Call me crazy. Call me stark raving mad. This is my first article for Bleacher Report and I thought I would start with a bang by merging two very large rumors together.
Jarome Iginla is on the trading block. There is no question about that. He is a struggling franchise player on a struggling team. He is a genuine NHL superstar, although some would argue that he is past his prime.
The Calgary faithful are calling for the team to be burnt to the ground and rebuilt, which would start with trading their aging superstars, namely Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff.
Jeff Carter will be a restricted free agent at the end of this year, and will likely be looking for a raise from the cap-strapped Flyers. He is 25 years old and is in the prime of his career.
As for the Flyers themselves, their window of opportunity for a Cup is on the closing end. Players such as Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen and Danny Briere aren't getting any younger. Their time is now.
You can probably see where I'm headed with this.
A trade of Iginla for Carter, from Calgary's perspective, would be a positive one.
In Carter, they have a mid-ranged, scoring center to build their new franchise around. Whilst they would need to acquire a large number of prospects, draft picks and NHL-ready younger players in order to truly rebuild, they also need some mid-aged players to give them a chance of winning at least a game or two, and that the younger guys can learn from. Jeff Carter fills this mould perfectly.
From the Flyers perspective, the deal is also a positive one, but it isn't so clear cut. In my personal opinion, I think Iginla is a large upgrade over Carter.
Despite having a subpar season so far, Iginla brings the same (if not better) scoring capabilities as Carter, but with more physicality and better defensive awareness. However, there are some who would debate this, and on current form could argue that Carter is even better than Iginla.
If this were to be true, the trade would be undoubtedly a disaster for the Flyers, which does cast some doubts.
One aspect of the deal that makes it definitely beneficial for the Flyers and removes some of the doubts is that they would reduce their glut of star centers, which will allow more players to play at their natural position. Also, they will have locked up Iginla for three more years, while Carter will be a restricted free agent at the conclusion of the season anyway.
With the Flames new-found cap space, they can sign Carter to a long-term high-priced deal ($5.5 to 6 million), which is something the Flyers probably can't justify.
These salary cap issues do make a one-for-one trade impossible. According to capgeek.com, Iginla is earning seven million a season, while Carter is currently earning five million, and the Flyers have approximately $800,000 of cap space. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the Flyers would need to add something to the trade.
There are two legitimate possibilities here, those being Zherdev and van Riemsdyk. Both players, with current bonuses, are earning more than $1.5 million per season (according to capgeek.com), which would balance the salary situation. I believe that both these players are prime trade candidates from both the Flames and the Flyers perspectives.
First, lets look at Zherdev as a trade candidate. In Philadelphia, his defensive play has been poor and his offensive play has been a few rare glimmers of brilliance. He has struggled to get ice time on a Flyers unit with impressive offensive depth. However, from Calgary's perspective, he is another mid-range player who could provide an offensive spark—something they sorely need.
Van Riemsdyk, similarly to Zherdev, is also underachieving. The No. 2 pick of the 2007 Draft is yet to make any real impact in the NHL, and many are casting doubts over his abilities and potential.
Like Zherdev, he is struggling in the Flyers lineup that features considerable depth. But could Calgary ask for a better prospect in return for the face of their franchise? To them, van Riemsdyk would be the ideal candidate in their rebuilding phase. There is still plenty of time for him to develop.
Of course, with the addition of either of these players, Calgary would need to include compensation in the form of draft picks or prospects, especially if van Riemsdyk was the candidate.
So Calgary gets a mid-aged star and a supplementary player with which to build their franchise around, and the Flyers' get a superstar right winger to make a charge at the Cup before their window of opportunity closes.
Is the trade possible? Yes.
Is it a good deal for both sides? I think so.
Is it pure fantasy? Most Likely.
Thanks for reading.