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Leafs give rival Montreal Canadiens permission to speak with Mats Sundin

Toronto Maple Leafs' Mats Sundin, from Sweden, skates during warm-up prior to NHL hockey action in Toronto,Saturday Feb.16, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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Toronto Maple Leafs' Mats Sundin, from Sweden, skates during warm-up prior to NHL hockey action in Toronto,Saturday Feb.16, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - Is the Mats Sundin era over in Toronto?

The Maple Leafs have given the rival Montreal Canadiens the green light to speak with their captain, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"We have given Montreal the exclusive rights to talk to him up until 12 noon on July 1 when he becomes a free agent," Fletcher said. "I have nothing to say about it at all. That's the only thing I'll say. It's not in my best interest to say anything else, it's not in Montreal's best interest and not in Mats' best interest."

But a deal was far from done, Sundin's agent said.

"At this point Mats still hasn't decided if he wants to play, let alone where," J.P. Barry of CAA Sports said Friday. "But obviously the Leafs are trying to facilitate a decision."

Through a Canadiens spokesman, GM Bob Gainey also confirmed his NHL club received permission to speak with Sundin.

Sundin has been with the Maple Leafs since being acquired in a trade from Quebec at the 1994 draft. He is the franchise leader in points and goals.

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