And no, not because they're pursuing the vacillating Swedish superstar, but because they hope Mats Sundin's decision — retirement, Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver — will unstick the currently stuck trade market, allowing them to bundle off a defenseman, most likely Frantisek Kaberle, for spare parts.
Sundin is supposed to move from perpetual indecision to partial decision by Friday, announcing whether he intends to play this season but not necessarily choosing where, which could take a few more days. (Given how long it's taken the NHL's Brett Favre, minus the championship, to get this far, who knows how long that will take?)
Anyway, at that point the losers in the Sundin Derby will presumably attempt to spend the money they had reserved for Sundin. The trickle-down effect should provoke a team seeking a defenseman or needing to get above the salary floor or both to make an offer for Kaberle or another Carolina blue-liner.
At least, that's what the Canes hope.
"It not necessarily will change our position in terms of moving a defenseman, but I do think it will open the market up once he decides where he’s going," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said. "It won't leave teams that are interested in him sitting waiting to see if they’re going to be the team."
The Los Angeles Kings and Atlanta Thrashers have money to spend to reach the $40.7 million salary-cap floor. Ironically enough, those are Kaberle's two previous teams.