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Trade deadline talk

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames

It's that time. Trade deadline time.

Will the Calgary Flames make a blockbuster trade? Will they stand pat with a team that has a comfortable lead atop the Northwest Division? Or will they tinker just a little? Those questions will all be answered by Wednesday and there will be no shortage of trade talk until the deadline passes at 1 p.m. MT.

While the rumours swirl -- is there a Flames fan without an idea for a trade? --Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter plays his cards very close to his chest at all times and perhaps even closer to his chest at this time of year.

"We've talked to a lot of teams," said Sutter. "We're not really willing to move anybody off our team unless it is a significant upgrade."

Sutter, whose team embarks on a seven-game road trip Monday that takes them to Ottawa, Philadelphia, Carolina, Atlanta, New Jersey, Detroit and Toronto, said he is happy with the way the team is performing although injuries have created some concern.

"'We're playing pretty well. We're concerned about the injuries, concerned about the time out of our building. You look for ways to improve every game. The injuries have put guys in different roles so it is good to see how they are going to play in those roles. You want to see guys take advantage of the opportunity, guys that have been here all year and wanted to play more," said Sutter.

While Sutter is reluctant to subtract from the current roster, he appears open to the idea of possibly trading draft choices to bolster the roster.

"I think we have enough good prospects out there now that we are in a position to trade draft choices which is not something we would have done in any other season," said Sutter.

Finding a fit is not easy, though.

"There's not much for sellers," said Sutter. "The parity in the league, especially our conference, there's nobody really out of it. You could say Phoenix and St. Louis have a way to go but they are not out of it. There might be four or five in the east. Usually teams that are .500 at this point are out of it but that's not the case.

"We tried to put a team together last summer that we said we would evaluate up to this point and we would either be buyers or sellers. I think we are probably six or seven points ahead of where I said we would be so it's tough to disrupt what you have but at the same time if you can improve, you try and do it."

Sutter also said the organization will evaluate players, including unrestricted free agents -- down the stretch and make decisions on contract signings based on that play.

One player in that category is Mike Cammalleri, who is having a career-year in Calgary but is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Sutter noted the team has until July 1 to make a decision on Cammalleri but added he has spoken with Cammalleri.

"I've talked to him about it," said Sutter of re-signing Cammalleri. "We can do whatever we want."


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