Sundin to decide Thursday: Canucks GM
Mats Sundin will reveal Thursday whether he plans to play in New York or Vancouver, according to Vancouver Canucks rookie general manager Mike Gillis.
Gillis met Tuesday with agent J.P. Barry, who represents Sundin, and reiterated Vancouver's willingness to ink the coveted free-agent forward for $20 million US over two years.
"He is going to make a decision Thursday about the final destination," Gillis said, noting that this season's salary would be pro-rated to roughly $5 million US.
"We reiterated 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."
Asked if he sweetened the offer to Sundin, Gillis said: "I'm not going to talk about the terms of our presentation. I'm optimistic we have done everything we can possibly do to create a situation that we think is the correct one."
The former Toronto Maple Leafs captain has posted 555 goals and 766 assists for 1,321 points in 1,305 NHL games since he was drafted first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989.
Sundin, 37, earned $5.5 million US last season, when he led the Toronto Maple Leafs with 32 goals and 78 points in 74 games.
He became an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and reportedly whittled the field of interested teams from a dozen to two — the Canucks and New York Rangers.
"We would not be going through this process if a decision had been made," Gillis said. "Every time I have spoken to Mats, he has conducted himself with the utmost integrity.
"I find it difficult to believe that, after going through this process, that we would not get a clear indication at the outset as to what he planned."
The Rangers covet Sundin because they have scored just 88 goals in 33 games, but speculation persists that they need to free up $2.8 million US in salary cap space to sign him.
Might the Canucks be willing trade partners with the Rangers?
"We will see how it plays out," Gillis said.
'He is a great teammate'
Sundin has played the last 13 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Maple Leafs, who acquired him from the Quebec Nordiques in a blockbuster trade on June 28, 1994.
The nine-time all-star is Toronto's all-time leader in goals (420) and points (987).
"He is a great teammate," said Canucks forward Kyle Wellwood, who spent three-plus seasons with Sundin in Toronto. "He is a consistent 30-goal scorer.
"He is a monster, defensively, at the end of the game. There is a lot of things he can do for our team."
"There is no point in getting excited if, in the end, he is not coming here," Canucks captain Roberto Luongo noted. "We will see what happens in the next few days."
With files from the Canadian Press