Taking a Flyer on Sundin?

Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin shoots the puck in the third period against the Buffalo...

Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin shoots the puck in the third period against the Buffalo Sabres Sat., Jan. 19, 2008. (Toronto Sun/Greg Henkenhaf)

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Is Mats Sundin going to be getting some Philadelphia freedom?

Or is the Maple Leafs captain simply going to go down with the ship?

While the Canucks and Flames have had scouts following the Leafs lately, sources told Sun Media yesterday that the Flyers might put together a package to try to pry Sundin out of Toronto.

The talk among league executives is crafty Philly general manager Paul Holmgren might be willing to send Jeff Carter and No. 1 pick to the Leafs in exchange for Sundin if the Flyers fail to bring back free-agent Peter Forsberg.

While Sundin has told any reporter who will listen he doesn't want to leave the Leafs, nobody from the organization has asked him to waive his no-trade clause ... yet.

That day could be getting closer.

The Leafs captain is saying all the right things, insisting he doesn't want to go anywhere. But if the Leafs decide they want to make a move involving Sundin, they might give him a gentle nudge.

Nobody can blame Sundin for being fiercely loyal to the Leafs, but if GM John Ferguson (if he's still running the show) gets a deal he likes, then Sundin is going to have a decision to make.

One of those decisions could be to stay put. Sundin may want to finish his career with the Leafs and could close out the year trying to help the franchise get to the post-season.

But if the Leafs decide they want to trade Sundin so they can get assets in return to help the franchise in the future, the landscape of the situation could change dramatically.

OFF THE GLASS

Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke's idea to allow teams to eat as much as $500,000 US of a contract to promote trades isn't completely dead. It will be discussed again at GMs' meetings next month in Naples, Fla., and could be implemented next year. "I really felt that it was a good idea, but I didn't believe it was something you change in the middle of the season just to benefit some teams," a league executive said ... Keep an eye on Carolina coach Peter Laviolette, whose Hurricanes are struggling mightily, leaving some NHL insiders wondering if the players have tuned him out ... Don't look now, but Boston's Zdeno Chara is returning to Norris Trophy form.

AROUND THE BOARDS

Montreal winger Michael Ryder probably wouldn't mind being dealt. Ryder hasn't performed up to expectations with only seven goals this season, but the talk is he's not exactly thrilled with the ice time he's getting from coach Guy Carbonneau. Perhaps a trade would give Ryder a new lease on life, especially when he sees the success that Mike Ribeiro is having in Dallas ... There has been talk about the future of Detroit coach Mike Babcock because his contract is up at the end of the year. The Wings already have held discussions with Babcock about an extension ... Florida prospect Michael Frolik, who is coming off a strong performance for the Czechs at the world juniors, hasn't signed a contract yet, leading to speculation he may re-enter the draft. The talk is the Panthers low-balled Frolik, the No. 10 overall pick in 2006, with their offer last summer. If Frolik goes back in the draft, he would be a top-five pick.

RUMOURS DU JOUR

Talk is finally starting to heat up with the trade deadline five weeks away. League sources say GMs are targeting the Kings, Lightning and Leafs to see if they're ready to start unloading players. The word is Kings GM Dean Lombardi has been dangling W Ladislav Nagy and Ds Brad Stuart, Jaroslav Modry and Rob Blake to see what teams are willing to offer. For Blake to waive his no-trade clause, he'll only accept a deal to a contender. Sources say Lombardi wants a player, a prospect and a No. 1 pick for Blake. As for the Bolts, GM Jay Feaster has maintained he's going to stay the course, but there's a lot of talk that if he does nothing, he'll walk the plank with coach John Tortorella. There are whispers Feaster is thinking about asking Martin St. Louis to waive his no-trade clause so Tampa can send him to Dallas for Marty Turco. Toronto, meanwhile, is trying to move Andrew Raycroft, but there isn't a lot of interest.


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