First it was Brenden Morrow. Then it was Douglas Murray. Yet the Pittsburgh Penguins saved the best for last, trading for Jarome Iginla early on Thursday morning in a move that clearly signals the team is all in to win a Stanley Cup this season.
And they better do just that.
The Penguins lost a lot of young prospects and added three players who will be unrestricted free agents this summer. Pittsburgh is gambling that these additions will push them to a Stanley Cup—a realistic proposition considering you could argue the Penguins were the best team in the league before the trades.
Here's the news on the deal, from Penguins.com:
The latest addition, and arguably the biggest prize of all, is Calgary’s Jarome Iginla.
“We talked to (Flames general manager) Jay (Feaster) and said if you’re going to move Iginla we would be interested,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. “Over the last day or so it became apparent they were going to move him. We started getting into more names and scenarios.
At 1:25 a.m. Eastern standard time the Flames and Penguins announced the trade of Iginla to Pittsburgh in exchange for prospects Ben Hanowski, Kenny Agostino and a 2013 first-round pick.
@kylerdraper Iginla chose Pittsburgh over Boston. He squashed the deal with the Bruins.— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 28, 2013
Bob McKenzie of TSN elaborated on that report:
Doesn't matter now, but CGY preferred deal was with BOS. The 2 teams agreed on components but w/o critical 3rd element - player approval.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 28, 2013
Bottom line, as was the case with Brenden Morrow, Jarome Iginla is a Pittsburgh Penguin today because PIT is where he wanted to go.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 28, 2013
Obviously, Iginla believes his best chance to win the Cup is in Pittsburgh.
Before making these three trades, the goal for the Penguins was to win a Stanley Cup. But after making these three trades, it's obvious Pittsburgh must win a Cup now for this season to be considered a success.
Remember, Morrow, Murray and Iginla are free agents after the season. It's unlikely the Penguins will re-sign all three, and they certainly won't be getting back the prospects they dealt in these deals. A failure to win a Stanley Cup this season would make these trades a terrible investment, plain and simple.
Still, there is no question that the Penguins are better today—at least on paper—than they were a week ago. And that's a scary proposition, seeing as the team has won 13 straight games, many of them without reigning MVP Evgeni Malkin.
The Penguins will win the Stanley Cup this season.
Some folks may wonder if these trades will alter the chemistry of the team or somehow affect the mojo built up over the past month. But the Penguins added solid, proven veterans—not brash, young and selfish individuals who might cause dissension in the locker room.
It's all or nothing for the Penguins this season. Anything less than a Stanley Cup is now not just a failure but also a major waste of young talent for the future. Sometimes, you have to push all your chips on the table.
It's time to see whether the Pens played their hand correctly.