Mats, Leafs close to deal

The Maple Leafs and captain Mats Sundin are nearing a new contract. (Sun File/Michael Peake)

The Maple Leafs and captain Mats Sundin are nearing a new contract. (Sun File/Michael Peake)

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

Mats Sundin is on the verge of remaining a Maple Leaf through the 2008-09 season.

Just one month before the long-time captain is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent, the two sides are close to agreeing on a two-year deal worth about $11 million US.

As of tomorrow, the Leafs have a two-week window to pick up a team option on Sundin's existing deal. While the option would pay Sundin $4.56 million, it would still cost the Leafs about $6.33 million in cap space.

Both Sundin and the Leafs have no interest in such a setup and have worked diligently toward hammering out a new multi-year pact.

By paying Sundin in the neighbourhood of $5.5 million a season, both sides would seemingly settle on a fair compromise.

Sundin would be earning almost $1 million more had the Leafs picked up the option, while the team is saving itself some valuable cap space in the process.

"We figured Mats would be back," Leafs forward Kyle Wellwood said last night between innings at the Rogers Centre.

"Nobody in our room would ever question that. Can he still play? Oh yeah! He's got a lot left."

Nursing a nagging hip ailment, Sundin recently was told by a Swedish specialist, Dr. Anders Valentin, that he would not require major surgery. Dr. Valentin is considered one of the top orthopaedic surgeons in Sweden.

Sundin finished the 2006-07 season with 76 points.


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