Iggy wants to make it work

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

Jarome Iginla isn't swayed by another early exit or theories suggesting there isn't enough room here for both him and Miikka Kiprusoff long term.

And to prove it, he's willing to sign on the dotted line.

Whether it be a six-year deal for $45 million or a one-year extension for whatever the market dictates, the Flames captain wants to remain the face of the franchise beyond next year.

Following yesterday's post-season wrap-up at the 'Dome, Iginla revealed his fireside chat with GM Darryl Sutter included plans to talk contract extension this summer.

"He said he's going to talk to (agent) Donnie (Meehan) sooner than later and that's great -- hopefully they want me to be a part of it," said Iginla, who becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer and can thus start negotiations this Canada Day -- his 30th birthday.

"I think things could be worked out long or short term -- I'd just like to be here for a lot of reasons. The biggest one is you have a chance to play for the Stanley Cup and at this point in my career -- in the middle or my prime or whatever -- that's what I want more than ever.

"As an organization I really think they want to be competitive every year. As a player that's all you can ask for. You can't guarantee anything but not all organizations are as committed and are in as good a shape as others."

Asked if he has any desire to test the open market next summer when he would likely command the league's top dollar, Iginla didn't hesitate.

"No, I'd like to play here and win here," said Iginla who has one year left on his three-year, $21 million deal.

"I'd like to play in a place where the passion and the red mile and sea of red are. If you could win in a place like this with that crowd it's what you want. It's amazing. It's one of the best places to raise a family in the world. The traffic isn't bad, it's safe and for my wife and I it's close to home so the grandparents can come down. It's a hockey town and when we go out as a family people are very passionate but very respectful."

What no one in the city wants to see, including Iginla, is a replay of what happened to Ryan Smyth at the trade deadline when negotiations failed and the Oilers felt they had to trade him.

"I think it would be great to have it done early and not have it come down to a deadline," said Iginla.

"Hopefully it's not a discussion during the year like Mats Sundin's was but if it is you deal with it. I'm not concerned about being the highest paid player. I'd like something that works with the team. I'm already doing all right. I'm not going to say I'm not. I'm thankful."

The question is, can two teammates making somewhere between $7 and $9 million co-exist in today's salary-cap world?

"Absolutely -- from my point of view I hope there sure is," said Iginla, who knows Kiprusoff will garner similar money next summer.

"You have to have so many parts to a team. I'd say Kipper is the best -- he gives you that chance. If we can get things solidified we can win with him."

And so, the wheels will soon be in motion to perhaps mirror mega-deals like that of Pavel Datsyuk (7 years, $47 million) and Patrik Elias (7/$42 million).

"It seems more guys are signing longer deals and if it works team-wise I think it's beneficial," said Iginla.

"I'd like to play here my whole career but I don't know what the odds are -- not many players do."


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