Sundin to reveal NHL plans in 2 weeks: report
Montreal, Vancouver, Chicago, New York Rangers said to be on shortlist
A well-rested Mats Sundin is putting himself in position to be a great holiday gift for one of the National Hockey League's 30 teams.
The former Toronto Maple Leafs captain was sitting high above the ice surface at New York's Madison Square Garden Saturday night, but don't start ordering a No. 13 Rangers jersey just yet.
"I think the next couple of weeks," Sundin told New York Newsday in reference to an announcement of his possible NHL return. "The way it feels right now, I'm going to play this year, and I'm just trying to get to the point where I'm ready to join a team."
Maple Leafs fans will be happy to know Sundin reportedly wants nothing to do with their Northeast Division rivals, the Ottawa Senators.
According to the Ottawa Sun, Sundin's agent J.P. Barry told Senators general manager Bryan Murray the six-foot-five centre has eliminated the team from his shortlist.
It's believed the big Swede, who turns 38 on Feb. 13, wants to join a Stanley Cup contender. Sundin never appeared in the NHL championship during his 13 seasons in Toronto.
Sundin has, according to reports, narrowed his choice to four teams: Montreal, Vancouver, Chicago and the Rangers.
A two-year offer worth $20 million US is said to remain on the table from the Canucks, who sit atop the Northwest standings with a 17-11-3 record.
Barry told Newsday on the weekend through an e-mail that Sundin would meet with Rangers GM Glen Sather on Sunday or following Saturday's 3-2 shootout win over Carolina. He took in the game from a luxury suite with winners from a PokerStars competition.
"The Garden [has] always been a great building to play in," Sundin told Newsday. "It's a great atmosphere."
The Rangers reportedly were pursuing Sundin in August. At the time, the Rangers had about $2 million to spend on the 2008-09 roster.
The supposed rebuilding Maple Leafs had also shown interest publicly at the start of the season, but considered themselves out of the running after Brian Burke was announced as the team's president and GM on Nov. 29.
Burke had talked to Sundin a few weeks earlier when he was GM of the Anaheim Ducks and reiterated the player wanted to join a Stanley Cup favourite.
Sundin is coming off a productive 2007-08 campaign in which he scored 32 goals and 78 points in 74 games.
He has played 13 of his last 17 NHL seasons with the Maple Leafs, who acquired Sundin from the Quebec Nordiques in a blockbuster trade on June 28, 1994.
In 1,305 NHL regular-season games, he has 555 goals and 766 assists for 1,321 points.