Tanguay not going anywhere

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

Straight forward and succinctly, Darryl Sutter decided it was high time to diffuse the powder keg.

"I'm not trading Alex Tanguay," the Calgary Flames GM stated on the eve of the NHL's trade deadline day.

Tanguay, who has a no-trade clause, has been the subject of rumours all season. If you believe the scuttlebutt, he's twice asked to be dealt this season.

The left winger has been rumoured to be en route to the Montreal Canadiens -- first for Alexei Kovalev and lately for Micheal Ryder -- as well as the Florida Panthers for Olli Jokinen, Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Mats Sundin and on and on and on.

Sutter, who heard those rumours well into last season, said Tanguay won't be leaving town.

"You guys have made that soup for two months," he said. "Alex Tanguay is one of the top left wingers in the National Hockey League and he'll be a really good player for us down the stretch."

Tanguay, with one more season on his contract following this year, wasn't available for comment yesterday. He didn't practice, and was instead sent for an MRI after suffering a 'stinger' in his neck after being hit in the back and leaving the game in the first period of Sunday's 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.

Granted, what transpires up until the deadline -- 1 p.m. Calgary time -- could change Sutter's stance. Who knows if another team will approach Sutter with a deal that knocks off his socks.

That said, the way the GM spoke yesterday, not many Flames, if any at all, should be stressing about the deadline.

"I'm not really anticipating anything," he said when asked if he would be active, entertaining offers or standing pat. "We have a lot of players that aren't on the table.

"We're more working on trying to retain as many of our players as we can rather than going the other way with it."

In fact, Sutter met with his leadership group yesterday to give them that very message.

"The news is very clear that outside information is not information, it's just gossip," relayed Sutter, who doesn't often divulge what he's said when meeting with players. "Our core group knows how I feel about them and that's what's important, and the trade deadline does not affect what we're trying to do moving forward."

Last week, the Flames acquired defenceman Jim Vandermeer for a third-round draft choice in 2009.

Sutter said his team doesn't have holes to fill like so many other teams.

"I don't know if we have any. If the playoffs started tomorrow, we know where we'd be," he said. "We have a good team, we've done well and will continue. It's that simple. We have the foundation that allows us to be successful every year. That is a fact, it's not an opinion."

Last season, the Flames acquired defenceman David Hale at the deadline, but also brought in Craig Conroy, Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau leading up to the frenzy.

"Last year, we made Connie and Stewie and Wayne, those deals, a lot because we didn't like the mental makeup of our team and whether they could be a playoff team," Sutter said. "That's the total opposite this year. The mental makeup is a lot different."

That said, there is the possibility of a Flames trade happening today. Kristian Huselius has struggled of late and is a pending unrestricted free agent.

"You isolate unrestricted free agents, but (today) is not the deadline for unrestricted free agency," Sutter said. "It's not that big of a deal. If you're on a good team, in a good city and in a good place in terms of your career, (today) is not the deadline."

As for the marketplace, Sutter made it sound like he isn't foreseeing a huge amount of action.

"There are probably, by the sounds of it, two or three top players that will be moved, and two or three who took themselves off it. Other than that, I really don't know," Sutter said.


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