Leafs rumors: More teams pursuing Sundin, Fletcher expected to take control

Toronto also may sign Alfredson-like star for 2008-09

From the latest rumors, the Mats Sundin sweepstakes appear to be getting hotter, as there are now a number of teams interested in the Maple Leaf captain.

Al Strachan reports that Vancouver is very interested in Sundin’s services, but Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. is asking for an “astronomical” return, including Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler.

Moreover, Scotty Morrison says that the Canucks are the front runners presently, but grumpy Dave Nonis doesn’t want to pay an exorbitant price for a rental player.

Morrison also says that the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames are also pursuing Sundin, and the Flames were recently scouting Leaf games.


Speaking of the Flames, FTP cites an article from the NY Post that Calgary would make Alex Tanguay available as part of a package going to Toronto. Like Sundin, Tanguay has a no trade clause in his contract. Meanwhile, Lance Hornby of The Sun reports that C Matthew Lombardi or LW Dustin Boyd are other interesting name that could be involved in a deal.



And as already reported on HTR, the Philadelphia Flyers might also be interested in Sundin as a “Plan B” if they don’t sign Peter Forsberg. The Flyers may be willing to dangle C Jeff Carter and a No. 1 pick.


Meanwhile, another interesting rumor has popped up. The Leafs appear to be hot to sign unrestricted Swedish free agent Fabian Brunnstrom for the 2008-09 season. The Canucks and Red Wings are also said to be interested in signing the talented 22-year-old left-shot forward.

Pierre LeBrun of the Canadian Press compares Brunnstrom to Daniel Alfredsson, a ringing endorsement to say the least.

Brunnstrom is currently playing for Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League where he has 29 points in 35 games.

LeBrun says that the Leafs in particular have wooed Brunnstrom heavily, sending an organizational representative to Sweden to literally wine and dine him and meet his family, and promote life as a Leaf by way of DVD.



Lastly, on the GM front, both Lancy Hornby and Howard Berger report that Sunday’s game against New Jersey could have been John Ferguson Jr’s last as GM of the Leafs. Former GM Cliff Fletcher is due back from Mexico later this week, at which time JFJ could be canned finally. It is expected that Cliff Fletcher will assume control of the team for the remainder of the season.



83 Responses to Leafs rumors: More teams pursuing Sundin, Fletcher expected to take control

  1. the_word says:

    I understand that they may have to take back some marginal contracts, but the last thing the Leafs nedd is another four to five million dollar Tanguay like contract.  I like the deal with Calgary above, giving Calgary's cap issues, not sure if its possible (however if they can that rumored Tanguay for Ryder deal, the Sundin deal makes sense, but thats a long shot at best).  I can see the Leafs taking back any expiring contract no matter the price.  Its pretty typical in NBA deals (a league much further evolved in terms of building teams and making trades in a cap system).  I'd have no issues taking back expiring contracts. 

    I think a deal with a team like Vancouver or Calgary or any Canadian market will be tough.  In Canadian markets the trade will be carefully dissected by media, fans and management.  So it may be hard to get value for Mats.  Take the reaction of Vancouver fans on this board as an examplar.  It'd be easier to ship Mats somewhere like Carolina, Altlanta or SJ that can throw away prospects without having any PR backlash.

  2. habsrock99 says:

    For accessibility, yes Toronto is number one but it is also the most violent city in Canada(Saw that on a City Pulse Year end News special a few weeks back). But just like you, I don't really want to get in on the issue all that much. But I have to make just one more pijnt and it's that a lot of people don't actually want to live in Toronto, it's just they are forced to because of jobs and other uncontrollable reasons.

  3. the_word says:

    There is this thing called the salary cap, I don't know if you've heard of it, but in order for the Leafs to be able to have both Tanguay and Sundin next year, they would need significant cap room which they don't have.   But hey, we probably have room to resign Steve Thomas, would you like to have Stumpy back?

  4. the_word says:

    I don't have the exact numbers but the only expiring contracts on the team are a couple of RFAs who are likely going to get a raise (i.e. Steen, because Toronto loves rewarding medoicre players with inflated value) and Sundin.  Toskala extension kicks in next year, so that more than another three million dollars against the cap (he's making less than a million this season and the extenstion is 4 million per season). 

    As for Raycorft, I'd rather suffer through one more season with him as a backup, no reason to sacrifice cap space over two years.  Let be honest, the Leafs aren't going anywhere next year anyway.  More Raycorft means better draft position.

