Peca, Leafs have a deal

Forward Michael Peca, who played for the Edmonton Oilers last season, apparently will be wearing...

Forward Michael Peca, who played for the Edmonton Oilers last season, apparently will be wearing the Toronto Maple Leafs' blue and white jersey this season. (Edmonton Sun File/Perry Mah)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

Michael Peca is set to take over Eric Lindros' locker in the Maple Leafs dressing room.

Team sources confirmed last night Peca and the Leafs have agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million US. An official announcement is expected this morning.

When reached last night, Leafs general manager John Ferguson was coy.

"I wouldn't be saying anything right now," Ferguson said. "There is nothing to formally report."

Ferguson and Don Meehan, the agent for Peca, had discussions last night after talking earlier in the day and on the weekend. Both Ferguson and Meehan said yesterday that talks had been progressing toward a contract.

At 32, Peca no longer is a spring chicken. But he wears his heart on his sleeve like few others in his profession and though he won't supply much offence for the Leafs, that's not why he is being brought in. Peca, as he showed in the playoffs with the Edmonton Oilers after a sub-par regular season, can be effective in other ways. He's good in the faceoff circle and his willingness to throw his 5-foot-11, 190-pound body at whatever is wearing the opponents' uniform has not waned. If he stays healthy, Peca will bring an element of intensity the Leafs lacked through much of last season when they missed the playoffs.

For those worried about the feud between Peca and Leafs winger Darcy Tucker, which stemmed from a hit by Tucker in the 2002 playoffs that injured Peca, it was patched up long ago. Also, Peca's arrival should kill any talk about re-signing Jason Allison.

Peca, who made $3.99 million with the Oilers, turned down an offer from another club that would have paid him more than what the Leafs were offering. Peca publicly has made no secret of his desire to play for Toronto.

A native of Toronto who lives in Buffalo, Peca twice has won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward and was a member of Canada's gold-medal Olympic team in 2002. He will join a Leafs team that did not want to invest too much in the brittle Lindros, who officially signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars yesterday.

Lindros, who intimated during a conference call that he went to Dallas because its winning tradition is not nearly as dated as the Leafs, will get a base salary of $1.55 million. Bonuses could put the total at $2.5 million. Ferguson was dangling no more than either $750,000 or $1 million, with no bonuses.

"You look at Paul Maurice, he's a great coach and should do well in getting Toronto through some tough times," Lindros, 33, said. "Who knows, they might pop through. Coming to Dallas, you look at the lineup and the quality of people, and it is a team that has a great chance to do well. I really like the fit."

Lindros enjoyed his brief stint in blue and white.

"It was fun and I had a good time," Lindros said. "The game against Dallas (when he hurt his wrist, ending his season), I wish it didn't happen. But we're moving on."


Videos

Photos