The Calgary Flames have granted the Toronto Maple Leafs permission to speak with veteran goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff's representatives, according to Aaron Ward of TSN. This is a big step in the process if the Flames have any hope of unloading another franchise star before the NHL trade deadline.
Kiprusoff has said he will not report to his new team if traded, so the Leafs may be trying to do a little recruiting by talking to Kiprusoff's agents.
Toronto general manager Dave Nonis and Flames GM Jay Feaster spoke earlier Monday regarding Kiprusoff, according to Darren Dreger, and things were really beginning to move.
Talking to Kiprusoff's people suggests that something could be imminent, however TSN's Bob McKenzie is reporting another unnamed team is talking to Calgary about the veteran goalie.
Kiprusoff still has one year remaining on his contract after this season at a $5.83 million cap hit. His salary is only $1.5 million in 2013-14, however. Additionally, if there is indeed another team in the mix, that could drive up the asking price.
The Maple Leafs have had solid goaltending this season and James Reimer is looking more like a bona fide NHL starter by the game. Our Adam Gretz recently wrote why the Leafs shouldn't worry about trading for a veteran goaltender.
Kiprusoff's numbers are well below his career averages, and it would be unlikely he'd unseat Reimer for the starter's role. Kiprusoff could be an expensive safety net in that situation, unless the Leafs can get creative, particularly with a relatively inexpensive compliance buyout next season as suggested by Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
The Leafs will have to decide just how much they value Kiprusoff's experience because the skills aren't where they used to be. Without a bargain price, this might be a deal best left undone.
The other interesting angle is the Maple Leafs' rumored interest in Roberto Luongo, which has been a complicated dance from the beginning. Depending on what happens with Kiprusoff, the market for Luongo could be altered.
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said Monday that four teams have been active in talks regarding Luongo, and rumors suggest that the Leafs are one of them. The advanced talks between Calgary and Toronto could force some action if Gillis is serious about moving Luongo and feels he has a match in the Maple Leafs.
There are a lot of moving parts as the trade deadline looms, but this goalie situation could get awfully intriguing before the clock strikes 3 p.m. on Wednesday.