OTTAWA -- Mats Sundin is staying in Toronto -- at least for the remainder of the season.
The Maple Leafs captain refused to waive his no-trade clause on Sunday after he and agent J.P. Barry met with Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher for several hours.
"I have always believed I would finish my career as a Toronto Maple Leaf so the actual request was still a very difficult one for me to contemplate," Sundin said in a statement released by his agent J.P. Barry on Sunday night. "I have spoken to and listened to my family and those closest to me about this issue. In the end, there is no right decision in a situation like this one."
"I cannot leave my teammates and join another NHL club at this time," Sundin added. "I have never believed in the concept of a rental player. It is my belief that winning the Stanley Cup is the greatest thing you can achieve in hockey but for me, in order to appreciate it you have to have been part of the entire journey and that means October through June. I hope everyone will understand and respect my decision."
Sundin was considered one of the Leafs' top trade pieces entering Tuesday's NHL trade deadline.
But the 37-year-old center has repeatedly said he doesn't want to leave Toronto, where he has spent the last 13 seasons.
The decision ended a drama-filled weekend for the 37-year-old Sundin, who was first approached about waiving his no-movement clause in a meeting with Fletcher on Thursday. Sundin, who has 62 points this season, will become an unrestricted free agent July 1 and Fletcher had hoped to possibly trade him and recoup some assets to help rebuild the floundering club.
"He advised us that he's staying where he is, which is his contractual right, and that at this time he's not interested in entering into a deal for next year," Fletcher told The Canadian Press.