Despite the Calgary Flames impressive weekend of back-to-back wins over the Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks, they still sit 14th in the Western Conference.
The Flames are the second oldest team in the league this season, behind only the Red Wings, with an average age of 29.7. Mikael Backlund is the only player on an entry level contract, and the only regular under 26.
Adding to their woes is the severe lack of high end prospects. HockeysFuture.com ranks the Flames dead last in the league for quality of prospects.
Further working against the Flames is that past trades have left them with only one pick in the top 100 in this summer's NHL Entry Draft.
All in all, it's pretty much time for a rebuild in Calgary, and their most valuable asset is captain Jarome Iginla.
Iginla has been the face of not only the franchise, but of the entire city of Calgary for the last decade, and is the Flames all-time leader in games played, goals, and points.
Everyone in Calgary would be sad to see him go, but it's likely in the best interest of both Iggy and the Flames.
Complicating matters is Iginla's contract which has a cap hit of $7 million for two more seasons, and includes a complete no movement clause, but Iginla has said in the past that if he was approached about a trade he would consider it.
So, assuming that Iginla would waive his no movement clause, here are ten possible packages that the Flames could receive in exchange for Iginla.
Lars Eller is a 21 year old rookie center who was drafted 13th overall by the St. Louis Blues in 2007. He plays a physical style and is solid defensively, but has had a hard time finding the score sheet in his first season.
Eller was a key piece in the trade that sent Montreal's playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis.
Eller's potential upside is as a good second line center, think Jordan Staal.
Max Pacioretty is a 22 year old left winger in his third season in the NHL. So far in his career, Pacioretty has had a hard time sticking in the NHL, but has put up good numbers when he's been in the AHL.
This season, Pacioretty appears ready to stay in the NHL with a respectable 11 points in 19 games.
Pacioretty also plays a physical style, and would be a good fit in Calgary.
His potential upside is expected to be a first or second line winger who should put up around 30 goals per season.
James van Riemsdyk is a talented 21 year old left winger who was drafted second overall in 2007, behind only Patrick Kane.
JVR is big and fast, and after a slow start to the season, he seems to have found his game recently.
He'd be a great player for the Flames to start rebuilding around.
Matt Carle is a speedy 26 year old two way defenseman who plays a similar style to Mark Giordano. He's part of this package partly to balance the salaries, but also to add some mobility to the Flames defense core.
20 year old Derek Stepan captained the US World Junior team to gold at the 2010 tournament, and has been performing very well ever since.
He's currently third in the rookie scoring race, with 29 points, and hasn't looked out of place in the NHL, despite skipping past the usual stint in the AHL.
If he lives up to expectations, he should wind up being a first or second line center sometime in the next few years.
Wojtek Wolski is the newest member of the New York Rangers, having played only seven games since coming over in a trade from Phoenix for Michal Rozsival.
As such, he's a player the Rangers probably wouldn't mind trading, and his current spot on the top line would be filled by Iginla.
The 24 year old Wolski has showed flashes of brilliance in his NHL career, such as putting up 18 points in 18 games after joining the Coyotes at the trade deadline last season, and if he can sustain them, he can be a top line winger.
While Detroit isn't an overly likely player in the Jarome Iginla sweepstakes, if the opportunity came up for them to add Iggy to a forward core that already boasts the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen, one would have to think they'd be interested.
Brad Stuart played his junior hockey in Calgary, and had a brief stint with the Flames back in 2007. He knows the city and the organization, and seemed to enjoy his time there.
He'd add stability to the Flames' defense, and would allow the Flames to deal Robyn Regehr without worrying too much about it.
26 year old Filppula is emerging as a reliable two-way center who is best suited to a second or third line role, but has the skill to play on the top line when filling in for injuries.
Finally, the Flames add a draft pick to help start the rebuild. Depending on Detroit's willingness to do this trade, the first round pick could be dropped to a second rounder.
Brayden Schenn is going back to the Western Hockey League to finish this season after absolutely dominating the World Junior Championships while playing with a separated shoulder.
Schenn set a new Canadian record for most points in a single tournament, with 18, and further established his status as a can't miss prospect.
