Toskala not in Calgary's plans
Calgary Flames general manager Darryl Sutter, in a wide-ranging interview with The Fan 960 on Wednesday, said Vesa Toskala will not be back in a Flames uniform in 2010-11. The Finnish netminder is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
"Vesa made it very clear that he wanted to be a one or 1A in the league," said Sutter.
Toskala joined the Flames at the trade deadline in a swap with Anaheim that sent then back-up goalie Curtis McElhinney to the Ducks.
The 33-year-old Toskala appeared in six games for the Flames, two as a starter and four in a relief role, and posted a 2-0-0 record.
Sutter noted that being a back-up to a workhorse like Kiprusoff, who was 35-28-10 last season, is not an easy task.
"The two toughest positions in the Calgary Flames are to play with Jarome (Iginla) and back-up Kipper because of the expectations," said Sutter.
The Flames used three goalies in Abbotsford, their top affiliate in the American Hockey League, this past season. Leland Irving, Matt Keetley and David Shantz. With Toskala not in the Flames plans, logic dictates that one of those three players will likely become the back-up next season.
Keetley was 10-7-1, Irving was 13-17-2 and Shantz 14-10-3 in the minors.
Sutter also spoke about several other current Flames eligible for free agency this summer.
Among them, Eric Nystrom, who had one of his best seasons, scoring 11 goals. Another is Chris Higgins, acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers, along with Ales Kotalik. Higgins was injured at the end of the season and Sutter said both sides are waiting for medical clearance before beginning to talk about a new contracts.
Sutter said there have been discussions with Nystrom and that those are likely to continue. However, he cautioned that the Flames do not want to pay a hefty price for "role" players.
"For an offensively challenged team, we are not going to overpay a 10-goal scorer," said Sutter.
Defenceman Ian White, one of the acquisitions in the big trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Sutter said talks are ongoing and the preference would be to avoid arbitration, which would put White under contract for one year.
"We're trying to negotiate a deal with him but in the background both sides know there is a one-year award there," said Sutter.
If you would like to hear the entire interview with Darryl Sutter, tune into The Fan 960 at 2 p.m. today.