Canucks make Sundin whopping offer

Mats Sundin was offered a two-year contract by the Vancouver Canucks worth $20 million US, a source has told the Canadian Press.

Vancouver has forward Backes snatched back by St. Louis

Mats Sundin was offered a two-year contract by the Vancouver Canucks worth $20 million US, a source has told the Canadian Press.

Sundin became an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday for the first time in his career. He is in Europe and has yet to decide whether he's going to resume his NHL career.

Sundin finished with 32 goals and 46 assists for 78 points in 74 games last season, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs in scoring for the fourth consecutive campaign.

Sundin has posted 555 goals and 766 assists for 1,321 points in 1,305 NHL games with Toronto and the Quebec Nordiques. He was selected first overall by Quebec in the 1989 draft and traded five years later to Toronto in a multi-player deal that saw Wendel Clark go the other way.

Sundin, 37, has yet to play in a Stanley Cup final.

Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher had given Montreal and the New York Rangers permission to talk to Sundin's agent, J.P. Barry, prior to July 1. Sundin has been vacationing with his fiancee in Europe while contemplating whether to continue his career.

Barry has publicly confirmed the Vancouver offer.

Sundin earned $5.5 million US last season on a one-year deal that included a no-trade clause.

Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh and Alexander Ovechkin of Washington currently top next season's salary list at $9 million apiece.

Blues say no-go to Backes play

Were Sundin to sign with Vancouver, he would join former teammate Kyle Wellwood, who was picked up on waivers last week by the Canucks and reportedly agreed to a one-year deal on Tuesday worth slightly less than $1 million US.

The Canucks also tried to purloin young forward David Backes, a restricted free agent, by signing him to an offer sheet of $7.5 million US over three years. The St. Louis Blues expressed their intention to match the offer within hours, well ahead of the seven days they had to respond.

"[Team chairman] Dave Checketts 'was very supportive of this decision to sign David,'" Blues president John Davidson said. "David is a major part of our youth movement in St. Louis and we expect him to play a huge role as we move forward."

Backes recorded 13 goals and 18 assists in 72 games with the Blues last season. The Minneapolis, Minn., native also impressed for the United States at the 2007 world championship.

With files from the Canadian Press