It's crunch time.
With exactly one week remaining before the NHL Trade Deadline, things are heating up around the league, but especially for Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher.
We know that the Silver Fox has been receiving trade offers for his top stars for some time now; it's simply a matter of him convincing them to waive their no-trade clauses, which is certainly easier said than done.
As was suggested by one radio host in Toronto last week, it is getting to the point where every Leaf game has the possibility of being the last for Toronto captain Mats Sundin. The next installment of this saga will be tonight when the Leafs host the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Air Canada Centre. It is virtually guaranteed that Mats will suit up tonight, and highly likely he will be in the lineup on Thursday when Buffalo travels up the QEW.
In order for Sundin to be traded, he needs to be presented with a deal he cannot let the Leafs turn down. There are rumors flying everywhere that packages are being put together in order to make this happen. Whether that is true or not, Mats still has the final say.
Given that, it likely will not be a simple one-day process and a yes or no answer. Sundin will want time to mull things over and take all things into consideration. This process will most likely take two to three days. Since Fletcher has not received any offer of significance yet, and it is already Tuesday, there is very little chance of Sundin being in another uniform before this weekend.
Moreover, trades are not usually made at these GM meetings in Florida this week anyway. Fltecher will take the best deals presented to him down south and bring them back to Toronto with him to discuss with Sundin; and ultimately, his bosses at MLSE who are likely going to want to approve, or at least offer their opinion, on any such deal.
The whole Mats Sundin trade fiasco will likely not come to an end until one week from today, when an absolute final decision needs to be made on the part of Sundin.
Therefore, while each time he takes to the ice could be the last for captain Mats, my money is on Monday at Ottawa being the last time he suits up in blue and white this season. After that, it could be the red and white of Detroit, or the black and orange of Anaheim, but really, your guess is as good as mine.
Congratulations to Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray for pulling a deal that most likely upset the chemistry of his dressing room and prompted a three-game losing streak that has seen the Sens lose sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. Who knew that Patrick Eaves and Joe Corvo were such vital parts to that hockey club? More from the Sens is sure to follow given their recent failures.
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