Mats Sundin is staying in Toronto.
After deliberating over the weekend, the Maple Leafs captain has told interim general manager Cliff Fletcher that he will not waive his no-trade clause.
Mats Sundin, right, could leave the Leafs when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
(Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)
"I have carefully considered the team's request that I waive my no-trade clause," Sundin said in a statement released by his agent J.P. Barry.
"I have always believed I would finish my career as a Toronto Maple Leaf so the actual request was still a very difficult one for me to contemplate. I have spoken to and listened to my family and those closest to me about this issue. In the end, there is no right decision in a situation like this one.
"I cannot leave my teammates and join another NHL club at this time," Sundin added.
"I have never believed in the concept of a rental player. It is my belief that winning the Stanley Cup is the greatest thing you can achieve in hockey but for me, in order to appreciate it you have to have been part of the entire journey and that means October through June. I hope everyone will understand and respect my decision."
No hard feelings from Fletcher
Considered one of the NHL's most coveted players as Tuesday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline approaches, Sundin has repeatedly stated he wouldn't agree to a move, though the possibility had existed that he would reconsider.
With Sundin, 37, due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, he was an attractive short-term option for teams seeking help for the stretch run of the regular season and the playoffs.
Fletcher would likely have sought to trade him for younger players or draft picks to help the floundering Leafs — seven points out of a playoff spot — rebuild for the future.
But that won't happen, thanks to the no-trade provision Sundin received from former general manager John Ferguson last June, when the sides inked a one-year, $5.5-million US deal that many considered a bargain for the team.
"He advised us that he's staying where he is, which is his contractual right, and that at this time he's not interested in entering into a deal for next year," Fletcher, in Toronto, told the Canadian Press on Sunday night.
No hard feelings, Fletcher said.
"Hey look, when people sign contracts, both parties are happy with it when they sign them," said Fletcher. "The club was happy to give the player a no-trade contract and the player exercised it — what can you say? It's the business of sport. So we'll live with it, we'll move on and we'll do what we can to start moving the club forward."
Buyers turning to Hossa?
Sundin and Barry met all day Friday in Toronto and another four hours Sunday in Ottawa, where the Leafs play the Senators on Monday night.
Sundin has 25 goals and 37 assists in 63 games this season. In 970 career games with the Maple Leafs, Sundin has 413 goals and 971 points, both franchise bests.
Several clubs were believed to be interested in Sundin, including Detroit, Anaheim, Montreal, Ottawa and San Jose. But they'll have to look for help elsewhere, perhaps in the form of Atlanta Thrashers winger Marian Hossa — another player slated for unrestricted free agency and likely on the trade block.With files from the Canadian Press