Mats Sundin still dithering on future: report

Mats Sundin reportedly set an Aug. 1 deadline to announce if he'll return to play in the NHL or retire. Not so, said his agent.

Mats Sundin remains undecided about the future, so likely won't be revealing his plans on Friday after all. 

Sundin, an unrestricted free agent, reportedly had set a deadline of Aug. 1 to decide whether or not he would return to play in the NHL or retire.

But J.P. Barry, Sundin's agent, told the Vancouver Sun that the former Toronto Maple Leafs captain has yet to make up his mind.

"He did that interview in Sweden and everyone kind of pulled on that [Aug. 1]," Barry said. "Unfortunately, they pulled on a translation.

"He is not going to decide Aug. 1. People got stuck on the Aug. 1 and it was really just the month of August."

Sundin, Toronto's all-time leader in goals and points, reportedly is coveted by six teams, notably the Vancouver Canucks, who have offered him $10 million US per season over one or two years.

"I knew there would be a grace period where not a whole lot would happen in the NHL, and we are in the middle of that period," Canucks rookie general manager Mike Gillis told the Sun. "I think when things begin to happen and, if we do not have a clear idea of where we're headed [with Sundin] at that point, I think maybe we will get a little more frustrated."

"It is a reflection process he is going through," Barry said. "He is a guy who wants to be 100 per cent certain he wants to play.

"He is extremely flattered by the interest, and the ongoing interest in Vancouver and Montreal in particular. But the key is making that personal decision on playing."

'He needs more time'

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.

At 37, he remains Toronto's most prolific forward, leading the Maple Leafs with 32 goals and 78 points in 74 games last season.

Cliff Fletcher, who swung the swap for Sundin, returned Jan. 22 to the Maple Leafs as interim general manager, replacing the fired John Ferguson Jr., to help fix the floundering franchise, which missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

Part of Fletcher's reconstruction plan was to ask Sundin to waive his no-trade clause so he could peddle the long-time captain for prospects at the NHL trade deadline.

Sundin rejected the request, preferring to stay put rather than be traded to a Stanley Cup contender and possibly re-sign with Toronto as a free agent in the off-season.

But he has yet to make up his mind.

"He set his own kind of deadline to make a decision in August," Barry said. "But he is not there yet.

"There is not much more you can say. He needs more time."

Sundin has posted 555 goals and 766 assists for 1,321 points in 1,305 NHL games since he was drafted first overall by Quebec in 1989.

With files from the Canadian Press