Jarome Iginla admitted on Saturday that there were a few teams that showed interest in him as a free agent over the last few days. After considering his options, he ultimately made the best decision to reach his goal of winning a Stanley Cup by signing a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins.
"[Boston is an] amazing sports city," said Iginla on Saturday. "They are a team that, year in, year out, is extremely competitive; they are very hard to play against. They play a physical, aggressive style. I like that."
The veteran forward is a perfect fit for the club, based on his style of play and motivation to win. He has an amazing opportunity to take hold of a championship in a blue-collar city that falls in love with power forwards who score goals, work hard and give 100 percent effort on each shift.
The Bruins earn their success on the foundation of strong defense, winning physical battles and being mentally strong, all of which are attributes that Iginla will provide the team as a top-tier power forward.
The future Hall of Famer is also going to strengthen a Bruins offense that struggled to score goals consistently for much of the regular season and in the last half of the Stanley Cup Final. Jeremy Lundblad of ESPN Boston shared an interesting fact about his goal-scoring success.
When Boston traded young star Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars on Thursday, failed to re-sign top-line forward Nathan Horton as a UFA on Friday and chose not to bring back trade-deadline acquisition Jaromir Jagr, a strong need for another right winger with offensive talent was created.
With the Penguins, Iginla often played on the left wing, a position unfamiliar to him that he never fully adjusted to by the end of the 2013 season. It is expected that Iginla will move back to the right wing in Boston, a role that helped him become a 500-goal scorer.
As a right winger still capable of scoring 20 to 30 goals and excelling on the power play (another weakness for Boston over the last three years), Iginla should make a seamless transition to a Bruins team that plays a style of hockey that power forwards thrive in.
"He's an elite offensive player who's a warrior. His style of play fits in with our team," said GM Peter Chiarelli. Here's what the Bruins' top two lines could look like when training camp begins in the fall.
|1||Milan Lucic||David Krejci||Jarome Iginla|
|2||Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||Loui Eriksson|
Iginla's character and presence in the locker room will also help a Bruins team that is a close-knit group with strong team chemistry.
As a longtime captain with the Calgary Flames and a player with over 1,200 games played at the NHL level, Iginla brings a wealth of experience to the Bruins and the ability to mentor younger players in a similar way that Mark Recchi did during the 2011 Stanley Cup run.
"Leadership and experience are very important," said Chiarelli. "They're very important when building a Cup contender."
In addition to his goal-scoring and playmaking skills, Iginla also brings the desire and hunger to win the Stanley Cup, a feeling shared by the entire Boston team just a few weeks after it lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in an exciting six-game Cup Final.
Iginla hasn't played in a Stanley Cup Final since the 2003-04 season, when his Flames blew a 3-2 series lead and lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. His trip to the conference finals with the Penguins last year was the first time he had advanced past the first round of the playoffs since the 2004 season.
The 36-year-old veteran doesn't have too many more chances to win a championship at this stage of his career.
As the favorites to win the Eastern Conference next season, the Bruins were Iginla's best option in free agency as he continues his Stanley Cup pursuit. Boston is a squad built for playoff success, with strong goaltending, a deep and talented group of defensemen and an offense with four quality lines.
If he makes a strong impact on the team's success at both ends of the ice and performs at a high level in the postseason, Iginla will earn his Ray Bourque moment in Boston next June.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also a credentialed writer at the 2011 and 2013 Stanley Cup Final, as well as the 2013 NHL draft. All quotes obtained first hand.
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