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After 13-game absence, Kiprusoff returns for Calgary tonight

Mar 6, 2013, 2:20 PM EDT

Calgary Flames v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

The Calgary Flames will have a welcome sight in goal on Wednesday as starting netminder Miikka Kiprusoff returns to action.

Kiprusoff, 36, hasn’t played since suffering a grade 2 MCL sprain in a game against Detroit on Feb. 5, but will be between the pipes when the Flames take on the Sharks at the Saddledome.

To say Calgary’s struggled without Kipper is a slight understatement. Since he’s gone down, the Flames have started three different goalies — Leland Irving, Danny Taylor and Joey MacDonald — who have allowed a combined 44 goals.

(Speaking of Taylor, the Flames sent him to AHL Abbotsford today.)

How Kiprusoff responds to such a lengthy layoff will be monitored across the league.

The veteran has two seasons left on the six-year, $35 million deal signed back in 2008 and could be a tantalizing bit of trade bait at deadline time.

He does have a high cap hit ($5.8 million) but will only make $1.5 million in salary in 2013-14, so he could be a viable target for a team looking for a veteran presence in goal — should the Flames fall out of playoff contention, of course.

Calgary heads into tonight’s action sitting 13th in the Western Conference, four points back of eighth-place Dallas.

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