Goalie For Sale
To impress Jonas Gustavsson, the Maple Leafs are going to have to do better than a president.
Thursday night in Dallas, Gustavsson — otherwise known as The Monster —- was wined and dined by the Stars and the team's new GM, Joe Nieuwendyk. He threw out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers game in Arlington, had dinner with Dallas captain Brendan Morrow and even met former U.S. President George Bush at the ballgame.
Okay, we didn't say one of the best presidents. But a president nonetheless.
Gustavsson, projected as a potential No. 1 goalie in the NHL, met with Colorodo and San Jose earlier this week before going to Texas along with his Toronto-based agent, Joe Resnick. On Friday, he hits his lone Canadian stop in Toronto to meet with Leafs GM Brian Burke and the club's new goaltending coach, Francois Allaire.
Gustavsson already knows Burke well, having met with him several times in Europe this winter, and attended one of Allaire's goalie schools several years ago.
However, it appears unlikely Gustavsson will be making his decision before the NHL draft next weekend in Montreal. Instead, after his whirlwind four-city tour, he'll return to Sweden to consult with his girlfriend, and then probably make a decision in early July. For the Leafs, that means they'll have to make a decision on whether to make a qualifying offer to young netminder Justin Pogge before they know whether Gustavsson will be joining them.
Dallas and the Leafs would seem to have the best shot at landing Gustavsson, although San Jose GM Doug Wilson brought out his entire staff to meet with the goaltender this week, and Gustavsson is friends with Sharks forward Joe Thornton.