He's projected to be the top line center the Flames have needed for so long, and Flames fans are hoping this is the deal that gets done.
Alex Ponikarovsky won't really help the Flames, but will serve to free up the cap space in LA. LA signed Ponikarovsky as a free agent last summer, but he hasn't really worked out there.
Finally, Brandon Kozun balances the deal. He starred for the Calgary Hitmen in junior last year, and led the CHL in points over Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin.
The knock on Kozun is that he's too small–5'8" and 156 lbs–too play in the NHL. Scouts have him pegged anywhere from he'll be lucky to play in the NHL to a potential Martin St. Louis type upside.
He's very popular in Calgary, and being with the Flames probably gives him the best chance to succeed.
The 21 year old Czech Voracek is hard to figure out. He's definitely skilled, but how good he'll be is unknown. He currently has 31 points in 46 games, and has looked great at times this season.
Voracek's speed and slickness would be a very welcome asset in Calgary. If he's given the right opportunity, he should be a good top line winger.
Add in a mid-first round draft pick, and the Flames would have some key pieces to start rebuilding with.
As for the Blue Jackets, imagine a line of Rick Nash and Jarome Iginla, centered by Ryan Johansen. Talk about scary!
There's rumors going around that Shea Weber isn't happy in Nashville, and that he might want out. Weber is an upcoming restricted free agent, and there's definitely a risk someone would sign him to an offer sheet.
If Weber does want out, Jarome Iginla would be a great return for the offensively lackluster Predators.
If Weber wants to stay, then consider potential package two: Colin Wilson and Ryan Ellis.
Wilson is a big, talented center, who could eventually fill the coveted number one center position for the Flames. He's developed slowly, along the same lines as James van Riemsdyk, but should become a very good player.
Ryan Ellis was recently named top defenseman at the World Junior Championships, while captaining Team Canada to a silver medal performance.
Scouts are worried about Ellis' size translating to the NHL game, and most expect him to be a power play specialist if he makes it to that level.
Ellis has great potential upside, but is definitely a risk.
Brandon Sutter is big, fast, and great defensively. He plays a very similar game to Jordan Staal, but with a bit less offense.
He did put up good numbers in junior, and given the opportunity, could be good enough offensively to be a great second line center in the mold of Ryan Kesler.
Tuomo Ruutu plays a hard-hitting, agitating style and is very good offensively. He has 39 points in 48 games this season, and could play in Iginla's spot as the top line right winger.
Finally, Bobby Sanguinetti is a very intriguing defensive prospect. He's been good in both junior and the AHL, but it remains to be seen if his skills will translate to the NHL.
His upside is something like an Alex Goligoski.
Brad Boyes has put up seasons of over 40 goals and 70 points, but his production dropped to 42 points last season, and he's on pace for 47 points.
Nobody really knows if Boyes can get back up to his previous production, but at only 28, it's a definite possibility if he gets a fresh start.
Alex Pietrangelo is the key part of this deal for the Flames. He was the top ranked prospect in The Hockey News' 2010 Future Watch.
He's an all-around defenseman, who can play shutdown and offense, and projects out potentially almost as high as Nicklas Lidstrom.
The question is whether or not the Blues would consider moving him.
Blake Wheeler hasn't quite turned out the way the Phoenix Coyotes expected when they drafted him fifth overall in 2004. He never signed with them, and instead went to Boston.
He hasn't turned out quite the way they expected either, but Wheeler is beginning to prove himself as a good NHLer.
He's big and strong, and skates pretty well, but has gotten stuck low in the Bruins very deep forward core. If given an opportunity, Wheeler could still turn into a 40 goal scorer, and should develop to score 30 regularly at least.
The first round pick, whether the Flames can negotiate for the former Toronto Maple Leafs' pick, or the Bruins own, should balance this trade.
Originally, I had Marc Savard penciled in, instead of the first round pick, to balance the salary space. Then, Savard got his bell rung over the weekend, and looks like he may be out for a long time.
If Savard is indeed out long term, then the long term injured reserve credit will give the Bruins the cap space they need for Iginla's contract.