    I'm just curious, where are you getting the figure 55 million for next year's cap?

  5. mojo19 says:

    Fair enough. And of course, higher population = higher crimer rate. I'm sure the next most violent cities would be Vancouver, Montreal etc.

    We'll have to agree to disagree, but I love it, and I think its a great place to live.

  6. mojo19 says:

    Ideally management should make the moves they think are best for their team, and not worry about the thought's/feelings of media members. But at the same time, you're probably right, PR is important.

  7. the_word says:

    Well PR is important everywhere but Toronto.

  8. 92-93 says:

    I'm surprised that this brunstrom news is 'news' because its been circulating out there for awhile now – namely that the three teams led by swedish captains are heavily persuing him.

    i havent put much stock into it or into this particular player just because i've been too lazy to research the kid.

    in any case, the hype over this kid could get to hysterical levels quick (and no, this article doesn't constitute hype or hysteria – just provides a link to a hockey journalist who makes certain comparisons).

    – Tanguay isn't and shouldnt be coming to the leafs.

    – Sundin will bring a decent return from a team like Vancouver. but i dont see either Edler or Bourdon coming back the other way.

    – i have a sinking feeling – that might be just paranoia – that Fletcher is being groomed to come in and now 'blow up' the leafs but to actually make trades for other, older NHLers to help the leafs make a run for 8th. i hope i am wrong and probably am – but it could just be case of MLSE looking at JFJ and thinking he is not the right guy to make trades to get Toronto to the be-all-end-all 8th spot and they see Fletcher as that guy.

    – San Jose and Vancouver are the most likely trading partners for the Leafs – and this is NOT simply because of the Eklund rumours. i've see quite a few sources suggest this AND looking at both teams, the leafs have players who fit needs on those two playoff bound teams:

    San Jose could use a PP defenceman – or at least a D-guy who can put up some points, and a LW and the leafs have plenty of both. The Sharks also have the cap space to take on some contracts and i would expect the return for these players for the leafs would be MINIMAL since the purpose is to clear cap space, not to raid the Sharks of picks or prospects.

    CRAIG RIVET leads the SHarks D in points with 5 goals and 21 pts. ouch. Kubina alone has played fewer games and has put up 23 pts. I dont see the leafs parting with Kaberle so i think it comes down to White or Kubina going to the Sharks. As for LW, I see the Leafs offering Poni (and NOT Blake or Tucker – although that would be nice to see).

    hopefully we'll see back-to-back regulation losses to the Caps (combined with wins by the Bolts over the Oilers and Sens) to help CEMENT THE NOTION heading into the All-star Break that the leafs are a 15th place team (19-24-8) in the East and need to make some significant, shrewd, long-term changes. 

  9. 92-93 says:

    oh i think it wont take much work to look here on HTR and see examples of people asking for the stars and sun for Sundin.

    it is possible to overvalue him and we've seen it many times.

    like i said before, if you make a trade proposal and have non-leaf fans saying your asking too much for him and leaf fans saying youre not asking enough, youre probably onto something.

  10. lafleur10 says:

    hahaha!!that's a good one leafy!!!

  11. lafleur10 says:

    mojo19 and leafy i went and tried to find golf leafs golf and pronger44 and both accounts have been deactivated!!so i'm sure he/they will resurface for you leafy with a new handle!!!!

  12. B-leafer says:

    Amen !! to the last line on the last post. I know I'm part of Bill Watters "Tank-Nation" for the remainder of this season.

    On the other hand it might not be such a bad thing if the leafs do put a few winning streaks together here and there before the deadline. It might just work to our advantage, by that I mean we could showcase a few players (Tucker, Blake, Kubina, raycroft and of course Sundin) just enough to make a GM or too salivate enough to take a shot at one of 'em and in Sundin's case convince Cal/Sj/Van to part with more. Theres always time to tank after the fire-sale !!

    Just a thought.

  13. lafleur10 says:

    only one problem with some of the guys you listed some have n.t.c so unless they agree to wave them it's not going to happen and your screwed because unfortunately your stuck with them!!the only one that doesn't i believe is blake and you guys won't get much if anything for him in a trade!

  14. the_word says:

    Its a good rule of thumb to think along the lines of 'if both parties feel their giving up too much its a fair trade'.  In this case though, the Leafs should have plenty of suitors and the Leafs will have leverage in the trade market, for once.  Toronto being sellers is a new position for this organization.  Sundin is simply  put, is the perfect rental.  Someone will get desperate by the deadline (they always do).  Second rate prospects and a late first round pick is settling.

