Jarome Iginla to the San Jose Sharks? Why It Makes Sense for Both Sides
After Iginla led his Flames all the way to the Stanley Cup finals back in 2003-04, Calgary has gone on to make the playoffs in each of the next four seasons.
Unfortunately for Iginla, his team didn't win a single series in that timeframe, losing in the opening round every year.
But this season would be different right?
I mean, that streak couldn't possibly continue this season, could it?
Well, it did and it didn't.
This year, the Flames didn't even qualify for the playoffs as they finished 10th in the Western Conference with 90 points, five short of making the dance.
So depending on your point of view, one streak continues and one has come to an end. Calgary's streak of zero series wins since '03-'04 continues but the streak of an annual first round collapse has ended.
And consequently, with matters in Calgary heading in the wrong direction, it is highly likely that their captain and leading scorer will be shipped out of town.
While Iginla will continue to be a class act and say all the right things about wanting to stay in Calgary and that the Flames are only a couple pieces away from Stanley Cup contention, it is clear that parting ways is something he wouldn't be opposed to.
"If they don't want me here and they want to move in a direction or rebuild or believed they could do better, I would look at it. Absolutely."
Reading between the lines, it appears that if Calgary receives an offer to their liking, Iginla would be willing to waive his no trade clause to be traded out of town.
But one thing is obvious for the soon to be 33-year-old Iginla, in order to waive his no trade clause, the offer has to come from a clear-cut Stanley Cup contender.
Enter the San Jose Sharks.
Moving forward, the truly elite Cup contenders in hockey for next season are undoubtedly the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks.
Now of course one of the other 23 teams could easily surprise and win next year's Cup. And because of that possibility, the label of "true Stanley Cup Contenders" has got plenty of scrutiny behind it.
But you can be assured, that a list similar the one mentioned above will be Iginla's list of acceptable destinations.
Being an older player, you can be assured Iginla will only waive his no trade clause if the team vying for his services is clearly better equipped than his current squad.
And out of the other 23 teams, Calgary has as good a chance as any of them to make a run next season.
Therefore, if Iginla does find himself in a new sweater come next season, you can bet on him donning the jersey of one of those seven "true contenders".
Now out of all seven teams, the Sharks make as much, if not more sense, than any of the other six.
I mean let's look at the scenarios logically, shall we?
Either the Blackhawks or Flyers will win the Cup this year, and why would the team who wins the Cup trade away some of their championship pieces for another super star?
It just doesn't make sense.
And the finals team that loses isn't likely to add another star forward. The Blackhawks for example have a lot of money already put into the likes of Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
They're not going to add Iginla.
As for Philadelphia, they already have two premier right-handed shooting forwards in Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere. Not to mention multiple other big name forwards in Simon Gagne, Scott Hartnell and Simon Gagne.
Therefore, Philadelphia will almost certainly not be in the running for Iginla's services.
So you can throw those two teams out of the sweepstakes which leaves us with five teams.
Pittsburgh has already won a cup with their current squad behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. While Bill Guerin may not be around much longer, (opening up a spot for a right-handed power forward) it just doesn't seem necessary for a team like the Penguins to add another superstar.
They already have the team they feel can get the job done because they just won the Stanley Cup last season.
I don't like the chances that Pittsburgh seeks out a trade for Iginla.
As for the Washington Capitals, they have put in an enormous amount of money towards big time stars Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. While they could definitely be a suitor for Iginla, it would be a surprising move considering offense is by far the least of Washington's problems.
That leaves the three most likely destinations for Iginla being the Red Wings, Canucks and Sharks.
But with the Chris Osgood magic now supremely put in the past, and Nicklas Lidstrom on his last legs, the time to join Detroit for a Cup run has come and gone. While the team from hockeytown is still considered a "true contender," they don't seem to have that same daunting stature they had even a year ago.
Which leaves Vancouver and San Jose, two perennial playoff teams that have yet to win the Stanley Cup in their respective histories.
Vancouver arguably makes as much sense as San Jose. Playing alongside the Sedin twins could be a nice fit for Iginla and the Canucks did fare better in the win-loss column against the Blackhawks in the playoffs than did the Sharks.
But then why in the world would the Flames trade their best player to a division rival?
Sure it happens in sports, most recently the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL traded away their quarterback Donovan McNabb to their division rival Washington Redskins.
However, it is an extremely rare occurrence and when it comes to the NHL, it is even more unlikely for a team to trade their very best player inside the division.
It just doesn't happen.
And so by process of elimination, the most likely destination for Iginla would be the San Jose Sharks.
Despite their recent regular season domination and Western Conference finals appearance, the Sharks are clearly in need of a right handed shot on the power-play, as well as power forward with undeniable work ethic.
San Jose hasn't had a player of this caliber since Owen Nolan left in 2003, and Iginla fits these descriptions to a tee.
And by letting both Evgeni Nabokov and Patrick Marleau walk in free agency, adding Iginla wouldn't be difficult on the financial end. Not to mention that the main cog in a potential trade would most likely be winger Ryane Clowe who makes a solid 3.6 million annually.
The Sharks have the financial freedom and valuable pieces to make this deal happen and Iginla has an itch to play for a "true contender."
Combine those notions with the fact that Sharks GM Doug Wilson isn't afraid to swing the blockbuster deal---see Thornton, Joe; Boyle, Dan; Heatley, Dany--- and Iginla in teal next season is a realistic possibility.
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