Deal close for Mats?

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

It appears likely that captain Mats Sundin and general manager John Ferguson could be toting new contracts by the end of the month, if not sooner.

Sundin yesterday was informed that he will not require surgery on the torn labrum in his hip, apparently clearing the way for a potential two-year contract for the veteran forward to be hammered out.

"We expect to resume talks soon, absolutely," J.P. Barry, Sundin's agent, said. "Taking into account the due diligence being done on both sides, we would like to continue working to get something done."

According to Barry, the Leafs have a window between June 1-15 to pick up the option on Sundin's contract.

"That means that, in order to eliminate the option, they probably have until June 15, although ideally we'd like to have something sooner."

Barry would not comment on the terms being discussed, but a two-year deal worth between $11 million and $12.5 million US is believed to be in the ball park.

Sundin was examined in his native Sweden by Dr. Anders Valentin, who is the orthopedic surgeon for the Swedish national soccer team.

"Mats has had no discomfort for several months and will proceed with his normal summer protocol," Barry said.

Ferguson was asked if there were concerns about Sundin's ailment flaring up again if the Leafs captain does not go under the knife.

"We received positive information," Ferguson replied.

As for Ferguson, he presented his plan and budget for the 2007-08 season to the board of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., yesterday.

All signs indicate that the proposal was approved, meaning Ferguson's job, barring a change of heart from his superiors, looks to be safe.

"It was a positive meeting," MLSEL chairman Richard Peddie said. "We know the direction he wants to go.

"John has a contract for next season. John is running the hockey team and is acting like the GM, recently signing Ian White and working on a number of other things."

Ferguson, who has one year remaining on his deal, would like an extension, and some insiders suggest an agreement could come as early as today.

Ferguson, who already has held discussions with restricted free agents Nik Antropov, Carlo Colaiacovo, Staffan Kronwall, Jay Harrison and Alexei Ponikarovsky, heads back to Russia today as part of the Team Canada management staff at the world hockey championship.


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