April 26 could be the final day we see Miikka Kiprusoff in an NHL uniform, even though the veteran Calgary Flames goaltender has one more season remaining on his six-year, $35 million contract.
Former Flames coach Mike Keenan informed Brady & Lang Wednesday morning that when Kiprusoff negotiated his last contract — set to pay him $1.5 million in 2013-14 but carrying a cap hit of $5.83 million — the native of Turku, Finland, had no intention of actually remaining in the league for the final year of the deal.
“I know when he negotiated the contract, it was certainly his intention that he would not play that final year, that he would go back to Finland,” Keenan, who coached Kiprusoff in Calgary for two seasons, explained. “I’m assuming he hasn’t changed his mind. Unless somebody throws an opportunity to him with an incredible contract of some kind, I think he’ll just play out the next 30 days and go home.”
Hockey Central insider Nick Kypreos reported Tuesday night that Kiprusoff, whose name has been bandied about the trade market, will refuse to report to any team other than Calgary after the April 3 trade deadline passes. Kiprusoff’s no-movement clause has expired, but he and his wife have recently welcomed a new baby into their family.
Already under pressure to resolve the Jarome Iginla situation in a way that benefits the Flames and satisfies its fan base, a sudden loss of Kiprusoff after this season will prove challenging for GM Jay Feaster.
“He’s going to have to find a goaltender, unless I’m mistaken, (but) I don’t think I am. Miikka’s going to be 37 in October, and he’s played a lot of hockey there,” Keenan said. “In terms of staying there for a rebuild, that’s a big burden for an older goaltender. The Flames are going to have to find themselves a goaltender somewhere.”