Mats Sundin is back in Toronto! But ...

October, 14, 2008
Mats Sundin arrived back in Toronto on Monday, but everyone wearing Maple Leafs pajamas, please take a deep breath.

He still hasn't decided what he's doing about his hockey career. He's back in Toronto to check on his house. Or so we're told!

"We all knew he would come home to Toronto in the fall," his agent, J.P. Barry, told on Tuesday. "The real question is whether he's going to stay in North America and train or go back home to Sweden."

If Sundin, 37, calls up the Leafs and asks for his equipment to be shipped to him, you'll know he's ready to start skating again.

"I haven't heard from J.P. or Mats," Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher told me Tuesday.

I think we're still looking at a December return at the earliest once he decides he wants to play. While he's been running every day and keeping in shape (he looked fine to me when I saw him in Stockholm two weeks ago), he hasn't really been skating. Once he decides he's playing, he'll probably need four to six weeks of hard on-ice workouts before joining an NHL team.

Aside from Toronto, other teams I think have some interest, to varying degrees, are Vancouver, Philadelphia, Ottawa, Tampa and the New York Rangers. The Flyers and the Rangers are at the cap and would need to make a move or two to fit in Sundin. But there's genuine interest from the Flyers in particular. The Canucks have lots of cap space.

The Leafs have kept the door open, even though they clearly are in rebuilding mode.

"If he decides he wants to play, we've gone on record and said that we'd be very happy to have him back," Fletcher said.



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