Iginla denies wanting out

Flames captain Jarome Iginla skates during the warmup before facing the Canucks at the Scotiabank...

Flames captain Jarome Iginla skates during the warmup before facing the Canucks at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., Nov. 1, 2011. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:58 AM ET

CALGARY - If Jarome Iginla is indeed thinking about asking for a trade or even open to that option should the Calgary Flames approach him, he’s not saying.

The long-time Calgary Flames captain and face of the franchise insists he believes the Stampede City is the best situation for him.

“I want to win here and believe we can be a good team here. That’s really where my thoughts are,” Iginla said after Tuesday’s morning skate in anticipation of facing the Nashville Predators.

“It’s 60 games left, a lot of season. It’s a lot of time for us to make our way back.”

Until the Flames can put themselves in a solid playoff spot, the chatter regarding Iginla will continue to be hot and heavy.

Both team president Ken King and GM Jay Feaster recently reiterated trading away Iginla isn’t in the plans.

The Flames all-time leading goal-scorer (491 goals) and point-producer (1,017) has a no-movement clause on his deal worth US$7 million per season through the 2012-13 campaign.

With the club struggling and their trajectory headed toward a third straight season without making the playoffs, Iginla’s future will remain a hot-button issue.

At age 34, he likely doesn’t have time to go through a rebuilding process in Calgary.

Therefore, the common-sense approach would be for Iginla to be traded to a contender and net a return that could help the Flames in the future.

Thus, all the speculation, rumours and pundits saying Iginla should move on.

“It's all part of it. It’s not new,” Iginla shrugged. “You’re asked the same questions at different times, but the focus is on the fact we have 60 games left. It’s a lot of hockey.

“There’s going to be a lot of changes over the next 60 games in the standings, and we believe we’re going to be moving up.

“Nobody in here has given up. We still believe we can be a good club and make the playoffs. That’s where the focus is.

“It’s just the way it works, the way media is, as far as Internet and how easy it is to just run with a story,” he continued. “It’s not always accurate, that’s for sure, but that’s fine. I’m not blaming anybody, but there are things you read that aren’t accurate and you just move on.

“The best way to stop a story is to win games and climb in the standings.”

It wouldn’t hurt if Iginla started producing, too.

Heading into Tuesday’s clash, he had just seven goals and 11 points in 22 outings and was separated from Alex Tanguay onto a line with Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross prior to Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

“It wasn’t just doing it for Jarome,” said coach Brent Sutter of the lineup shuffle.

“It’s about the team and what’s right for the team. I want to make that very, very clear. I wasn’t just concerned with Jarome. My concern is the group. We’d lost three games in a row, and I felt that line in particular was fighting it offensively and I wanted to change things up and do what was right for the group and the team.

“It wasn’t about one individual at all. That’s not what we’re about.”

Still, Iginla’s status will always be in the forefront, therefore the never-ending speculation with his future with the Flames.

“My focus is totally on believing we can make the playoffs here, climb back and start putting together a streak here. That is how I’m feeling and that’s where I’m at,” Iginla said.

“I do believe it is possible and will happen.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


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