  15. habsrock99 says:


    Just to clarify one thing, the only reason I even brought it up is because I've lived in a lot of cities growing up, namely London, Calgary, Kelowna, Quebec, Barrie, Winnipeg and Saskatoon and when I was 17, I stayed in Toronto for 2 weeks because I had like a sports package with Argos and Blue Jay tickets and some sort of tour of the city or something, can't remember, and I just saw so much shit goin on while I was there that it kinda bugged me.

  16. DJTOKid says:

    Not edler but Bourdon for sure. I wouldn't make the trade for anything less then Bourdon, raymond or jaffery, and a first round pick. I would use last year as arguement for high return. Sundins worth it too, a team like Vancouver to give up as little current roster to aquire a player that could put them over the top is worth it.

    Think about the tight style van plays, lots of close games. Sundin is THEY greatest clutch player to play the game. I wouldn't want to face them in the playoffs if they were to aquire Mats.

  17. arigold says:

    Blake should stay.  He's gotten off to a rough start this year, but he's starting to prove that he will overcome his health issues.  Sudin deal should be solely for picks.  Maybe a prospect or two, but no one that should be inserted into the lineup immediately.  If you trade Mats, your writing off the season, and if they choose to do so, they shouldn't be bringing in more salary.  Load up on picks, whoever will part with the most of them, and cut your losses. 

    Other players I would try to unload.  Obviously Razr, even for nothing just to give him a fresh start, and put Pogge as the official backup.  Wellwood, although young and talented, doesn't benefit the Leafs as much as he would another team.  Strong playoff contender would covet a player like Wellwood because he's creative, and can keep control of the puck down low on the PP.

    Ian White, if there are any takers, anywhere, please dear God take the worst player in the history of hockey off of our hands.  We don't even want anything in return for White, just get him off of our team please. 

  18. mojo19 says:

    Blake – stay, go, I don't care what they choose to do with him. I agree he's a good player but if they get solid offers for him, I think they should move him.

    Mats – I have to say that the package should not just be for picks, they should definitely look at prospects because its safer, you can see exactly what you're getting, picks are all question marks. Not that all prospects work out, but if you can land a prospect who is really starting to pan out and looks like he could be NHL ready by next year, you go for it. And same deal for roster players, we can take back roster players if they're young. ie Lombardi from Calgary, along with a couple picks and prospects.

    White- he's nothing special, but he's not the worst player on the team, and especially not the worst player on the team ever. I've seen your comments about White before and I gotta say I don't get it.

  19. Hockeyjunkie says:

    The Leafs situation is tougher then one might think.  Yes, they need to rebuild and fire JFJ immediately.  And I think Cliff Fletcher would be a decent interim GM until the end of the season.  Let's be honest, we don't want JFJ handling the possible Sundin trade or any other moves to help our future.  As for Sundin, I really hope he decides to waive his no-trade clause because this will be the first process of rebuilding the Leafs.  The should try and get draft picks, prospects and players or some type of combination.  I would say Sundin could get a first round pick, a good young player and a prospect or another pick.  He is definitely worth that and is the best player that would be available should he decide to waive his clause.  There are other players out there but Sundin is a first line center, who is still putting up great numbers on a junk team.  Yes, Hossa might be available, but he's a no show in the playoffs and has no leadership.  Blake is also available, but he is not the same player as he was a few years ago.  Forsberg would be a great pick up, but his health is still a concern.  Sundin is the best guy out there as a playoff rental.  The problem with the leafs rebuilding process is that they have many guys, with long-term deal and no trade clauses.  Macabe has a no movement clause, Tucker has a no trade clause, Kubina can only be traded to a certain list of teams, which probably don't want him at 5 mill a year.  Kaberle can however be traded, only if the Leafs miss the playoffs this year, which is a good possibility and in 2009.  So there isn't much any GM will be able to do.  They should get rid of Raycroft asap.  Fans hate him, his confidence is shot and there is no need when they can bring in Pogge or Clemenson.  There are rumors about trading Json Blake as well, but he's got 4 years left at 4 mill a year and is underachieving.  The one thing they need to get right is the possible Sundin trade though, so they should be prepared for that and move on from there.  If he wants to re-sign in the off-season, that's not a bad idea, but he should also be willing to take a pay cut or the leafs shouldn't re-sign him.  I know he is their best player but he will need to understand they need to spend money on others to make the team that he loves, that much better.

