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Penguins' Addition of Jarome Iginla Makes Pittsburgh Team to Beat in 2013

March 8, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Calgary Flames right wing Jarome Iginla (12) during a stoppage in play against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2013

As if the Pittsburgh Penguins' offense couldn't get any scarier, the Pens acquired veteran right winger Jarome Iginla in a trade with the Calgary Flames late Wednesday night (via ESPN.com), instantly making the Eastern Conference leader the team to beat in 2013.

Led by a resurgent Sidney Crosby and his league-leading 54 points, the Pens have won 13 straight games since the start of March and are even giving the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks a run for the Presidents' Trophy.

But never mind Pittsburgh's impressive streak or its quest to lock up home ice in the Stanley Cup playoffs for now, because the addition of Iginla this spring makes the offensive juggernaut a threat to win it all, regardless of where, when or who its playing. 

Sure, the 35-year-old has just 22 points (nine goals and 13 assists) in 31 games this season. But that now gives the Pens eight 20-plus point scorers with a month to play in the regular season. 

This is a Pittsburgh team with a NHL-leading 117 goals through 34 games in 2013. Without Iginla, the Penguins featured the most lethal attack in hockey, and to think it just got better?


Plus, the league's second-best power play just got a boost with Iginla's arrival in the Steel City. The Edmonton native has two goals and four assists on the power play this season and will give Pens coach Dan Bylsma another reliable option to lead the charge.

Even with superstar Evgeni Malkin still out and waiting to return to full strength from a shoulder injury, the Pens would have to be considered the hands-down favorite to hoist the Stanley Cup if the postseason started right now. They've scored a goal in every game this season and have scored four or more goals in six of their last 13 wins. 

With a veteran weapon like Iginla on board, and boasting the most explosive offense in the league, the Penguins simply need talented goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun to be average moving forward if they hope to win their second Stanley Cup in four years this summer.

There's no denying that, on paper, this Pittsburgh team is frightening, and on the ice, there's little doubt the Pens, who now possess another hungry star in Iginla, will be the team to beat come playoff time.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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