Sign of times for Iggy

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

Knowing not even Ryan Smyth, the heart and soul of the Edmonton Oilers, was safe on deadline day was enough to strike fear into any fan of the Calgary Flames.

After all, their captain is due to become an unrestricted free agent after next season and it's tough to imagine Jarome Iginla in anything but Flames colours.

Surprised by the Smyth deal -- like everyone else, he couldn't imagine a situation in which the Oilers would part with the gritty face of the franchise -- Iginla was even more caught off guard when asked whether it made him eager to ink an extension before the trade deadline next season.

A genuine laugh was followed by an uncharacteristically stuttered response as Iginla gamely continued his good-natured answer.

"That's a long time away. I just signed a three-year deal," Iginla said of the US $7-million pact that takes him to the end of the 2008 campaign. "But time goes quick.

"From my point of view, I really enjoy playing here and I want to win here."

He paused for a moment, still smiling, and continued.

"You're the first guy who's asked that ... I'm thinking more (about) this year but I really enjoy playing here."

Smyth has a fondness for Edmonton equal to Iginla's love for Calgary. But the face of the Flames understands how a deal like the Smyth swap could come to fruition.

"I was surprised but if they couldn't agree on a deal, you can see both sides of it," said Iginla. "With any free agent, at the end of the day, if you're not going to get him, you don't want to lose him for nothing.

"You hope you find common ground. Those cases do happen but there's a lot of guys that do re-sign. "There are a lot of guys that the situation does work out for with a team and the player -- you see guys signing extensions."

Flames fans must hope that will be the case for Iginla before this time next season.


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