According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS (h/t ProHockeyTalk.com), Iginla has submitted a list of four teams to the Flames—Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh—that the veteran would accept a trade to if dealt by the deadline.
Iginla is in his 16th NHL season, and despite the fact that the right wing is 35 years old, there is little doubt that he can still play at a high level. With little offensive support around him, Iginla has still managed to amass 22 points in 30 games.
The talent is still there for Iginla, and the trade interest will be there as well, now that it’s clear Calgary will listen to offers. Of all the possible landing spots for the two-way forward, the following three locations would be the best.
No. 1: Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins are amazing at shutting down their opponent's offense, but the team has struggled at times in 2013 scoring goals themselves.
That’s where a talented sniper like Jarome Iginla would be an ideal fit for Boston (h/t James Murphy of ESPNBoston.com).
Despite having the league’s best penalty-killing unit and the second-best goals-against average in the NHL (making them one of the toughest teams to score against), the Bruins only average 2.7 goals scored per game (13th in the NHL).
Add in the fact that the power-play unit has been abysmal—24th in the league at 15.1 percent—and the addition of a power forward like Iginla that can put the puck in the net from every angle would be the game-changer the team has been looking for.
Whether it’s even-strength, on the power play or short-handed, Iginla’s abilities and raw skill would give the Bruins the depth they need to make another serious run at the Stanley Cup.
Boston has a plethora of young stars in its system—the Flames are reportedly interested in Bruins goalie prospect Malcolm Subban (h/t Wes Gilbertson)—so Calgary should get the return in an Iginla trade that would make the deal worth it.
Iginla landing in Boston would make the most sense for all parties involved.
No. 2: Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins traded for veteran forward Brenden Morrow and defender Douglas Murray this past week (h/t Mike Brehm of USA Today), and most experts around the NHL believed the team was done making deals.
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, though, the Penguins still have enough cap room to make a move for Iginla at the trade deadline. The team would have to come up with a package of picks and players enticing enough to get the Flames to bite on the deal, but the chance the move could be made is there.
The Penguins don’t need much more offensive help—they already lead the league with 3.5 goals per game and boast the league’s second-best power-play unit—but Iginla’s defensive prowess at the forward position would help lower the team’s GAA (2.5).
It will take a monster deal from Pittsburgh to convince Calgary to send its captain away, but if the Penguins are serious about winning a Stanley Cup this season, adding Iginla would make them the clear favorites.
No. 3: Calgary Flames
While there would be many fans in Calgary and around the NHL that would scoff at the Flames for holding on to Iginla and trying to re-sign him in the offseason, the fact that he has spent his entire career in Calgary may mean too much to trade him.
Not only has Iginla been the team’s best offensive player for over a decade, but the veteran is also the Flames’ captain and has been the centerpiece of the franchise for his entire career.
Instead of trying to trade him, the franchise could decide that it is more important to the history of the organization that the veteran finishes his career in Calgary.
Iginla has become synonymous with the Flames, and while moving him would yield some promising prospects and picks, the value he brings to the team will never be matched in a deal for an impending free agent.
Keeping the captain is a very real possibility.
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