NHL Rumors: Trading for Jarome Iginla Would Make Bruins Stanley Cup Favorites
Two of those weaknesses are scoring depth and the powerplay, but the good news for the B's is that acquiring a top-six forward could help turn these weaknesses into strengths as the playoffs approach.
There are several top-six forwards for Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli to pursue in the trade market. Most of them will likely cost a couple of valuable assets, which would include young NHL players, top-tier prospects and draft picks.
The Bruins would be the Stanley Cup favorites if they traded for Iginla.
Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry, who is eligible for UFA status in the summer, is the ideal target for the Bruins, but acquiring him and not giving up an important part of its current roster would likely be an impossible task for Boston. It's hard to imagine any scenario in which the Bruins trade a young player like Dougie Hamilton, even if a superstar such as Perry would be going to Boston.
Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss would have been a good fit with the Bruins, but the veteran forward is no longer an option because he will miss the remainder of the season due to a wrist injury (via Panthers).
With that said, Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla is clearly the most logical addition for Boston to make before the trade deadline, which is 29 days away. If the Bruins added Iginla to their roster, they would certainly be the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
Iginla would likely be given the right to choose his destination and the Penguins or Bruins would make a lot of sense if he wants the chance to win a Stanley Cup.
The Bruins are a great trade partner for the Flames, whose most glaring needs are goaltending and young talent on the blue line.
The one piece that the Bruins can offer the Flames that a lot of other teams cannot is a young goaltender with the potential to be a franchise player. No, not Tuukka Rask, I'm talking about Malcolm Subban, who was Boston's first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Subban is having a fine season for the OHL's Belleville Bulls. He is 26-10-3 with a .932 save percentage and a league-leading 2.18 GAA. He won't be NHL-ready until at least the 2014-15 season, but with the Flames likely headed for a full rebuild in the near future, they can afford to be patient with their young prospects.
Calgary's current No. 1 goaltender, Miikka Kiprusoff, is 36 years old and has one more year left on his contract. His tenure with the Flames could be ending soon, and the team does not have a young goaltending prospect as talented as Subban to replace Kiprusoff.
In addition to Subban, the Bruins could also offer the Flames young defenseman Torey Krug, who was recently named the AHL's rookie of the month for February. He is undersized at 5'9", but his high compete level and impressive offensive skills (good shot, playmaking, vision, high hockey IQ) make him a promising young blueliner.
The Flames also need center depth because they do not have any legitimate top-six centers at the NHL level right now, so Boston could also include its top center prospects Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev in a possible deal for Iginla.
And of course, the Flames would also value the Bruins' first round pick for the upcoming draft. Even though Boston's first round pick will probably be a late-round selection, it's still valuable because the depth and talent in the 2013 draft class is so impressive.
Iginla's leadership, goal scoring talent and ability to thrive in a physical style of play as a top-tier power forward would be great additions to the Boston lineup. He would also upgrade the Bruins' power-play, which has improved over the last week but it still ranks 22nd in the NHL.
Despite the Bruins' need for third-line scoring, it wouldn't be smart to play the 35-year-old forward with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Putting him alongside a playmaking center on the first line with David Krejci or the second line with Patrice Bergeron would help maximize Iginla's offensive production.
Iginla has scored six goals with 10 assists in 20 games this season, which is impressive since he isn't playing with an elite scorer or a top center on the Flames' top line this season.
The Flames captain is not the 40-goal scorer he was during his prime, but Iginla is still a reliable scorer (13 straight seasons of 28 goals or more) who will give 100 percent effort on each shift and even drop the gloves if needed.
Iginla is also a responsible defensive forward, which makes him an ideal addition for head coach Claude Julien's defense-first system that demands two-way excellence from each player. He has 30 hits and 11 takeaways this season.
Another way that Iginla would help the Bruins is by giving them a proven playoff performer. Several of Boston's top players failed to live up to expectations in the team's first round playoff series loss to the Washington Capitals last season.
Iginla has 49 points (28 goals, 21 assists) in 54 career playoff games, and was a major part of the Flames' 2003-04 playoff run that ended with a Game 7 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final. His desire and motivation to win the Stanley Cup for the first time would light a fire under this Bruins team.
Adding an experienced forward like Iginla is the ideal scenario because he can provide the Bruins with scoring, toughness and special teams help, while also serving in a Mark Recchi-type role as a veteran leader.
With Iginla in the lineup, the Bruins would have four reliable forward lines, a deep/talented blue line and a star goaltender in Tuukka Rask. That's a team capable of dominating in the playoffs, especially when Eastern Conference contenders like the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals don't appear to be as good as they were last year.
Armed with about $12 million in salary cap space (via Capgeek), the Bruins have to make a move that will upgrade their scoring depth and powerplay before the playoffs. They actually have enough cap space to add an expensive rental like Iginla ($7 million cap hit) and a depth player for the third line or third defensive pairing.
Chiarelli has been aggressive at the trade deadline throughout his tenure with the Bruins and is not afraid to pull the trigger on a bold deadline deal. Acquiring Iginla is the best move that he can make to give his team the best chance possible to win the Stanley Cup in 2013.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. He was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs in Boston. Nick has also covered the Bruins since the 2010-11 season.
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