It’s something that has never been suggested, let alone talked about in the last decade if you are a Calgary Flames fan.
Heck, it’s something that wasn’t talked about even three months ago. With the team now officially eliminated from the playoff picture thanks to the San Jose Sharks, however, I will come out and say what some might be thinking privately.
The Calgary Flames should trade Jarome Iginla this offseason.
Yes, I know it’s not the most popular decision. Yes, there are going to be the diehards that believe that the Flames captain should never be dealt, but let’s face the facts.
This team has consistently seen different players come and go in the last few years, as General Manager Darryl Sutter has gotten the fanbase convinced that the club isn’t far from being a contender.
The ownership group is willing to spend money, so that’s never been an issue. Key signings have taken place the last few years, with the latest being Jay Bouwmeester.
Different coaches with different types of styles have been through Calgary the last few years as well. There was a players coach in Jim Playfair, then an old school coach with Iron Mike Keenan, and now the sound Brent Sutter.
There has been constant change in personnel on varying levels, except one. The core group of this Flames franchise has stayed together for several years now.
Iginla, Robyn Regehr, Daymond Langkow, and Miikka Kiprusoff are the quartet that Sutter has built his squad around. Dion Phaneuf was a part of that group, but he was deemed expendable this season, after the emergence of Mark Giordano.
More and more rumblings are starting to be heard around the city of Calgary. It was kind of brought up at the morning skate yesterday by a few members of the media, and for the first time ever, something that was never touched upon was actually discussed, and that was Iginla’s future in Calgary. Could the captain be moved? It’s possible. Should he be moved? I think so, and here’s why.
Sutter went for broke by dealing Dion Phaneuf and Olli Jokinen a few months ago, when the team was going through one of the worst losing streaks in franchise history, and it backfired.
The club is now stuck in no-man’s land, as the team couldn’t get into the playoffs, yet there is nothing to look forward to either, as the team does not have a first or a second round draft pick. Besides Mikael Backlund, the prospect cupboard is pretty bare, the core group is aging, and cap space is tight.
The Flames captain has been with the organization for 13 years. He has been a model citizen on and off the ice, and is considered the face of the franchise, however, he is going to turn 33 years old in July, and has been carrying this franchise on his back for a long, long time.
The sad thing is he’s never had any help. It is not a shock that around the league, there are two things that have been constant for the last decade: the Flyers not having goaltending, and Iginla not having a true No. 1 center to play with.
Yes, Langkow and Craig Conroy have been his running mates in past seasons, and put up very respectable numbers, but neither will ever be mistaken for a top-line pivot. Sutter did bring in Jokinen, and obviously, the game that he plays is very similar to Iginla’s, and the duo just did not mesh. It happens, so that is no biggie.
If you look at the roster, who else could you trade to get some value? Langkow and Regehr are solid players, but the return for either of them is not going to be tremendous. Kiprusoff would definitely net the team some assets, but then who is going to play in net, Jamie McLellan?
Iggy probably only has a few more good seasons left in him, and there is no point in him rotting away on a club that is not a serious Stanley Cup contender. He deserves to win, and if it’s not going to be in Calgary, then it might as well be somewhere else. Right now would be the last opportunity to move him, and get a valuable return on assets.
Unlike the Phaneuf deal, which had its arguments on both sides, there will be nobody that disagrees with the value of a Jarome Iginla being the missing piece on a contending team.
If Iginla was available, do you think GMs would rather pay Ilya Kovalchuk or trade for Iggy? My feeling is it would be the latter.
Who wouldn’t want a quality locker room guy that can lead on and off the ice, drop his gloves when necessary, and is a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner?
Bottom line is that the Calgary Flames have a lot of work ahead of them. That could mean cleaning house and getting rid of the Sutter family, which would provide a culture change, but doesn’t necessarily mean the team will make the playoffs next season.
The biggest change needs to happen with the core, and trading Iginla is the only logical move that will help bring the team multiple assets for the future, whether it is solid prospects or draft picks.
It is going to be an interesting summer in Cowtown, that’s for sure.