Miikka Kiprusoff has one more year left on his contract, but there is speculation he'll retire. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
With Jarome Iginla shipped off to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the focus shifts to Miikka Kiprusoff, who has one season left on his contract. His no-movement clause expired last summer, generating talk he too will be shipped out of Calgary.
Earlier this week, TSN's Darren Dreger speculated the Toronto Maple Leafs could have interest in Kiprusoff, though no offers had been made. The Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan cited a source saying not to read too much into those rumors.
Despite lacking a no-movement clause, Kiprusoff could still control his fate. Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos cited a report out of Finland claiming if Kiprusoff were traded, he would refuse to report to his new team.
The Calgary Sun's Randy Sportak reported neither Kiprusoff nor Flames management would comment on the story. Another rumor claims the 36-year-old netminder could skip the final season of his contract and simply retire.
Kiprusoff would face suspension without pay by the NHL if he refused to report following a trade, but if the retirement rumors are true, it won't make any difference to him. It could also simply be a bluff by “Kipper” to scare off interested teams.
Some observers believe Kiprusoff must publicly address these rumors, but he and the Flames maintain their silence on his status.
SHARKS NOT TAKING FOOT OFF THE GAS
The San Jose Sharks recent trade of defenseman Douglas Murray to the Penguins had some analysts suggesting GM Doug Wilson was starting to rebuild his struggling roster.
Wilson, however, insists the playoffs remain the Sharks goal, and denied the Murray trade was intended as a message to his under-achieving team to improve its performance.
He isn't keen about parting with assets for a rental player, preferring to retain his picks for what should be a strong draft this year. Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News believes Wilson's likely move is to trade Ryane Clowe (a pending free agent like Murray) for “a young player trending upward.”
A report out of Philadelphia, meanwhile, claimed the Flyers recent trip to watch the Sharks wasn't to scout veteran defenseman Dan Boyle, but to take a closer look at Brent Burns, “among others.”
Burns struggled as a defenseman this season, but has played well since being moved to right wing earlier this month. Still, his contract (five years, $28.8 million) and defensive difficulties could significantly hamper his trade value.
The Edmonton Oilers are struggling to keep their playoff hopes alive, but several of their players are being mentioned as deadline trade bait.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal noted defenseman Ryan Whitney was in the Oilers lineup for their game on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues. Whitney's been the subject of trade rumors for weeks, and the Blues (along with the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes) are thought to be interested.
Backup goalie Nikolai Khabibulin earned a 3-0 shutout in that game against the Blues. Earlier in the week, Sportsnet's Doug MacLean suggested Khabibulin could fetch a second round pick.
The Edmonton Journal's David Staples also observed the Sportsnet panel weighed in on the trade value of winger Ales Hemsky.
Given how often Hemsky's name has appeared in the rumor mill over the last two seasons, it's difficult to take the speculation seriously now.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).