CALGARY - The Calgary Flames completed one minor deal at the NHL trade deadline, but the bigger news was the trade they didn't make.
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff remained in Calgary after the deadline passed despite rumours he might be sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the latest step of the Flames' rebuilding process.
"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 (general manager) Jay Feaster and I told him for me I would love to stay here and finish off the season as a Flame."
Kiprusoff also addressed the issue of whether he'd consider retiring at the end of the season.
"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."
Kiprusoff and his wife welcomed a baby boy into the world last month, and Feaster said that weighed in on the decision.
"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 finalized one minor deal on Wednesday by trading Blake Comeau to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2013 NHL draft. The 27-year-old winger recorded four goals and added three assists in 33 games with the Flames this season.
"It caught me a bit off guard, but at the same time you've got to know that changes are coming when you're not living up to expectations," Comeau said.
"I'm excited. I talked to a couple guys that I know on the team there, Brandon Dubinsky and James Wisniewski. It sounded like they're excited to have me and it's exciting for me to go there to a team that's just one point out the playoffs. I'll try to contribute where I can and help in the playoff push."
After trading former captain Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins one week earlier and defenceman Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues on Monday, Feaster worked the phones in an effort to make more deals before the deadline passed.
"Certainly I thought that there were some things that we put out there, some players that we put out there that I thought might be attractive depending upon how things went down today for other teams as far as some depth opportunities for teams," he said. "It takes two teams to get a deal done and sometimes you just don't have a trading partner."
Feaster confirmed that he was in discussions with two teams who were interested in acquiring Kiprusoff, whose cap hit will remain at $5.8 million next season despite the fact that he will only earn $1.5 million.
"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…with Dave Nonis and ultimately gave Toronto permission to speak with Miikka and his agent, Larry Kelly."
Those talks broke off once Kiprusoff made up his mind to stay in Calgary.
"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."
The 36-year-old Finnish goalie has posted a 6-10-2 record in 18 games with the Flames this season to go with an .868 save percentage and a 3.64 goals-against average.
"It's been pretty tough the last few weeks," Kiprusoff said. "I'm not going to use that as an excuse. I haven't played well. I'm going to have to pick up my game."
Originally drafted by the Sharks in the fifth round (116th overall) of the 1995 NHL draft, Kiprusoff has compiled a career record of 317-209-71 to go along with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .912 career save percentage. He has also posted a 25-28 record in 56 career playoff games to go with a 2.32 GAA and a .921 save percentage.
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