The Boston Bruins need a top-six forward to upgrade the team's struggling offense for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the perfect player to address this issue is Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who has reportedly listed the B's as a team he would approve a trade to join (via Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos).
Speaking on Thursday's edition of TSN's Insider Trading, Bob McKenzie talked about the Bruins' interest in Iginla.
I don't know that there is a front-runner necessarily because there are so many moving parts in terms of Iginla, Calgary and the team that they are trading with. But, I would say that Boston is the most motivated team to get Iginla.
When you look at what Boston is trying to do, they lost out on Brenden Morrow, and they do not want to lose out on Iginla. They want and need him perhaps more than Los Angeles, Chicago or Pittsburgh. The price is going to be high for Iginla. He is a rental, a pure rental and right now the Calgary Flames are looking for three elements: a first-round pick, a primary prospect and a secondary prospect...But, Boston seems like the hungriest team to try and get him.
The list of reasons why Boston needs Iginla is a long one.
- First-line wingers Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton have combined for three goals in the last 15 games.
- Brad Marchand, who leads the Bruins in goals with 13, has scored just once in his last 11 games.
- The Bruins have gone five straight games without scoring more than two goals.
- Chris Kelly's injury has hurt the team's forward depth.
- The Bruins' third line has underachieved this season, with players such as Rich Peverley and Jay Pandolfo struggling offensively.
Using McKenzie's information on the Flames' asking price, which is "a first-round pick, a primary prospect and a secondary prospect," let's break down which prospects the Bruins have to offer Calgary, determine if any of them should be "untouchable" and create some possible offers.
Which Prospects Do the Bruins Have to Offer?
|Malcolm Subban||G||19||Belleville/OHL||29-11-4, 2.14 GAA, .934 SV%|
|Ryan Spooner||C||21||Providence/AHL||50 GP, 12 G, 33 A|
|Alexander Khokhlachev||C||19||Windsor/OHL||29 GP, 22 G, 22 A|
Boston's top three prospects all project to be good NHL players, but Subban is the best of the three and could be a No. 1 goalie for a long time at the NHL level. He leads the OHL in GAA and save percentage, and his 29 wins are the fourth-highest total in the league.
As one of the top three goaltending prospects in the NHL (Anaheim's John Gibson and Dallas' Jack Campbell are the other two), Subban could have a lot of value on the trade market if the Bruins wanted to make a major deal.
One of the reasons why the Flames could have interest in Subban is because current No. 1 goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is 36 years old and will be a free agent after next season. Calgary has plenty of depth at the goaltender position throughout its organization, but it lacks an elite talent of Subban's caliber.
However, acquiring a player like Subban, who has never played above the CHL level and struggled at the recent World Junior Championships for Team Canada, would be a risk for Calgary. A lot of young goalies don't reach their full potential, and trying to determine which ones are destined for NHL success is a very difficult challenge for scouts.
With that said, does Subban have to be part of a possible Iginla deal involving the Bruins?
"...I don't think they're even remotely interested in Subban...I don't think he's the guy this deal would revolve around at all," said Eric Francis, of the Calgary Sun, on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Gresh and Zo program earlier this week.
Francis' comments may seem surprising to some Bruins fans, but he makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider the fact that Calgary could have drafted Subban before Boston last season but decided to select forward Mark Jankowski instead.
If Subban doesn't have to be involved, the most likely prospect that the Flames would covet is Spooner. Calgary is desperate for center depth, and one of its biggest weaknesses right now is the lack of a legitimate top-six center to serve as a playmaker for first-line wingers such as Iginla and Mike Cammalleri.
Spooner is a speedy forward with good hands, tremendous passing skills, impressive vision and he protects the puck well. His high hockey IQ is one of the better parts of his skill set, and he has already achieved a lot of success with the Providence Bruins this season with 45 points in 50 games.
The Bruins have superb center depth on the NHL roster and throughout their organization, so trading Spooner wouldn't be a huge blow to the team's talent level at this position.
Another center who the Bruins could offer is Alexander Khokhlachev, who is a talented player with great goal scoring ability, a quick release and is willing to play physical and battle for pucks all over the ice. The Russian forward is the type of two-way center that the Flames don't have right now, and he is close to being NHL-ready after spending three seasons in the OHL and also playing in the KHL.
