Deadline Diner: Leafs quandary, Iggy, Canes' decision

by Shawn P. Roarke /
February is one week old, and in the course of this NHL season that means it is trading season. There were a couple of interesting trades in January, but hockey's swapping season likely will pick up in the coming days. Here at, we will bring you a daily roundup of reported rumors about who might be available and which teams might be looking to make a move for your lunchtime consumption in Deadline Diner.

CALGARY: Jarome Iginla knows that trade rumors will follow him around until the actual NHL Trade Deadline passes on Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. ET.

But, the Calgary captain wants no part of the speculation. He has a no-movement clause in his current contract, which runs through 2012-13 and he, therefore, has control of his fate.

Jarome Iginla
Right Wing - CGY
GOALS: 20 | ASST: 22 | PTS: 42
SOG: 168 | +/-: -8
Iginla says he has no designs on going anywhere and that he plans to remain a Calgary Flame past the deadline.

"Oh yeah, I intend to," Iginla told reporters before Monday's shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. "I think we're going to be a playoff team. I believe that ... I don't want to speak about the Eastern Conference, but the Western Conference is tight. I don't think there's any favorite front-runner. I think if you make the playoffs, you have a shot."

The Flames woke up Tuesday morning just three points behind Minnesota for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, so Iginla's optimism is not out of place.

But, Iginla also says that he believes the Flames can make a pretty serious run through the Western conference bracket if they make it to the postseason, pointing to success the team has had in some recent matchups against the conference's top-tier teams.

"We've played Detroit," he said. "We've played Vancouver. We've played San Jose. And we've played them lately. And while we respect them, we definitely feel we can beat them. I like it in Calgary. I believe we can be in the playoffs and have a shot."

With all that said -- including the fact Calgary officials saying on numerous occasions that they have no plans to trade the 34-year-old franchise cornerstone -- Iginla knows the rumor-mongering will not go away until the deadline passes.

So, he plans to continue to ignore the speculation and concentrate on getting the team into the postseason.


Bubble teams in Northwest could deal

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer
The Canucks have little wiggle room under the cap and may be content to stand pat, but the three teams below them battling for Stanley Cup Playoff positioning could be looking to deal between now and Feb. 27. READ MORE ›
"That's where the focus is," Iginla said, referencing a playoff push. As far as trade-deadline rumors, to be honest, I haven't kept up on them ... I don't know where I'm supposed to be going or who is going where or what.

"The focus is totally on getting better here," Iginla said. "We need to put a streak together and get in the playoffs ourselves."

TORONTO: Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is one of the most aggressive GMs in the League when it comes to the art of the trade.

In fact, there is a school of thought this month that believes the market will open up when Burke pulls the trigger on a trade soon. His past record and acknowledged philosophy is to deal early before the market gets too out of control.

That, however, may not happen this year.

NHL Network Insider Bob McKenzie said in his TSN column on Monday night that things are very quiet in Toronto and that Burke may stay away from the big move designed to shake up his team.

There are two reasons at play that suggest that scenario may come to pass.

First, his team is four points clear of falling out of the playoff picture, which is a huge security blanket at this point. The team is also just six points in back of Northeast Division-leading Boston, which currently holds the No. 2 spot in the East. Plus, his team is playing well, taking points 13 of 20 points from the past 10 games.

Second, the market has changed radically for Burke, according to McKenzie. With his team showing signs of chemistry, Burke is less eager to part with guys that were perhaps on the market just a few weeks ago. Plus, many of Burke's targets are not as attractive as they once were.

When discussions about this year's trade deadline opened, it was a common belief that Burke would be interested in landing Philadelphia power forward James van Riemsdyk, but that speculation has cooled because the Flyer forward is sidelined with a concussion. There was also the belief that Burke had his sights on doing a deal with Anaheim, his former team. But, the Ducks have been red-hot for the past month and are not as eager to unload talent at this point.

CAROLINA: What would Deadline Diner be without a Tuomo Ruutu update?

The Carolina forward is perhaps the most attractive forward on the market, playing a physical two-way game that any contender would crave.

Only problem is, Ruutu may not be available.

Tuomo Ruutu
Center - CAR
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 27
SOG: 120 | +/-: 0
GM Jim Rutherford spoke to Chip Alexander of the News & Observer and admitted he was still up in the air about what to do with Ruutu, who is scheduled to become a free agent on July 1.

The GM and player will get together during the Hurricanes road trip this week to have what Rutherford called an "important meeting."

"I want to talk to him about where he's at, this season and in the future," Rutherford told Alexander. "We'll talk about that and see where it goes. We're closing in on the (NHL) Trade Deadline, so we need to make a decision.

"I've had casual conversations with his agent the past month or so. The next step is to meet with (Ruutu) and make a decision on what direction would be the best for everyone."

Ruutu, 29, is believed to be looking for a long-term deal. In the past, that would be a non-starter with Rutherford, who does not sign players to new deals during the season. But, he broke that long-standing rule earlier this month when he signed defenseman Tim Gleason to a four-year extension.

Will Rutherford do so again with his leading goal-scorer? Nobody knows for sure. But, the answer will come soon and it will have a profound effect on the trade market either way.