Jarome Iginla has been the subject of trade rumors for the past year. Due to the mediocre play of the Calgary Flames over the last few years, the team may look to move Iginla heading into the 2012-13 NHL season.
The Flames haven't made the playoffs since 2009 and haven't made it past the first round since 2004. Many people think it's time for the Flames to turn the page on Iginla and look to acquire assets to build around.
If the Flames decide to move Iginla, the Sabres should make a strong push for him and here's why.
Iginla's a Goal-Scorer
Over the last 11 years, Iginla has scored at least 30 goals per season. During eight of those years, Iginla scored 35 goals or more. In addition, Iginla has recorded more than one point per game in nine of the eleven years. In the other two years (2005-06 and 2011-12), he managed to total 67 points each season.
While Iginla may not be able to produce 70-80 points a season turning 35 in July, even 55-60 points a season will help the Sabres produce offensively.
Iginla Has Playoff/Stanley Cup Experience
The Flames have been in the playoffs in five of the last eight seasons. In 2004, Iginla was the main part of the Flames run to the Stanley Cup where they lost in Game 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Iginla has the playoff experience the Sabres need and can fill the leadership role vacated by Paul Gaustad when he was traded last season.
An Iginla trade would fill another hole as well. The Sabres have always looked to fill Daniel Briere's playoff scoring since he left via free agency. In 54 career playoff games for Iginla, he has recorded 49 points, including 28 goals. A point-per-game scorer in Iginla would help the Sabres poor offensive scoring over their last few playoff games.
Iginla Can Play Center
Although the Sabres have Cody Hogdson and Derek Roy, they need an established leader and center. Derek Roy may be moved this offseason, and the Sabres shouldn't throw Hodgson into the No. 1 center role.
While his faceoff percentage is only 52 percent over the last two seasons, Iginla's presence on the ice will help propel the Sabres into the Stanley Cup contenders.
Iginla is due to make seven million dollars during the 2012-13 season. With Jochen Hecht and Brad Boyes salary of 7.525 million dollars coming off the books, acquiring Iginla wouldn't be an issue with the salary cap.
In return, the Sabres could move Drew Stafford along with a defensive prospect or draft pick. The Sabres have numerous forwards, such as Foligno, Ellis, Ennis, etc, who can replace Stafford, but acquiring Iginla would help the Sabres find the No. 1 center they have been looking for.
Since Iginla is a free agent after next season, the Sabres could look to extend him as well and keep him around for a few more years if they so choose.
If the Sabres plan to be Stanley Cup contenders, they need to acquire a No. 1, point-per-game center.
It would be tough to acquire a better player than Iginla. Time to make it happen, Darcy.