These three prospects are the best that the Bruins have to offer, and even though they all have immense talent, none of them should be untouchable. There are no "elite" level prospects, such as Dougie Hamilton, who the Bruins must keep at all costs.
Boston has strong depth and a lot of young talent at center and goalie, so general manager Peter Chiarelli should not be hesitant to make a deal for Iginla if one of these players has to be involved.
Since the Bruins have many talented centers to offer, which is Calgary's top position of need, creating a deal that works for both sides is very possible. Whether one gets done or not will depend on both teams' willingness to not budge from what they think is fair value.
|Torey Krug||D||21||Providence/AHL||55 GP, 10 G, 24 A|
|Anthony Camara||LW||19||Barrie/OHL||50 GP, 36 G, 24 A|
|Brian Ferlin||RW||20||Cornell University/ECAC||34 GP, 10 G, 14 A|
The Bruins have a good group of secondary prospects that other teams may be interested in at the trade deadline.
Torey Krug has become the team's best defensive prospect now that Dougie Hamilton has joined the Bruins for the beginning of his NHL career.
The young d-man has spent the 2012-13 season in Providence, where he has made great improvement in the defensive aspect of his game and is also showing why he could become a reliable offensive player at the next level. Krug is undersized (5'9", 175 pounds), but he plays with a high compete level and is a good two-way player.
Camara is an interesting prospect because he is a raw talent but has tremendous upside as a power forward with a lot of offensive skill. He plays with a lot of physicality, works hard defensively and was able to score 36 goals in just 50 games for the Barrie Colts this season. Camara was signed to an entry-level contract earlier in the year and is one prospect to watch in the near future because he plays the "big and bad" style of hockey that the Bruins thrive on.
Ferlin is another impressive prospect but he's still a few years away from competing for an NHL roster spot. He has good size, solid playmaking skills and a high hockey IQ. As the Bruins' best NCAA talent, Ferlin could be a valuable prospect over the next few years.
Boston has a lot of depth in its organization, which allows Chiarelli to offer a lot of prospects with different skill sets to opposing teams at the trade deadline.
What Would a Boston Offer for Iginla Look Like?
Here are five different offers which might be enough for the Bruins to acquire Iginla from the Flames.
|Primary Prospect||Secondary Prospect||NHL Player||Draft Pick(s)|
|Offer #1||Ryan Spooner||Torey Krug||Rich Peverley||2013 1st Round|
|Offer #2||Ryan Spooner||Torey Krug||None ||2013 1st Round |
|Offer #3||Alexander Khokhlachev||Anthony Camara||Rich Peverley||2013 1st Round |
|Offer #4||Alexander Khokhlachev||Torey Krug||Jordan Caron ||2013 1st Round |
|Offer #5||Malcom Subban||Torey Krug||Rich Peverley||2013 1st Round|
Each of the proposed offers above includes a couple of valuable assets, but to trade for a player of Iginla's caliber, one NHL team will have to give up a lot of value.
Very rarely do you see a superstar player get traded without his team receiving a lot of valuable assets in return. Don't expect the Flames to settle for the type of trade package that the Columbus Blue Jackets accepted from the New York Rangers in exchange for Rick Nash last summer.
It's going to come down to which team is able to offer the best package for Iginla because the Flames cannot afford to accept a lackluster return for the most popular sports player in the history of Calgary. They also need to rebuild as soon as possible, so it's important that Flames general manager Jay Feaster "wins" this deal.
Of the five teams that Kypreos lists in the tweet at the beginning of this article, the Kings and the Bruins are the most logical destinations for Iginla.
The Chicago Blackhawks have salary cap issues and don't need another right winger with superstars Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane both playing in a top-six role.
Pittsburgh just acquired veteran winger Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars and defenseman Douglas Murray from the San Jose Sharks, and even though they are still reportedly interested in Iginla, it's unlikely that he will wind up with the Penguins.
As for the Red Wings, they are not a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, so it's hard to imagine Iginla going to Detroit.
Both the Bruins and Kings have a need for a power forward that can score goals. These teams also have the prospects and young NHL players needed to meet Calgary's demands for Iginla and could give him a strong chance to win the Stanley Cup in 2013.
Iginla will not come to Boston without the Bruins giving up some valuable assets, but if Chiarelli is aggressive, there is a deal to be made because the B's have plenty of good prospects and a first-round pick.
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.