Jarome Iginla trade chatter got a big boost over the weekend when reports began to trickle out that Calgary Flames captain had given his club a list of teams for whom he'd be willing to waive his no-trade clause.
However, much of the chatter was focused around trying to make sense of the conflicting reports.
Darren Dreger got the ball rolling Saturday, sharing a source's word that the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks were on Iginla's list "with ongoing discussions".
Suffice it to say, this piqued everyone's interest, but it didn't gain much traction. After all, not only were there no surprises on the list, but the report was an open-ended enough to mean nothing.
It's not as though the report said those were the only clubs Iginla was willing to go to. Now that would be something.
But then, wouldn't you know it, a day after Dreger's report failed to gain much traction, we got another one from the reliable Ren Lavoie. According to the RDS correspondent, Iginla's list featured four teams exclusively: The Penguins, Bruins, Kings and Blackhawks.
Sure enough, this got people talking, even as Bob McKenzie marveled at the way people were eating up what was essentially the same report Dreger provided the day before.
A few other reports have since trickled in. Nick Kypreos followed up, corroborating the existence of a list and adding the Detroit Red Wings to the privileged teams. And on Monday morning, Elliotte Friedman weighed in, mentioning the Anaheim Ducks and -- brace yourself -- the Vancouver Canucks as two other teams he had heard might be able to win Iggy's heart.
Finally, when it was assumed that the Penguins' two recent moves took them out of the running, Ren Lavoie fired back, saying that wasn't the case. He added that the Red Wings weren't on the list, which remained remained exclusively the four teams he'd originally reported. Still with me?
Don't worry if you're having a hard time following this list. I'm beginning to suspect it's a fiction.
Part of it is the intransigence between insiders, but the other part is the way the rumour doubled back over the weekend with a necessary and convenient firmness when Dreger's original, open-ended report failed to gain much traction.
Friedman's report also supported a theory I've espoused a few times here on this blog, which is that the Flames are doing their best to manage the P.R. side of this trade as they continue to negotiate it. The best way to do that is to say absolutely nothing. Sure enough, the Flames won't even go so far as to offer a no comment on this story. "The primary sources -- the Flames, the player, the agent -- are keeping silent, on and off the record", Friedman said.
Iginla, too, is trying his best to remain tight-lipped. Here's how he responded to questions regarding the list Sunday night.
“I didn’t say anything about a list,” he said.This would be another reason to be doubtful there's a list, but "I didn't say anything about a list" is a far cry from "there is no list". Iginla continues:
“We’ve made it this far in the year and I know there’s a lot of speculation about our team, and me individually … that’ll work itself. …But the team does want to contribute to it. Just not openly.
“I really don’t want to contribute to it.”
That means that they have to conduct business exclusively through sly, subtle leaks, ensuring teams know Iginla is on the block and it's time to put in your offers without saying anything of the sort to anybody.
So ... how to really get things going in the final two weeks before the deadline?
Drop a rumour that Iginla has a list.
And when that rumour fails to do much, drop another rumour that the list is exclusive, putting the fire to the teams on it, as well as sending other interested GMs to the phone to find out if the rumours are true.
At which point, Jay Feaster may remain quiet, but he'll be listening.