VANCOUVER — The Sedins twins seem to be slip, sliding away.
According to a TSN report on Saturday, Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis and J.P. Barry — the agent for unrestricted free agents Henrik and Daniel Sedin — could not bridge a considerable gap in contract negotiations late Friday night at the entry draft in Montreal. In fact, the report suggested that Gillis did not table a counter-proposal to the identical 12-year, $63 million U.S. contracts being sought by the Swedish duo. The Canucks have had five-year deals on the table for some time, but Gillis is loath to go much beyond that term.
The prospect of losing the Sedins to free agency opens up a host of possibilities. Gillis could go after unrestricted free agent forwards Marian Gaborik and Michael Cammalleri on July 1 to fill the offensive voids. And maybe unrestricted free agent centre Mats Sundin becomes a more viable option now at reasonable dollars.
Last season, Daniel led the Canucks in scoring with 31 goals and 51 assists while Henrik had 22 goals and 60 assists.
Meanwhile, another free-agent option for Gillis has evaporated. The Florida Panthers have traded Jay Bouwmeester's negotiation rights to the Calgary Flames for pending unrestricted free agent Jordan Leopold and a third-round draft pick. Bouwmeester, 25, played his entire six-year career with the Panthers after being selected third overall by the club in 2002. He had 15 goals and 27 assists in 82 games last season.
Leopold, 28, was a second-round pick of Anaheim in 1999. He played three years in Calgary before joining Colorado for two-plus seasons. He was reacquired by the Flames on March 4.
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