Flattered by the idea behind the question, Michael Cammalleri was equally put off by what the speculative suggestion inferred.
Asked if he’d be someone the Calgary Flames franchise could build around if big moves were made — perhaps even the captain — Cammalleri quickly came to the defence of Jarome Iginla, who has been the subject of much media-driven speculation lately.
Every year it’s a big story, but with the captain heading into the final year of his contract, his team out of the playoffs a third straight spring, the idea of him perhaps wanting to move on for a chance to win has the possibility of him being traded hitting a fever pitch at the moment.
“I’m a huge Jarome Iginla fan. He’s one of my closest friends,” Cammalleri said.
“In spite of that, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he brings as a leader and as a hockey player. I’m not interested in speaking on those terms. I appreciate being thought of in a leadership role. I would like to add to that leadership role alongside him and other guys.”
Although he says he doesn’t read the papers, Cammalleri knows about all the talk taking place.
“It’s been brought to my attention, some of the stuff that’s come out whether it’s time for him to move on,” said the 29-year-old left-flanker.
“I want to make it clear ... He’s been a great leader for this team. I don’t even want to go there.”
Many didn’t even want to speculate on the speculation.
It’s tough to imagine the Flames without Iginla on the roster.
“It’s a difficult one to wrap your head around. I haven’t really thought about that,” defenceman Cory Sarich said.
“Jarome has been around here a long time. I’ve been with him for five years and he’s been here for his entire career. If something like that were to change, it would be something major.
“There would be serious things on both sides of the coin for that one. There are people who think maybe it’s neccessary. People might think it’s completely absurd. I don’t want to speculate on what will happen going forward.”
Sarich is a little more opinionated on the matter of whether or not goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff might be asked to waive his no-trade clause.
“I can’t see why you wouldn’t want Kipper here,” Sarich said.
“He was one of the best goalies in the league this year. We weren’t the best in front of him. The guy is outstanding. I don’t know how you replace a guy like that.
“He held us in games. He’s been unbelievalbe. He goes out there and grinds, plays 70 games a year. He’s a phenomenal goalie.”
Iginla has undoubtedly been a great winger. Elite goaltenders might be just a little more irreplaceable.
“I don’t think I can (imagine the Flames without Kiprusoff),” said Tom Kostopoulos.
“He’s one of those guys, when you look at the Flames symbol, you see his face. He’s been great. Hopefully, that doesn’t change.”
Whatever the team decides to do, it will be about winning. Either they focus on doing it now, or with the mindset of making it happen in the near future.
“I like the leadership responsibility. I feel capable in that capacity. I would rather do it alongside (Iginla). You start using the replacement word, and I don’t like that idea,” Cammalleri said of taking on a bigger role.
“I would like to win and our best chance of winning is with him there in that role.”
On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane