TSN, ESPN and Sportsnet are all reporting that the Mats Sundin sweepstakes are down to two teams: The Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers. It's believed that Sundin will make a decision in the next 48 hours or sometime before Friday, which happens to be the NHL's Christmas trade freeze deadline. Sundin's agent J.P. Barry will be meeting with Canucks GM Mike Gillis on Tuesday, while Sundin is back in Sweden for "personal" reasons. Meanwhile, Barry denied a report from the Fan 590 in Toronto that Sundin has signed with the Rangers. Brochu's take: Maybe, just maybe, the Sundin saga will be over this week. All indications seem to point with Sundin signing with the Rangers, who will have to do some major lineup shuffling to fit him in. This is unconfirmed, but I hear Bob McKenzie is going on a hunger strike until Mats signs.
Sportsnet's Doug MacLean also reported that Sundin refused a $7.5 million a year contract from the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting rumors that the Minnesota Wild and Atlanta Thrashers may be close to a trade. Writer Michael Russo reported that Thrashers GM Don Waddell attended both Wild games in California, and during the first intermission, "Waddell and Wild GM Doug Risebrough looked to be having a serious conversation", reports Russo. Brochu's take: Hmmm, definitely something to chew on. There's been a lot speculation about goaltender Nicklas Backstrom's contract negotiations...could something be up? Source
The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed goaltender Fredrik Norrena on waivers.
Brochu's European rumor roundup:
St. Louis Blues forward prospect Nikolai Lemtyugov has suddenly quit the AHL Peoria Rivermen and returned to Russia. Brochu's take: I'm assuming he was frustrated about toiling in the AHL, and probably could make more money in the KHL. I will always remember him as the guy with the white skates. Source
The opening game of the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championship is to be held in Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, home of a top-league German soccer team, Schalke 04. The stadium has a potential capacity of 75,976, which would break the outdoor attendance record for a hockey game. Source
Defenseman Matt Kinch has left the San Jose Sharks organization and has signed with DEL club EHC Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams. Brochu's take: Another fantastic name for a hockey team.
According to Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star, some KHL teams might overpay Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski next year to lure him to come to Russia. Grabovski is due to be a RFA next summer. Source