Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff decides to stay put
Forward Comeau could be on move
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff elected to stay with the Calgary Flames on trade deadline day.
Flames general manager Jay Feaster on Wednesday confirmed reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs requested permission to speak with the veteran Finnish netminder to try and persuade him to join the Eastern Canadian club.
"I've been doing lots of thinking the last few days," said Kiprusoff, who was slated to back up starting goalie Joey MacDonald during Calgary's home game against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. "This morning I talked with Jay Feaster and I told him for me I would love to stay here and finish off the season as a Flame."
Kiprusoff decided not to move for the second time in his NHL career and retirement has not crossed his mind yet.
"That's one option," he said. "I'd really like to finish the season and after that I'm going to make my decision. I'd really like to talk with the Flames before that and to go from there."
The player and his wife recently welcomed a baby boy born prematurely.
"From his perspective given the family situation and the new baby, he just doesn't feel that he's ready to move on, that he didn't want to go to another organization [and] that he would like to finish things here," he said. "I think the world of him. I love the competitor that he is. This has been a hard time. The reality of it is that there are a lot of difficult circumstances here."
Feaster said there was another expression of interest in Kiprusoff's services from several teams.
"One of those teams then got back and said we're not in a situation where we can take the cap hit of his contract for next year," Feaster said. "The team that continued to be interested was Toronto so I entered into discussions a with Dave Nonis and ultimately gave Toronto permission to speak with Miikka and his agent, Larry Kelly."
However, the goalie wasn't 100 per cent sure about joining the Maple Leafs.
"Miikka was clear that he didn't want to lead Toronto on, that he didn't want to go there if his heart wasn't 100 per cent set on it and committed to it," Feaster said. "Again, in having the conversation with Miikka today, we made the decision that we're going to keep Miikka Kiprusoff here. He is a member of the Calgary Flames."
Kiprusoff, 36, has struggled badly this season, during which he's dealt with the first injury that required him to miss several games since coming to Calgary early in the 2003-04 season.
He is 6-10-2 in 18 games this season in Calgary, with a 3.64 goals-against average and an .868 save percentage. His appearances were interrupted by a knee sprain suffered in February.
The workhorse has averaged over 70 games per season since arriving from San Jose nearly a decade ago.
Kiprusoff has one year remaining on his contract with the Flames, with a cap hit of just over $5.8 million U.S.
There has been speculation that Kiprusoff will retire at the end of this season, but Feaster wouldn't confirm whether that would happen.
The Flames on Wednesday did send Blake Comeau to Columbus for a fifth round pick in 2013, citing NHL rules regarding the completion of paperwork of trades.
Comeau was claimed on waivers last season from the New York Islanders. He's scored nine goals and 13 assists for the Flames in 91 games spread over the two seasons, with one short-handed marker.
Miikka Kiprusoff timeline
Some important dates in the career of Miikka Kiprusoff.
Oct. 26, 1976: Born in Turku, Finland.
June 1995: Selected in the fifth round of the NHL draft by San Jose, scouted playing for TPS Turku.
May 1999: Backstops Finland to the world championship final, where they are beaten in overtime by the Czechs.
Fall 1999: Makes pro debut in North America with the Kentucky Thoroughbreds.
Oct. 24, 2000: Makes his NHL debut with San Jose, allowing a goal on his first shot.
April 8, 2001: Makes his first NHL start, allowing just one goal in a win over Anaheim.
Nov. 14, 2003: Passed on the depth chart as backup to Evgeni Nabokov by fellow Finn Vesa Toskala, he is dealt to Calgary for a second-round pick in 2005 which the Sharks ultimately use for Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
2003-04: Surpasses Roman Turek and Jamie McLennan as Calgary's No. 1 man, being named a Vezina finalist despite playing only 39 games due to 1.70 goals-against average.
Spring 2004: Spearheads Calgary's first trip to the Stanley Cup final since 1989. Sixth-place team knocks off higher seeds Vancouver, Detroit, San Jose, loses in seventh game of final to Tampa Bay.
Sept. 2004: With a prolonged lockout looming, Kiprusoff nearly leads Finland to a World Cup of hockey title, but they fall 3-2 to Canada in the final.
Aug 12, 2005: With NHL hockey finally back on, signs a three-year deal worth $10 million.
Dec 2005: Says he will not to play for Finland at Turin Olympics due to nagging hip injury, but still manages to play 74 games for Flames.
2005-06: Earns career highs in save percentage (.923), shutouts (10), and full-season goals against (2.07). Wins the Vezina Trophy and helps Calgary to the William Jennings Trophy for best goals-against. The Flames win the Northwest but lose opening round series in seven games to Anaheim.
June 2007: Again named a Vezina finalist, but like 2004, loses out to Martin Brodeur.
Oct 2007: Signs extension, a front-loaded contract worth $35 million that expires on June 30, 2014.
2008-09: Sets career high with 45 wins, but Calgary's first-round exit to Chicago is their most recent playoff appearance as of this writing.
Nov. 2009: Says he won't play for Jari Kurri's Finland entry at the Olympics if not the starter, ultimately ends up on the team.
Feb. 2010: The Americans swarm Finland in the first period of the semifinals and Kiprusoff is yanked after allowing four goals. He rebounds in the final outing to earn Olympic bronze.
2011-12: Enjoys a renaissance season of sorts, with a .921 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Passes Gump Worsley on all-time shutouts list, sits 29th with 44.
Feb. 5, 2013: The busiest goalie over past nine seasons, Kiprusoff spends significant time on sidelines for the first time after suffering a knee sprain.
April 1, 2013: Just days after Flames captain Jarome Iginla leaves club, trade rumours involving Kiprusoff heat up. Things are also hectic on the homefront, with the Kiprusoffs welcoming a baby in March.
With files from The Canadian Press