Maple Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher will have a tough sell on his hands if he’s planning to ask Mats Sundin to waive his no-trade clause when the two meet in the coming days.
“I can talk to Cliff, why wouldn’t I ... and I’m sure he has all kinds of things to talk to me about, but it won’t change my position,” Sundin said yesterday before the Leafs jetted off to Carolina for a game tonight against the Hurricanes.
Since last season, when the prospect of trading Sundin became an urgent issue with the team, Sundin has steadfastly claimed that he loves Toronto and the Leafs and won’t entertain a trade to a contender so he can win what would be the first Stanley Cup of his 17-year NHL career at age 36.
With the Leafs holding little to no hope of making the playoffs, however, Sundin may rethink his position.
Fletcher may be banking on that. With Sundin becoming an unrestricted free agent July 1, now is the time to acquire prospects and draft picks for him, then consider re-signing him in the summer on a one-year contract similar to the one-year, $5.5 million deal he inked for this season.
Sundin has been linked — at least in the media — to Vancouver and Detroit, teams deemed to be the best fit because they harbour many of the Swedish stars he played with when Sweden won gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Sundin appears prepared for big changes with the team.
“We’re in a winning business and when your team is in the position we are in, there’s always going to be trade talks about pretty much all the players in the room,” he said. “If we’re not playing up to par or where we expect to be, there’s going to be all kinds of changes made.
“We’ve already seen that this year, and as players we’re in a position where anything can happen to us. That comes with the territory, especially near the deadline, that’s for sure.”
Fletcher said earlier this week that he would be meeting with Sundin likely sometime in early February — to broach the subject of a trade. Sundin, with a relatively cheap contract, ranks among the top players potentially available at the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Sundin sticks to his guns
Maple Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher will have a tough sell on his hands ifhe’s planning to ask Mats Sundin to waive his no-trade clause when thetwo meet in the coming days. “I can talk to Cliff, why wouldn’t I ... and I’m sure he has all kindsof things to talk to me about, but it won’t change my position,” Sundinsaid yesterday before the Leafs jetted off to Carolina for a game tonight against the Hurricanes.