Center wants to make most of 'unrestricted' freedom

BARRIE, Ontario -- Eric Lindros wasn't surprised the New York Rangers didn't pick up the option on his contract, and signing with a Stanley Cup contender is his top priority.

Last month, the Rangers declined to pick up the option on Lindros' $10.25 million contract, making the 31-year-old center an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his 13-year career.

"At 10 or 11 million dollars, there was no way in the world they were going to pick it up. I wouldn't pick up my own option," Lindros said Monday at a charity golf tournament. "That being said, I've talked with a few teams, but I don't think there's any rush in doing anything."

Monday was one of the few times he's been able to swing a golf club this summer after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery three months ago.

Lindros spent his first eight seasons in the league with the Philadelphia Flyers, where he had his best season in 1995-96, scoring 47 goals and 68 assists. Over the past three seasons in New York, however, the former first overall pick in the 1991 draft has seen his offensive numbers drop off significantly, due in part to the eight concussions he's suffered in his career.

"I'm at the point right now where I want to win a Cup," he said. "You're looking for what's a good fit for you and how you can help an organization."

Last season, he had 10 goals and 22 assists in just 39 games.