  20. BruMagnus says:

    No problem.
    Thank you for bringing him up.

  21. 92-93 says:

    as bad as MLSE are with the on-ice product and off-ice dysfunctionalities, it doesnt compare with MIGHT be unfolding with the canucks — http://www.thestar.com/Sports/Hockey/article/296214

  22. 92-93 says:

    i really like that kid Mason Raymond – from what i've seen of him – i think he is easily their best forward prospect and maybe best prospect period. his play is progressing by leaps and bounds.

    Canucks are not that good prospect-wise (although i am sure some canuck fans will try to convince you otherwise). Nonis knows this.
    in any case, i hope to see guys like Raymond, Bourdon, etc in leafs uniforms. we'll see. 
  23. 92-93 says:

    he is the perfect rental. no question. 

    but i can see a guy like Kaberle who has 3 years left on his deal getting much more in return than Sundin.
    some of the trade proposals here are asking for Kaberle-like returns IMO … not returns for a clutch superstar who will be with them for a few months.
    again, that sentence indicates that a) he is a superstar and should bring in a decent return but b) he is a rental after all.
    who knows what the millieu will be – certainly being a seller is ideal this year as it was last year. but perhaps some GMs are wising up to what happened last year at the deadline in terms of rentals (mind you, Sundin is not a typical playoff rental – he is  a guy who CAN bring a team to a Cup – contrary to what many leaf and non-leaf fans might say).
  24. the_word says:

    Obviously Kaberle is more attractive than Sundin.  If the Leafs were to deal Kaberle they could put him in a larger package to get a player like Hossa or Lecalvier (if either were to hit the trade market).  Trading purely for prospects or picks though, that's a different story.  I don't expect two first round picks for Sundin, but a Forsberg like return should be expected. 

    The fact that Sundin is just a rental shouldn't only be characterized as a weakness.  A lot of teams would like the fact they could land an impact player, then be off the hook for 5.5 in cap space going into the off season.  Not having to commit Sundin after this year as its upside.

  25. leafy says:

    I like Blake.  I know his goals are down this year, but I like the way he carries the puck through the offensive zone with his speed and his overall energy level.

    I disagree on White.  I'm well aware that he hasn't had a great season, but his overall problems stem from decision-making blunders, ie, getting caught pinching, etc, rather than a lack of skill.  I like his speed and his ability to handle the puck when under pressure.  His chief downside is his size, but that could be overome as he gains experience.

    You think White is the worst defenceman ever?  Have you forgotten the days when we had Cross, Lumme, Erikson, Khavanov, Berg, etc.

    Even worst, we really had some awful D back in the '80s, ie, Jim Korn, Bill Stewart, Dave Farrish, Dale Degrey, Greg Hotham, etc….

  26. jarcpitre says:

    For the salary cap I googled it and came up with a few good sites with the proper numbers. You are correct Toskala gets 4 mil next year, that was figured in the numbers already. As for the 55 mil that was reported earlier in the season by Bettman as a projection and I remember them talking about the same thing on the hot stove. Nothing was confirmed on the 55mil but that is what the projection is. Normally Bettman brings it up at the allstar break, so we should all know more about it then. Cheers.

  27. lafleur10 says:

    DJTOKid you said sundin is the greatest clutch player to play the game!!that statement there makes me laugh and makes you look foolish and unknowledgeable!!maurice richard was the greatest clutch player in the history of the game!!prriod ………patrick roy was right up there too!!!

  28. DJTOKid says:

    Yah I guess being one goal behind Joe Sakic for all time game winning goals, and being tied for the most over time winners IN NHL HISTORY wouldn't make him that clutch. That WOULD probly make me foolish and unknowledge to have that opinion, wouldn't it?

    You're a goof bud.

  29. lafleur10 says:

    do you know what a cluch player even is ?you ass clown it is winning the big games coming through when your team needs you the most in the clutch!!to score the goal that wins them a series or a cup!!sorry sundin is not clutch!how many of these has he won?none!!maybe in the regular season but definately not in the playoffs when it really matters!!!that's why i referenced richard,and roy,and sakic!

  30. the_word says:

    I'll check it out, thanks.

  31. DJTOKid says:

    If you put no stock into what players do in the regular seson then why do they play the games? Aren't those the games that decide who gets in the playoffs? If you have watched him play over the last 14 years with the leafs you would know what I mean. He is VERY clutch, nd has a nack for scoring the goal your team desperatly needs. For you to not even consider him as clutch is crazy.

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