Sundin signing to spark frenzy

Sundin in Toronto on Sept. 4, 2008. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/SUN MEDIA)

Sundin in Toronto on Sept. 4, 2008. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/SUN MEDIA)

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Call it the Mats Sundin ripple effect.

Sundin is narrowing his choices and nearing a decision -- and that could trigger trades across the league.

"I don't know if it's going to be a big ripple, but it could mean something shakes loose and a few guys get dealt," a league executive said.

Sundin is expected to narrow his field to two or three teams -- likely the Rangers, Canucks and Canadiens -- by tomorrow and finally make a decision later this week.

His new team may have to move money -- and players -- to accommodate him. Not to mention the possibility of the losers in the Sundin sweepstakes pursuing other top players.

League sources say the Rangers are one of the frontrunners if Sundin's preference is to stay in the East. He wants the chance to win a Stanley Cup, respects president/general manager Glen Sather and would relish the chance to star on Broadway.

The Canucks actually have the cap space to give Sundin $20 million US over two years -- the offer they made in July. If they lose out, GM Mike Gillis will go shopping. The most likely targets will be the Rangers' Scott Gomez and Habs' Robert Lang.

Gomez, who is making an average of $7.3 million for the next four years, has a limited no-movement clause, but could be convinced to go to Vancouver.

SEAN OF AN OLD ERA?

It's decision time for the Stars. Sean Avery served the last of his six-game suspension last night for his "sloppy seconds" comment. Sources insist there's little chance he'll play with Dallas again. While Avery needs time to deal with his anger management issues, there are whispers the Stars have held talks with the Rangers about shipping him back to New York for defenceman Michal Roszival. The belief is the Rangers would then assign Avery and his salary to their AHL affiliate in Hartford until he's ready to play in the NHL. That would be a big commitment as Avery signed a four-year deal worth $3.875 million per season last summer.

AROUND THE BOARDS

Speaking of the Rangers, keep an eye on coach Tom Renney. There are whispers that if they don't start winning more consistently, Renney could be in trouble. If that's the case, Pat Quinn, Team Canada's coach at the world junior championship, might not be out of work long when the tournament ends Jan. 5. "It might depend on what kind of job he does with Team Canada," one league executive said ... The news wasn't good at the NHL's board of governors' meeting last week. A third of the league's teams -- Atlanta, Carolina, Columbus, Florida, Nashville, New Jersey, the N.Y. Islanders, Phoenix, St. Louis and Tampa -- are having attendance problems and are in deep trouble. Unfortunately, there's not enough room north of the border to relocate all of them ... There's talk Atlanta GM Don Waddell is on thin ice. There was speculation yesterday a change is imminent. He might not be the only GM moved. This is surprising, but the whisper is the decision to move pro scout Al MacIsaac to assistant to the president in Chicago has many believing GM Dale Tallon is on borrowed time.

OFF THE GLASS

The Oshawa Generals have informed OHL teams they're going to trade John Tavares after the world junior, but the asking price is high. The Gens want two players and three draft picks for one of the top-rated players in the next year's NHL draft ... Two unrestricted free agents skating near their respective homes not getting nearly as much attention as Sundin: Bryan Smolinski (Detroit) and Yanic Perreault (Magog, Que.) ... Top candidate for rookie of the year: Boston winger Blake Wheeler.


Videos

Photos