OTTAWA – On Thursday night, a phone call was placed by Bob Gainey to Mats Sundin at his home in Sweden. You can bet that any player in the Habs’ dressing room would be more than happy to cover those long distance charges.
Having secured exclusive rights from the Maple Leafs to speak to Sundin, Bob Gainey and the Canadiens will have every opportunity to lure the coveted free agent-to-be to Montreal.
While rival teams were huddled around their respective draft tables focused on the long-term futures of their teams, Gainey was busy inching closer to a deal which would immediately bolster an already potent Canadiens offense.
“I got to speak to Mats late last night,” revealed Gainey of the most talked about phone call in the NHL right now. “We didn’t talk for very long. I would qualify it as an introduction, on both sides. I let him know that we believe he would be a good fit for our team and that we would now have the time to get to know each other even better over the next couple of days.”
Gainey has an exclusive window to negotiate with Sundin, leading up to when the 37-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
“We didn’t get into any specifics yet like dollar figures,” confirmed Gainey. “Mats knows that we have every intention of showing him why Montreal is the place for him.”
The Canadiens’ GM is well aware of what the longtime Leafs captain could bring to his up-and-coming young team.
“Acquiring an experienced impact player like Sundin will not only help our younger players, but also allow us to better compete with the top teams in the league,” explained Gainey. “We’ve been patient and built our team through the draft. We’ve reached a point where it’s time to bring in the right veteran players to get us where we want to be.”