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Iginla’s already being asked about his upcoming UFA status

Jan 8, 2013, 5:24 PM EDT

Jarome Iginla AP

The NHL board of governors hasn’t even voted on the new CBA yet, but the fact that there will be a season is enough to once again spark the question: What does the future hold for Jarome Iginla?

He’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and he’ll turn 36 on July 1.

Anything can happen, especially in a shortened campaign, but the Calgary Flames aren’t regarded as a current or emerging Stanley Cup contender. Given that, Iginla might end up getting traded or simply chose to leave when his contract’s up.

“I didn’t expect that question so early. Yeah, it’s right back at it,” Iginla said in a Calgary Sun report.

“I’m really just excited to get playing again and have that opportunity to play in the NHL and compete here in Calgary.

“It would be my preference to stay here, for sure, and play on a good team, which I believe we will be, and to win here.”

The good news for the Flames is that if they do struggle out of the gate and decide that it’s finally time to trade Iginla, they will have a new tool at their disposal.

The CBA will give teams the ability to retain part of its player’s salary and/or cap hit when he’s traded. That would make Iginla’s prorated $7 million cap hit much easier for a contender to absorb and could allow Calgary to milk better prospects or picks out of any potential deal.

In the short-term though, Iginla has other things on his mind.

“I know it’s going to take some time to win some fans back, but for us in Calgary, the best thing we can do as a team is come out, be exciting and play hard and win,” Iginla said.

“Hopefully they come out and enjoy that, but I definitely understand how ticked off fans have been and they have that right to be. It’s totally understandable.”

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