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Calgary Flames stick with what they have at NHL trade deadline

CALGARY - The Calgary Flames were the only Western Conference team holding down a playoff spot that didn't change players at the NHL's trade deadline Tuesday.

General manager Darryl Sutter did the bulk of his window shopping and tire kicking Monday and found no deal to his liking in the hours leading up Tuesday's deadline at 1 p.m. local time

"We probably came close to a couple bad deals and that was about it," Sutter said with a chuckle. "It's natural for teams to try and steal somebody, or think they're going to get somebody for less than they should.

"I prefer to keep our first-round picks."

Heading into Tuesday night's game against Colorado, the Flames led the Northwest Division, but Minnesota and Vancouver trailed the Flames by one and two points respectively. The Avalanche were six back.

Dallas, Vancouver, San Jose, Nashville, Anaheim, Minnesota and Detroit all acquired players Tuesday. Phoenix and Colorado, who were chasing playoff berths, also added new faces to their lineups.

The big movers and shakers in the conference were the Avalanche, acquiring defenceman Adam Foote and Ruslan Salei on the heels of signing Peter Forsberg, as well as the Stars, who got Brad Richards from Tampa Bay.

Detroit acquired defenceman Brad Stuart, whom the Flames got from Boston at last year's trade deadline. Stuart became a free agent during the summer and went to Los Angeles.

Calgary's pre-deadline activity was getting defenceman Jim Vandermeer from the Philadelphia Flyers for a draft pick last week.

Sutter said he wasn't tempted to get into the Richards sweepstakes.

"They took $7.8 million in salary," Sutter said of the Stars. "That's not something you react to at all because first of all, you're not in it because of the amount of money and secondly how do you react to that?

"You certainly don't contribute any of your nucleus players to try and react to that."'

The most relieved Flame on Tuesday was probably forward Alex Tanguay, who had been dogged by rumours of his impending departure for weeks.

Even though Sutter had announced Monday he wasn't trading the winger, Tanguay still didn't feel that secure in the minutes prior to the deadline.

"A lot of rumours, a lot of speculation," Tanguay said. "It's been very difficult, not only for me, but my family and my friends.

"My brother is telling me, at work he has people calling his office, people that he worked with and never really met calling his office asking him where am I going. Hopefully the distraction can be put to rest."

Tanguay was a scratch from Tuesday's game due to a pinched nerve in his neck.

With forwards Kristian Huselius and Daymond Langkow scheduled for unrestricted free agency this summer, there had been some speculation Sutter might move them.

"I didn't want to disrupt any of our top group," Sutter said. "It gets thrown out of whack, that unrestricted thing. Today isn't the deadline for that. We weren't going to let that affect how we were going to move forward."

Sutter's biggest moves in the last eight months have been extending the stays of player he already had in the lineup.

Captain Jarome Iginla and defenceman Robyn Regehr signed five-year extensions last summer. Dion Phaneuf and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff agreed to six-year extensions this season.

Iginla said watching other Western Conference teams make moves didn't make him nervous.

"There are going to be teams where they made these big moves and it didn't work at all, there's going to be teams that made a small move and it worked well, and there's going to be teams that made big moves and it worked well," Iginla said.

"When it comes down to it, our focus doesn't change and our belief in ourselves and what we can do doesn't change."


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