The question surrounding Jarome Iginla has long been whether the Flames would ever trade him.
Now the question is when.
Darryl Sutter told QMI Agency Wednesday now is not that time, shooting down rumours his longtime captain is heading to Los Angeles anytime soon.
“Never been brought up from either side,” said the Flames GM, busy trading two others yesterday, including his son.
“Not sure where this comes from, but sure not from Los Angeles or Calgary.”
Talk of an Iginla swap has been bandied about in Calgary for a few years now as nervous fans sense at some point soon the aging club will have to stage a large-scale overhaul.
However, it became a more national discussion three weeks ago when Hockey Night in Canada’s Pierre LeBrun said the Kings had Iginla at the top of their wish list.
Most teams do, despite Iginla’s well-documented struggles of late.
The difference being the Kings have cap room and plenty of top-notch prospects. They also have a legitimate shot at a Stanley Cup run, which is pertinent given Iginla would have to wave his no-trade clause for a potential move to happen.
Put it all together and it all starts to make sense, which is exactly how modern-day rumours begin.
However, they generally end when a GM announces they’re simply untrue.
In this case they won’t because with every game Iginla and the Flames continue to flounder more and more twits will tweet.
A tweet Tuesday on Twitter suggested the Kings’ Brayden Schenn, fifth-pick overall in 2009, is the prime bait being dangled in front of Sutter for the Flames’ $7-million man.
When the Flames owners eventually decide it’s time to make the agonizing split with the face of the franchise, Schenn would make for an interesting starting point in discussions as the Canadian world junior star is much like Iginla was when he was traded to Calgary for Joe Nieuwendyk.
However, that sort of decision is still a long way away from being made. It’s clearer every day though that eventually it will happen.
But as anyone in Calgary trying to sell a house right now will tell you, it makes little sense to sell an asset when it’s value seems to be hitting new lows weekly.
Still, the talk continues.
“As far as I know its fans talking hockey and making possibilities up,” said Iginla, who still has two more years left on his contract.
“It’s part of sports. Fans that enjoy hockey can look and say ‘imagine if this team did that or that team did that.’ They do it all over and it’s my turn now. It doesn’t really bother me.”
What does bother him is the fact he hasn’t made much progress since last year, which he deemed the most frustrating of his career. Fans are also on his case as he has just three goals and 10 points in a 16-game season that has seen him go largely unnoticed many nights.
“I think I got away from focusing on the right things and worrying about outcomes instead of competing and working on the process,” said Iginla when simply asked, “what’s wrong.”
“I feel like I’m on the upswing and I’m still very optimisitic. This year there’s still lots of opportunity and time to catch teams.”
That won’t happen unless Iginla figures things out, and he knows it.
“It’s not about me being the top (point-getter) — it’s about wins,” said Iginla, tied for fourth in team scoring and minus-6.
“I still need to be a producer for the team. I still play on the power play and I get a lot of minutes and we’re in a lot of one-goal games. You’ve got to find ways to produce.
Our line needs to be outplaying other teams’ lines and being plus.”
Otherwise, the rumours will continue.
No matter how many denials they’re met with.
Eric Francis appears regularly as a panelist on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada