<
>

Lindros, Maple Leafs negotiating contract

TORONTO -- Eric Lindros' dream of playing for the
Toronto Maple Leafs could be closer to coming true.

Citing undisclosed sources, TSN of Canada reported Wednesday
that Lindros is on the verge of signing a contract with the
Maple Leafs, pending an MRI exam.

The Toronto Star reported on its Web site that talks might have hit a significant hurdle, however.

Signing Lindros would have a major impact against Toronto's salary cap than had been expected. The Star reported all money in a contract offer to Lindros must be guaranteed, making the signing of the center with a lengthy history of injuries a much riskier move.

Lindros reportedly had been offered a one-year, $1.5 million
contract by the Columbus Blue Jackets, who removed themselves
from the running for his services.

A native of London, Ontario, Lindros hoped to be traded to
Toronto after a fallout with Philadelphia Flyers general manager
Bob Clarke in 2000. After missing the entire 2000-01 season
due to post-concussion syndrome and a contract dispute, Lindros
instead was dealt to the New York Rangers in August 2001.

The most heralded prospect since Mario Lemieux, Lindros was
drafted first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1991 but vowed
not to play for the struggling franchise, forcing a blockbuster
trade to Philadelphia in July 1992 that involved seven players
and $15 million going to the Nordiques, including 2003 Hart
Trophy winner Peter Forsberg.

Lindros himself won the Hart Trophy in 1995 but has not been the
game-changing player envisioned by critics, partly because of
numerous concussions and other injuries sustained due to his
physical style of play. Lindros' younger brother Brett was
forced into early retirement after just two seasons with the New
York Islanders due to head injuries.

A six-time All-Star, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Lindros has scored 30 or
more goals seven times during his 11-year career, including
four 40-goal seasons. The 32-year-old enjoyed his best season
in 1995-96, recording career highs of 47 goals, 68 assists and
115 points.

In 678 career games with the Flyers and Rangers, Lindros has 356
goals, 461 assists and 1,285 penalty minutes.

Information from SportsTicker was used in this report.