The Calgary Flames appear headed for a rebuild, and veteran winger Jarome Iginla might not be around to see it.
Iginla hasn't seemed set on leaving the team despite his name being thrown into trade rumors for the last few seasons.
However, Iginla might be realizing that it's time to move on. He spoke about his future after the Flames' final regular-season game, saying via NBC Sports:
“I have no idea; I don’t know what next year holds,” Iginla said. “Do I want to be on a team where we’re going to fully rebuild. I don’t know that I do.”
Iginla, the team's captain and one of the best players of this era, is entering the final season of his current contract and has yet to win a Stanley Cup.
According to the Calgary Sun, the team will map out a plan for the future, and Iginla might not be an untouchable player this summer.
For the first time since Iginla was nothing more than a good, young prospect in the organization, the captain’s future with the franchise will, in fact, be heavily debated when the owners gather with Ken King to hear how GM Jay Feaster plans to map out the team’s future.
When Feaster says the organization needs to be intellectually honest about where it is and where it is heading, he is referring to the fact that nothing and no one is sacred anymore.
For the first time in ages, that includes Iginla.
Will Iginla be with the Flames next season?
Iginla has been with the Flames organization since the 1996-97 season, and earlier this year he hit the 500-goal mark.
He's a future Hall of Fame player and deserves to win the Stanley Cup more than any player in the league who hasn't done so yet.
Iginla's loyalty to the Flames is remarkable and truly admirable. He has stuck with the franchise even though they have made few deep playoff runs.
Unfortunately for Iginla, he won't ever win a Stanley Cup with the Flames, because at age 34, the team won't be a legitimate title contender until he retires.
The Flames owe him a chance to win the Stanley Cup, and trading to him a contender—preferably outside the division and conference—would be best for everyone.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins seem like two good fits for Iginla, but those teams won't easily part with young talent for an aging forward.
The best plan for the Flames going forward is to rebuild, and the first step in that rebuilding plan should be to trade Iginla to a Stanley Cup contender.
He deserves his Ray Bourque moment.
Nicholas Goss is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston.