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Sundin needs more time to decide future

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Mats Sundin needs more time to decide where he wants to play next season, or if he wants to get back on the ice at all.

Sundin, one of the top forwards still available on the NHL free agent market, said Wednesday he isn't ready to pick a team after receiving lucrative offers from four clubs a day earlier when the league's summer shopping season began.

"I would like to thank all the teams who have expressed such sincere interest in my services," Sundin said in a statement released by his agent, J.P. Barry. "The numerous options provided to me were impressive and I have no doubt that each one presented a unique opportunity for me to finish my career in a terrific hockey environment."

Sundin, the longtime Toronto Maple Leafs captain, is home in Sweden as he ponders his future.

"I spent a great deal of time yesterday reflecting upon the teams who stepped forward and the opportunities that each provided," he said. "Unfortunately, I am simply not close to being ready to make a decision about resuming my career at this time.

"I wish all the teams the very best and thank them for their interest."

One of the offers came from the Vancouver Canucks, who are set to make Sundin the highest-paid player in the league. Canucks general manager Mike Gillis confirmed that his team's bid was for two years, and the price is believed to be $20 million.

"Our offer makes him the highest paid player in the league, so I'm optimistic that we've made the best offer he can receive," Gillis said Tuesday. "We think we present an opportunity he would like. The city is a great city to live in, we've had tremendous success with Swedish players in the past who've loved living here and want to stay here. So I think we offer a lot of positives in addition to the financial.

"We put a major offer together to try and attract the player we felt was the best center iceman on the market and it's an indication we are prepared to do what it takes to attract the best players here. With guys of this caliber, they have the opportunity to take a little bit longer to wait on things."

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