Hockey

Sundin will go back to Toronto: Swedish poll

Mats Sundin may be unsure of where, or if, he wants to play this coming season, but readers of a Stockholm daily newspaper seem to know: Toronto.

Leafs aren't out of picture, says their free agent captain

Mats Sundin may be unsure of where, or if, he wants to play this coming season, but readers of a Stockholm daily newspaper seem to know: Toronto.

Aftonbladet put up an online poll on its Sportbladet website Monday, asking fans where they think the free agent centre will wind up, and the results were strongly in the Maple Leafs' favour, at 37 per cent.

Almost 32,000 people responded to the poll, showing the Sundin saga is grabbing as much attention in the veteran NHLer's homeland as it is in Canada.

Moving down the list, 27 per cent believe he will be a New York Rangers forward, 5.7 per cent picked Montreal and 10.5 per cent went for Other. As for retirement? About 19 per cent.

"Other" would include the Vancouver Canucks, a team Sundin denied signing a deal with despite a story in the weekend Aftonbladet that claimed he had.

Sundin did tell the paper he would likely make a decision on his future within the next few weeks, and he did not rule out a return to the Leafs, for whom he's played 13 of his 17 seasons, scoring a solid 78 points on 32 goals last year.

Vancouver offered the Swedish star $10 million per year for two seasons, hoping to replace Markus Naslund (signed with the Rangers as a free agent) and have someone to help the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik.

Nothing is out of the picture, Sundin told Aftonbladet, including a return to the Leafs, or a decision to retire. 

Toronto's offer is thought to be in the $14 million over two seasons range for their 11-year captain.

The Leafs, who missed the playoffs for the third straight season, tried to unload Sundin at the deadline on Feb. 26 (Montreal was thought to be hugely interested), but the centre would not drop his no-trade clause.

The Canadiens came back into the picture before the NHL free agency period opened on July 1 by making a deal with the Leafs for exclusive negotiating rights with Sundin.

Though flattered, the player was unmoved.

Joe Nieuwendyk's addition to the Maple Leafs' hockey office has caught Sundin's attention, however, as he told Aftonbladet the former star brought a winner's mentality to Toronto.