With Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter stepping down, the topic of Jarome Iginla is hot again, even if it holds no merit.
New GM Jay Feaster has made it clear that he has no intention of trading Iginla this season, as has been stated previously.
But what is best for the Flames? How do the fans feel? How would this benefit Iginla?
There are a few different areas to consider when considering the Flames' position at the moment, a few of which are explored here.
There's no doubt: in Calgary, Jarome Iginla is a fan favourite. It would probably be safe to say he's a fan favourite among many, not just Flames fans.
He's classy. He's an all-around good player. He has played his entire career with Calgary. For nine straight seasons, he's had 30 goals or more. What's not to love?
Of course, what comes along with this is the fact that Iginla has established himself in Calgary. This includes his family, and the hesitation to be traded is likely on his end, too.
Realistically, the Flames have a long road ahead, rebuild or no rebuild.
Even more realistically, it appears as though the Stanley Cup won't be coming to Calgary anytime soon.
Jarome Iginla, age 33, is not that old. He still has many years left in him as a vital contributor to any team.
In the same breath, in terms of hockey years, it seems as though there is a small window where a hockey player can get their hands on the glorious Cup. Some only see the finals once (like Jeremy Roenick) and lose. Some not at all.
But if there is anyone that deserves the Stanley Cup, it's Iginla, and this is something widely agreed upon amongst hockey fans. After all, if Matt Cooke and Adam Burish can both win the Cup, Iginla definitely should as well.
True, some, like Rod Brind'Amor, have won the Cup later in their career. It's just less likely to happen.
If Iginla would like this to happen sooner rather than later, a trade may be his only option. Honestly, I don't believe that Flames fans would disagree with his decision. Nothing would be better than to see Iginla get retribution for the 2004 loss.
If Iginla has the patience to wait out the storm, and try to deal with the legacy Darryl Sutter has left the Flames, then possibly he could win the Cup with Calgary.
Laugh all you want, it's hard to say where any teams will be in five or six years. Like I said before though, the Flames have a long road ahead, and Iginla's decision to stay could be the nail in the coffin of his Cup hopes.
Everyone is questioning where the Flames go from here.
Feaster, at the moment, is not looking to rebuild. However, if it becomes clear that a rebuild is the best path for the Flames to take, Iginla would likely make himself available for trade.
That being said, I imagine Iginla would only remove his NMC for a handful of teams and would most likely seek a trade with a Stanley Cup-contending team. This could possibly be the best thing for Iginla's career, and not just in the sense that he'd have a better chance of winning the ultimate prize; it could also improve his numbers.
The Flames' determination to acquire Olli Jokinen was driven by the fact that Iginla needed a first-line centreman to play with, and this experiment has obviously not worked out.
Sure, Iginla's game is also not where it used to be, but it's not hard to see what Iginla can accomplish when he has chemistry with linemates. This was best proven with Mike Cammalleri.
If Iginla can find a team where he'll be playing alongside elite players, he could potentially bring his game back up around where it used to be not that long ago.
As far as the Flames go, another potentially failed season to make the playoffs may leave them with no other options. The core (Robyn Regehr, Miikka Kiprusoff, Iginla) is only getting older. They all have a decently high cap hit, so the longer the Flames wait, the harder it will be to trade them.
If they're going to go the route of the rebuild, they have to do it ASAP and commit to it; try and make the process as painless as possible. The Flames are going to have to draft high if they want it to make a difference, especially given their drafting history. Trust me, don't look into it.
Speaking of decent scouting... hey, uh Detroit? Can we borrow something?
The clock is ticking on both ends.
Iginla, with a cap hit of $7 million and a contract extending until 2013, has a hefty contract to take on. With his numbers faltering (he's currently on pace to hit around 70 points, similar to last season), this contract is less attractive than it previously was, though I still see it as fair, considering what Iginla could have been offered at the time.
He's only getting older, and it may just be fact that this 70-point range is where he will remain.
Similarly, Iginla only has a short amount of time to decide where he wants to take his career. If he no longer sees Calgary as a place he could bring the Cup, there would be little reason for him to remain here. Iginla would be a valuable asset to any team, and like I said, it wouldn't surprise me to see him flourish with a Stanley Cup contender, even returning to the old numbers he used to put up.
Unfortunately, that would be heartbreaking for Flames fans, though.
So why are we in this position?
There are few other places to point than Darryl Sutter. An odd shotgun contract to Matt Stajan here, an overpaid defenceman there (take your pick); the contracts we want to trade away are very unlikely to be taken upon by any other team.
So yes, we are left with Iginla, Kiprusoff, Regehr, etc. being on the trading block.