Leafs eyeing Forsberg

GEORGE GROSS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

The Toronto Maple Leafs may have a Swedish MAP line next season if everything works out well.

That is a line of Mats, Alex and Peter, as in Sundin, Steen and Forsberg.

Now, this is not set in stone with hieroglyphs into the walls of the ACC, but it is still within the realm of possibilities.

Not to stretch your interest too far, here is how I found out about this little gem. I wandered into the offices of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. and asked to see John Ferguson Jr., the resident general manager of the hockey team.

I was then ushered into young John's (he is 40 years old) private boardroom, a neatly furnished private boudoir adjacent to his office.

On the wall is a six-foot by four-foot photograph of the 1967 Stanley Cup winning Leaf team with autographs of the still-living players.

The GM told me that while he is not planning on going into the free-agent market, if conditions become favourable he could be interested in Peter Forsberg, the often injured Swedish warrior.

"As it stands now, we won't go into the free agent market," said John Jr.

"But things could change. We could be interested in Peter Forsberg if conditions are right.

However, in that case, we would have to make room for him in view of the cap situation."

THE OPTIMIST

With, or without the MAP Line, the Leafs GM is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season.

As he says: "Our team has the necessary depth, but our players would have to show improvement in two areas -- offence and reduce the goals against statistics."

Ferguson is not concerned about the criticism he receives in certain areas.

It doesn't bother him. But it bothers his 10-year-old daughter Emily, his son Johnny, who'll be nine years old next month, and four-year-old daughter Grace.

His five-months-old boy Nicolas couldn't care less about what certain scribes dump on paper.

That's because other children at school needle the Ferguson youngsters that their father's contract is running out and they'd have to move to another city.

The MLSEL management could put an end to it by extending Fergie's contract.


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