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Twin billing

Lyle Richardson
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Henrik and Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks are both scheduled to become UFAs next summer. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

News

Twin billing

Lyle Richardson
By:

The status of the Sedin twins is quickly becoming a hot topic in Vancouver.

Forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin are both eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer and their future with the Vancouver Canucks was cast into doubt this past spring when new GM Mike Gillis suggested during his introductory press conference they might not be the foundation the Canucks should build around.

Gillis has since backpedaled from those remarks and reports out of Vancouver last week indicated he’d made a contract offer to the Sedins in early July, although there’s no word if the offer still stands or if the twins made a counter-offer.

Gillis met with the Sedins for the first time in Vancouver last week to discuss the team’s future over dinner.

Last April the twins suggested they might be willing to accept less than market value to remain with the Canucks, but given what their value is, that discount probably won’t be less than $6 million per season, each.

Daniel and Henrik have faced criticism from some fans and pundits in Vancouver over a perceived lack of determination stemming back to their anemic offensive output in the 2007 playoffs, but the reality is they remain the Canucks’ top offensive forwards.

Unless Gillis can find players of equal or greater value to replace them with, he has no choice but to re-sign them either during the season or immediately afterward.

It might be to Gillis’s advantage to re-sign them sooner rather than later as their asking price could increase over the course of the season.

• The Montreal Canadiens officially dropped out of the Mats Sundin sweepstakes late last week, using their available cap space to acquire center Robert Lang and his $4 million salary from the Chicago Blackhawks and signing defenseman Patrice Brisebois to a one-year contract.

They might not be the only club to give up on waiting for Sundin to decide his future, as the New York Rangers reportedly gave him until Tuesday to make a decision or they’d consider other options, the most likely being re-signing veteran winger Brendan Shanahan.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Sundin’s former team, remain open for his possible return, but are focusing on playing the season without him.

The Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers are believed to still be interested, but the Canucks’ dire need for offensive depth and the Flyers’ lack of cap space could have those two dropping out of the bidding if the big center doesn’t make a decision by the start of the season.

Sundin appears to have other options with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators. Both clubs have contacted his agent, J.P. Barry, to express interest, but they’re considered long shots to land Sundin.

• Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland completed re-signing his key free agents for this season and has now turned his attention toward next season’s, specifically Conn Smythe winner Henrik Zetterberg and playoff sniper Johan Franzen.

Reports out of Detroit last week claimed Holland had begun talks with Zetterberg’s agent, but appeared to be holding off on opening negotiations with Franzen’s agent.

Both players have expressed a willingness to remain with the Wings and while both could receive substantial raises, they could be less than market value.

• While the Red Wings look at re-signing two of their best players, the same cannot be said for the New Jersey Devils.

Forwards John Madden and Brian Gionta are both eligible for UFA status next July and, according to the New York Post, neither has been contacted by Devils GM Lou Lamoriello regarding a possible contract extension.

The Post observed Lamoriello doesn’t have a good track record of retaining his UFA players, having lost Scott Niedermayer, Bobby Holik, Scott Gomez, Brian Rafalski and Joe Nieuwendyk in recent years to the free agent market.

Lamoriello also has a tendency to not trade his impending UFAs during the course of a season, so while Madden and Gionta will likely be fodder for the rumor mill, it’s unlikely they’ll be shopped as long as the team is in playoff contention.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.

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Twin billing