|ESPN.com: LeBrun||[Print without images]|
Get all of the latest trade talk and free-agency buzz right here at Rumor Central.
Imagine the surprise of J.P. Barry, the agent for the Sedin twins, when he hopped on a plane headed to Stockholm on Sunday evening and saw none other than Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis on the same flight.
Surprise because the agent figured talks were likely dead after a weekend meeting in Montreal that didn't produce anything. Barry arrived in Stockholm on Monday to prepare his star clients for free agency.
"We met at the draft with [Gillis], there was no counter-proposal and we basically wished each other good luck," Barry told ESPN.com on Monday from Sweden. "It was like, 'Call me if you want to.'"
To Barry, it felt like he was getting on a plane with the intent of readying Henrik and Daniel Sedin for Wednesday's start of free agency, where they would be among the most sought-after players on the market. (Last time I checked, Minnesota, Montreal and Toronto didn't have a first line. Can you spell S-E-D-I-N-S?)
In Stockholm, Barry and CAA Sports Stockholm-based agent Claes Elefalk were set to meet with the twins later Monday.
"We'll discuss the state of our negotiations and also our preparation for free agency at the same time," Barry said.
A popular theory in NHL circles is that Gillis has the hammer because the twins simply don't want to leave beautiful Vancouver. It's been their only NHL home since coming across the pond nine years ago and they love it.
But Barry says his machine-like point producers are indeed ready to bolt if need be.
"At this stage, they're fully prepared," said Barry. "They understand that the negotiations have gone on for over a year and they haven't really progressed. So they're ready to prepare for free agency, but they're also ready to listen to what Mike has to say."
Gillis, who arrived in Stockholm with Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman, was likely to make contact with the Sedin camp either later Monday or certainly Tuesday.
Barry did not want to discuss specific details of their negotiations, but it's believed the Canucks' last offer to each twin was for five years with a salary just north of $5.5 million a year on average. The twins' last offer, as we reported last week in Las Vegas, was a whooping 12-year deal that averaged out at $5.33 million a year, although it was front-loaded to average around $7 million a season over the first nine years.
So, in other words, both sides are far apart and the clock is ticking.