There's a new player in the Mats Sundin sweepstakes.
NHL sources have told Sun Media that Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke is not wanting the former Maple Leafs' captain to wind up with the Vancouver Canucks, so he plans to meet with Sundin this week in Los Angeles to let him know the 2007 Stanley Cup champs would love to have him.
While Sundin had an informal meeting with Canucks GM Mike Gillis last week in La La Land, Burke sticking his nose into the process at this point could change where the 37-year-old Swede ends up.
Burke would have to shed salary to get Sundin, but the belief is he is willing to do so.
The Ducks only add to the long list of teams interested in Sundin. The New York Rangers, the Montreal Canadiens, the Ottawa Senators, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning all have called to check on Sundin's availability. The belief is there is little chance he will return to the Leafs, who have a $7-million offer on the table.
There is talk of a December return for Sundin, who hasn't resumed skating but is expected to be back on the ice next week.
ALL BETS OFF IN VEGAS
The NHL won't be taking a gamble on Las Vegas anytime soon. While Sin City often has been pegged as the next stop for the league, the indications are the group led by Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer (of CSI fame) has backed off on its interest in building an arena and pulled its bid off the table.
Kansas City, which has an arena run by Los Angeles Kings owner Philip Anschutz, is considered the frontrunner if there is a decision in the next couple of years that Nashville, Florida or Atlanta are no longer viable markets.
AROUND THE BOARDS
This much is known: Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is the leading candidate to be behind the bench for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics. That only makes sense with Wings VP Steve Yzerman as executive director of Team Canada ... Gillis was telling anybody who would listen last week he is not going to trade star D Mattias Ohlund. But if he doesn't get him signed before the trade deadline, then a move is a strong possibility. Gillis has admitted "teams have called" on all his players, and that means there is interest ... After telling the New York Rangers he is going to shop around, LW Brendan Shanahan is looking for a new home. The problem is the teams he wants to play for -- Philly, New Jersey, Washington, Montreal and Boston -- are all close to the salary cap. The Habs might make room, but the Colorado Avalanche is one of the few teams that could actually afford him right now. The Carolina Hurricanes could as well ... The whisper is the salary cap will climb from US$56.7 million to about $59 million next year. Many are predicting it will go down, but the economic slowdown likely won't hit the NHL revenues until the 2010-11 season.
RUMOURS DU JOUR
Expect to see the Sabres move LW Ales Kotalik, who is making $2.5 million, before the March 4 trade deadline ... The Chicago Blackhawks also will consider moving LW Martin Havlat and his $6-million salary.