
From the St. Louis Blues,
St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today the club has acquired a 2008 3rd round draft pick, 70th overall, from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Jamal Mayers.
“I want to thank Jamal for everything he has done for the Blues and the city of St. Louis,” said Davidson. “We wish Jamal and his family nothing but the best in his hometown of Toronto.”
added 7:18am (Paul), from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Blues President John Davidson said the trade of Jamal Mayers late Thursday night is a precursor of something else that could happen today.
“It’s all part of us trying to put stuff together and we’re not done yet,” Davidson said. “This is the start of something ... that’s the best way of saying it. We’ve got other stuff going on, but can’t say anything because it’s not finalized. We’ll try and get that done (today).’‘
Davidson added: “I don’t want people to think we just traded Jamal Mayers for a draft pick and that’s the end of us. The more we work toward putting something else together, the more the draft pick position could become a part of (tonight’s) action. We’re working it here and we feel we’re getting close.”
“We continue to hear that the Leafs want to trade Bryan McCabe. Bryan has a no-move clause in his contract that was negotiated with and agreed to by the Leafs. Bryan is not inclined to waive the no-move clause,” Pulver told Sportsnet.ca. “He enjoys living and playing in Toronto and the team is a first-class organization. Bryan has logged more minutes than any other Leafs player in the past seven years and given his heart and soul to this franchise. If the Leafs want to move forward without Bryan they should buy out the remaining years on his contract.”
- Ian Pulver, agent for Bryan McCabe, via Sportsnet…
Globe & Mail writers Matthew Sekeres, Eric Duhatschek, Allan Maki and Tim Wharnsby have put to together an assessment of the draft situation for all six Canadian teams. They take a look at each team’s available picks, specific needs, salary cap space and the progress of their top picks from last year.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, NHL Talk, NHL Entry Draft, | KK Hockey | Permalink
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So here’s how Cliff Fletcher proves he’s not yesterday’s man.
For the Maple Leaf general manager – let’s drop the interim tag, shall we? – to demonstrate he has a true sense of vision beyond finding a way just to get the club back into the playoffs, he needs to do something other than contradicting himself and hiring old friends.
So how about coming away from this weekend’s draft in Ottawa with not one, but two quality first-round picks?
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