One hot rumour had Jay Bouwmeester packing his bags for Philadelphia.
Some speculated the smooth-skating defenceman was on his way to Vancouver.
Others figured he was headed home to Edmonton or even ticketed for Toronto.
“Nobody likes hearing that stuff,” Bouwmeester recalled Monday.
“Although every year it’s the same thing, so I guess you kind of get used to it.”
It won’t be Bouwmeester’s name at the centre of the rumour mill this time.
Now in the first season of a five-year deal with the Calgary Flames, Bouwmeester can be pretty certain he’s staying put at Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline.
He couldn’t be so sure last season. On the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent, Bouwmeester’s future was up in the air right until the deadline, when the Florida Panthers made a controversial decision to hang on to the two-time all-star defenceman for a playoff push.
Bouwmeester, like everybody else, had no clue what would happen.
“People can ask you all they want, but you’re kind of in the dark about it,” Bouwmeester said. “Someone else is kind of holding your fate, so from that standpoint, you can’t really get too hung up on it one way or another. No matter what happens, you’ve gotta finish the year, and it doesn’t matter where you are, you’ve got a job to do.”
Bouwmeester admitted the trade deadline rumblings can become a distraction but only if a player chooses to pay attention to the scuttlebutt.
“You deal with it (at the rink) for 10 minutes after practice and then go home and you don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to watch your TV and listen to the rumours — that sort of thing,” Bouwmeester said. “If you don’t do that, then you’re kind of oblivious to it. You know what’s going on — everybody knows the situation they’re in. There’s certain guys on teams that are struggling or with certain contract situations — they might get moved.
“Throughout your career, most guys probably go through it at one point or another. It’s just one those things you deal with.”