Parting the Red C: Is it Time for Calgary and Jarome Iginla To Go Separate Ways?

Steve McSween@dansallowsSenior Analyst IJanuary 26, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 03:  Jarome Iginla #12 of the Calgary Flames during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on December 3, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Flames 2-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Long gone are the days of a player spending his entire career with one franchise; it went out with bell bottom jeans, big hair, and Sly and The Family Stone.

Hockey is now, more than ever, just a business. And in a business where winning is everything, GM's have to be concerned about staying competitive, especially in a small Canadian market like Calgary.

The Flames' problems started way before their current 0-6-1 slide; they've been there since the early 90's.

A lack of high picks in the draft and poor scouting, combined with horrible trades and a problem trying to find the right nucleus has either left the team on the outside looking in or eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in each of the past 19 seasons.

In fact, if you take their miraculous run to the Stanley Cup in 2004 out of the picture, Calgary has been eliminated in the first round 10 times, and failed to make the playoffs a total of eight times.

Darryl Sutter has consistently tried to make moves to improve this club offensively, though for the most part those acquisitions have failed miserably. He has also brought in some high profile coaches with Mike Keenan and this season his brother Brent, who has been deemed by many hockey observers as one of the best in the business. But as it turns out, even God himself couldn't get this team to score goals.

It is hard to fault Darryl Sutter's regime in Calgary. The fact is, the team has been competitive, and they have drafted better; even though, since he took over and selected Dion Phaneuf with the ninth pick overall in 2003, the club hasn't drafted higher then 23rd overall. 

So what should this team do?

The answer may be painstakingly obvious, though many fans would shudder at the thought.

It may just be time for Jarome Iginla to move on.

There, I said it. I didn't want to, believe me, I don't think there is a better all-around hockey player in the world today.

But let's face the facts, at 32 years old he isn't getting any younger, and his best years are slowly coming to an end.

Would management be crazy to send him off to, let's say, Philadelphia for Jeff Carter and a pick if the opportunity arises?

Sure, nobody has done more for the Flames than their captain over the years, and he truly wants to be a part of winning in Calgary.

Who wouldn't? Their fans are spectacular, and there is nothing quite like catching a game at the Saddledome.

Unless Darryl Sutter and company believe they can surround him with the right cast to seriously take a run in the next five years, why would they continue to play mediocre hockey and watch their superstar dwindle away?

Besides, if I have learned anything from the NHL over the past 30 years, when a player gets older and wants to win a Stanley Cup, they usually split to a contender.

Calgary might as well get something in return.

Some will argue that Steve Yzerman spent his entire career in Detroit, but the Flames are no Red Wings.

At times you need to take what looks like a step back in order to get ahead, and considering their recent record of 9-14-3, there is no place to go but up.

I have never managed a hockey team, and I am just a wannabe sports columnist blogging on Bleacher Report, but that being said, how much longer will the Flames continue to underachieve until a move is made?

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that change is coming.

As Calgary continues to plummet down the Western Conference standings, more questions about possible solutions arise, and parting ways with Jarome Iginla may just be one of the answers.