The quest for the services of Fabian Brunnstrom is entering a crucial stage, the Swedish prospect's agent said yesterday.
"There are about six or seven teams, and we will cut that down to two or three by the end of the week," J.P. Barry said. "We're driving toward making a decision by early May."
The Maple Leafs are on a list of six teams, along with the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars, which have submitted proposals/offers to Barry.
Leafs assistant general manager Jeff Jackson told Sun Media earlier this week he thought the Leafs were one of two or three clubs on the short list. Though Brunnstrom and Barry, who could get another offer from a seventh team today, have not made a decision yet, it's clear the Leafs are at the forefront.
The Vancouver Canucks all but had Brunnstrom signed, but that fell apart when general manager Dave Nonis was fired last week.
"The hockey culture, the city, and the fact there is a great amount of opportunity," Barry said when asked what Brunnstrom finds attractive about the Leafs, who have not participated in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2004.
Brunnstrom, a 23-year-old forward, had nine goals and 28 assists in 54 games as a rookie for Farjestad in the Swedish Elite League this past season.
It's thought Brunnstrom would be looking for an entry-level contract in the range of $2 million US a year, including bonuses.