Cory Sarich, 33, has only one point in 15 games played this season. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster met with the local media on Friday and once again vehemently denied rumors captain Jarome Iginla was being shopped.
“It is not true,” Feaster said. “Jarome Iginla has not been asked to waive his no-trade and Jarome Iginla has not demanded a trade or asked for a trade. There is no list. There is no smoking gun. There is nobody on the grassy knoll. What else do you need?”
His comments may quiet media speculation for the time being, but if the Flames are out of the playoff race by the February trade deadline, the Iginla trade rumors will resurface, despite Feaster's recent denials.
Feaster was more evasive when asked about a Sportsnet report claiming little-used Flames defenseman Cory Sarich had requested a trade.
“Those conversations are not something I'm comfortable sharing with the media,” Feaster said, adding he considered Sarich “an important part of the group here.”
Feaster's comments suggested Sarich had sought a trade, but Saturday the defenseman spoke with the Calgary media and denied he had asked to be dealt.
“I definitely did not ask to be traded,” Sarich said, acknowledging he recently requested a meeting with Feaster to discuss his role. Sarich has been a healthy scratch in several games and the lack of playing time was frustrating the veteran blueliner.
Sarich wants to contribute, but with the Flames turning toward younger talent, he's struggled to earn ice time. A recent leg injury to Mark Giordano, however, will likely result in Sarich seeing more action in the coming weeks.
A trade could still be in the offing, though. As the Calgary Herald observed, Sarich's $3.6-million cap hit makes him an expensive option for rival clubs in need of an experienced defenseman, but he'll be more affordable near the trade deadline. That would increase his value, provided he's willing to waive his no-movement clause.
Columbus Blue Jackets center Derick Brassard hasn't publicly voiced his frustration over his frequent scratches from the lineup this season, but his agent, Allan Walsh, recently issued a statement accusing Jackets coach Scott Arniel of making Brassard the scapegoat for the club's woes.
Walsh claimed neither he nor Brassard requested a trade, but the agent's comments have been interpreted as an attempt to force management to make a move.
Trade speculation has dogged Brassard throughout this season. On Sunday, a report in the Ottawa Sun claimed seven teams (Los Angeles, Ottawa, Montreal, Phoenix, Florida, Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers) were “looking at” Brassard, but suggested his contract, with two more seasons at $3.2 million per, was “a stumbling block.”
Regardless of Walsh's comments, Brassard's contract and woeful performance should keep him in Columbus for the remainder of this season.
The San Jose Sharks could soon have a logjam between the pipes.
Goaltender Antero Niittymaki, sidelined all of 2011-12 so far because of off-season hip surgery, expects to return by mid-December.
He was slated to back up starter Antti Niemi this season, but with Thomas Greiss playing well in the No. 2 role, Niittymaki looks like the odd man out.
That's led to speculation over what kind of return the Sharks would get if they shop Niittymaki.
ESPN.com's Craig Custance responded to a reader's question on the matter, suggesting the Sharks would have to showcase Niittymaki in a few games to prove he's healthy before other clubs show interest.
As for a return, Custance suggested looking at last season's Dwayne Roloson deal, in which the Tampa Bay Lightning shipped a minor league defenseman (Ty Wishart) to the New York Islanders for Roloson.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.