Stajan centre of attention

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

The carrot is dangling before Matt Stajan.

A playmaking centre, Stajan has spent the past few months this season skating on a line with Phil Kessel.

That's as good as it gets when you're on the 2009-10 edition of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Now part of the Flames, acquired Sunday in the seven-player trade, Stajan could end up with Jarome Iginla on his right wing.

Even with Iginla going through a tough season, especially the past couple of months, that's a serious upgrade.

It may not start that way, but you know the Flames will eventually see whether something clicks between Stajan and Iginla.

"I like to pass the puck and find guys who can shoot the puck, so maybe there will be a fit there," Stajan said Sunday afternoon before making his way to the Stampede City.

"All I can do is try my best ...hopefully make the best out of any situation I'm in."

By dealing away Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and prospect defenceman Keith Aulie for Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White, it's obvious the Flames are trying to add offence in their quest to climb the standings from eighth spot.

Hagman already has 20 goals this season -- more than any Flames player other than Iginla -- and White's offensive numbers exceed Phaneuf's totals.

White is likely going to be part of the powerplay, Hagman appears to be a perfect winger on that unit.

And Stajan, who's on pace for a career season with 16 goals and 41 points through 55 games, gives Calgary another option up the middle, amidst a group of centres who haven't produced as expected this season.

"I'm really excited," admitted Stajan, who is due to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

"I don't know who I'm going to play with or where I'm going to play, but whoever it is with, I'll try to make the most of it.

"I've been lucky to play a lot of minutes here in Toronto the last few years with some key players."

Admittedly, Iginla doesn't know a lot about Stajan, but he is always game to skate with a player who can feed him the puck.

"We don't see him a lot but we know he's a good young player who is having another good season," Iginla said. "We've had a lot of trouble scoring goals."

Stajan will need to overcome the upheaval.

The second-round pick in 2002, Stajan, who hails from Mississauga, has spent his whole career with his hometown team, so the deal was rough news to wake up to.

"It does come as a shock," Stajan said. "I've been in Toronto my whole career.

"It's definitely hard to wake up to, but at the same time, very excited to go to a hockey city, a team that's right there in the playoff mix, and to go there with three other teammates that are pretty close.

"I'm looking forward to it. I'm gonna miss Toronto because it is home, but you've got to move on.

"It's a new chapter in all of our careers."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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