The Maple Leafs had better hope Swedish goaltending sensation Jonas Gustavsson didn't come down with a case of indigestion during his visit to Toronto yesterday.
Gustavsson's Sweden-based agent, Par Larsson, said the goalie's ultimate decision as to where he will play next season will rest on a "gut feeling," more so than money or playing time. Larsson reiterated that the Leafs are serious contenders for the goalie's services.
"I think they've turned the corner," Larsson said yesterday of the Leafs. "I like (GM) Brian Burke. He has a great reputation. But we're still not close to making a decision. We'll see what Jonas thinks after the trip. I expect we'll make a decision in one to two weeks.
"This trip is more or less to get a sense of the organization," Larsson said of Gustavsson's tour of Toronto and the Leafs' facilities yesterday.
Contrary to earlier reports, Larsson said Gustavsson, considered by many to be the best goaltender outside of the NHL last season, would accept an assignment to the minors, although not on a permanent basis. In that sense, Toronto would be in a favourable position, with its minor-league team based here.
"We think he's ready to play (in the NHL), but if the organization feels he needs some games in the minors, we're not afraid of that," Larsson said.
He added that Gustavsson would have no problems backing up Toronto's No. 1 goaltender Vesa Toskala.
"We're looking where he will get the best situation and the best situation for him may not be as starter," Larsson said. "But we are looking for him to play a lot of games. It's a complex situation. We want him to play, but we don't want to be on a losing team."
As for the pressure of playing in one of the most important hockey markets, Larsson doesn't believe that would be a problem for Gustavsson, known as the Monster.
Gustavsson, who posted a stellar 1.96 goals against average and .932 save percentage for Farjestad in the Swedish Elite League last season, visited the four NHL cities this week that have expressed interest in signing him -- Toronto, Colorado (Denver), Dallas and San Jose.
Teams wouldn't be able to offer Gustavsson more than a first-year salary of $900,000 US next season, but the Leafs are in good shape under the salary cap to significantly improve on that in subsequent years.
Meanwhile, there are rumours Burke is interested in signing Florida Panthers free agent defenceman Jay Bouwmeester this summer.
Burke also is looking to move up in the draft next week in Montreal. The Leafs hold the No. 7 spot, but Burke has said he is looking to draft London Knights star John Tavares, or, as a possible Plan B, rugged Brandon Wheat Kings forward Brayden Schenn, brother of Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn.
There's also talk that Burke would be interested in Vancouver free-agent forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who reportedly want a 12-year, $63-million extension.