'Tender times ahead

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Front and centre in the Stampede City during the second week of the NHL's free agency period will be the goaltending corps.

Though Calgary Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter has a handful of restricted free-agent skaters to sign -- notably forwards Steve Reinprecht and Chuck Kobasew, and d-men Rhett Warrener and Andrew Ference -- the biggest scrutiny will be on the men who patrol the crease.

Certainly something will come into focus soon. Last week, Sutter said he expected to know by today whether Roman Turek will return to the club or remain in the Czech Republic, where he also has a contract.

Sutter could not be reached for comment yesterday while Turek's agent Ritch Winter would only divulge a meeting had taken place between the netminder and Sutter but wouldn't offer his client's decision.

A report in the Arizona Republic said the Flames have offered Sean Burke a multi-year deal, which would hint strongly Turek plans to stay home. Burke reportedly is also being chased by Pittsburgh.

If he returns, Turek will make $1.14M US.

Meanwhile, negotiations with Miikka Kiprusoff's agent, Larry Kelly, continue.

Last summer, Kiprusoff was awarded a salary of $2.95 million through arbitration, which becomes $2.424 million with the 24% rollback.

However, he can become an unrestricted free agent after the coming season if he's not inked to a long-term pact. And that would appear to be the Flames' goal.

Kelly said no talks are yet scheduled this week but noted the process is moving along.

"It's not a situation where there's any animosity. He's the number-one fan of the coach and general manager. There's nothing negative," Kelly said. "Both sides want be fair.

"It's just a question of how much he should be paid."

Kiprusoff's worth will be difficult to pin down. While he led the Flames to Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final, it was only his first season as a No.-1 goalie.

Brent Krahn, currently third on the depth chart, is also a restricted free agent.


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