Calgary Flames veteran right wing Jarome Iginla has been at the center of trade-rumor talk for the past several seasons, but with his status as an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason (h/t CapGeek), the rumor mill has heated up once again.
It’s time for the Flames to finally move Iginla; 15 years is long enough.
According to James Murphy of ESPNBoston.com, despite Iginla’s mediocre numbers so far in 2013 (three goals and 10 assists in 18 games), there is a chance that the team could be considering moving the veteran to a contender at the deadline:
Reports out of Calgary are that the 35-year-old captain seems to have lost his spark and could be willing to waive his no-movement clause for a shot at the Stanley Cup that has eluded him for 15 seasons. On Sunday, Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch reported that the asking price for Iginla and his lackluster play may be scaring teams away. But if GM Jay Feaster came down on the price - say a first-round pick and prospects -- then [Bruins general manager Peter] Chiarelli should go all out for Iginla.
Iginla is a talented player that has been a great leader in Calgary for years. Not only is the right wing one of the most consistent scorers in the NHL (amassing 30-plus goals in each of his last 11 seasons), Iginla is as durable as they come, playing in all 82 games six of the last seven years.
That’s impressive for anyone, let alone a 35-year-old man.
There is no question that Iginla’s production has slipped, and whether it is because of his age or the lack of elite talent around him, Calgary must realize that the end of the road is at hand.
Instead of letting him walk during the offseason to hunt for a Stanley Cup elsewhere, the Flames must trade Iginla to a contending team before the deadline and get any kind of substantial return they can while he’s under contract.
If the veteran is moved, transitioning from a team he spent 15 years with to a new franchise will be tough, but the class and poise shown through his time in Calgary proves he wouldn’t be a distraction in a locker room.
The change of scenery may actually invigorate the veteran, giving his new team the Iginla that most NHL fans remember as a 50-goal scorer.
If the right contending team could afford to make a move that appeals to the Flames, Iginla is the kind of trade-deadline acquisition that turns a sixth-seed in the playoffs into a Stanley Cup favorite.
Most organizations feel the 2013 offseason will be wild anyway, so at least one team on the cusp of contending will try to make a move for Iginla at the deadline and steal the Stanley Cup during the lockout-shortened season.
Moving the veteran before the trade deadline is the smartest move for Calgary, and as long as Iginla agrees to waive his no-movement clause, this is a deal that makes the most sense for all parties involved.
At $7 million a year, Iginla likely wouldn’t be a member of the Flames next year anyway.