Alex Tanguay huddled with Calgary Flames owner Murray Edwards Saturday night after the team closed out its NHL schedule at the Saddledome against the Vancouver Canucks.
But Tanguay could only giggle a little when asked if he was getting an early jump on negotiations and skipping the middle men sure to be involved before the talented winger becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Realistically, Tanguay could be laughing all the way to the bank.
The 31-year-old earned just US$1.7 million this year and is due a big raise after a 69-point comeback season with the Flames.
No formal negotiations have taken place, but the team has expressed interest in retaining Tanguay’s services. Likewise, Tanguay wants to stay.
But that’s where business comes into play.
He took a big pay cut to come here and suit up alongside Jarome Iginla again because he knew it could revitalize his career.
He might let a little salary slide to stick around, but there’s no way he’s leaving millions of dollars on the table even if he gets a long-term deal that means his family can settle down in one spot after swapping cities the last three years.
“As a player, and as a person, you like stability in your life. Term is obviously one (factor),” Tanguay said. “You are always looking for stability and a great situation, whether it’s for your family or your career. But it is a business.
“If you go grocery shopping at a store and it costs you twice as much for the same product, you will go to the other place.”
That odd grocery analogy could apply to both the player and the team. If the Flames are shopping for a playmaker and find one at a better price than Tanguay is willing to sign for, they may have to settle for it.
If the gap between what the Flames offer and another suitor might give up for Tanguay’s services is too large, the left-winger may not be able to refuse moving again.
Locking him up while they exclusively have his rights is in the Flames’ best interests if they determine he’s a key part moving forward.
“I would like it done sooner rather than later,” Tanguay said. “I certainly want to know where their minds are at and what my options are. Hopefully, we will make it work.”
Iginla was a key piece of the puzzle last summer when then-GM Darryl Sutter signed Tanguay. Perhaps the idea of keeping the obvious chemistry alive will be the tipping-point in negotiations. Tanguay said himself you don’t get the chance to play with a guy like Iginla often.
“We have plays that are set up that we don’t even have to look anymore,” Tanguay said. “When Darryl called me (last summer), I asked him what his plans were for me. He said, ‘I want you to play with Jarome.’ He made it loud and clear. I knew that was going to be my situation. I knew I was going to be given that chance.”
Iginla said he’d lobby his left flanker over the next few months to make sure they have that chance again.
“I’m going to try,” said the captain, who has averaged 44 goals and 93 points in three full seasons spent with Tanguay on his team. “I imagine a lot of guys are going to try.
“We do mesh well together and feed off each other and help each other.”