At 34 years of age, Jarome Iginla sits as captain of the Calgary Flames. Chances are, unless the Flames change up their roster and go on an incredible run, Iginla will likely end his NHL career without a Stanley Cup ring on his finger.
Iginla came within a Kerry Fraser missed call of winning the Cup in 2004 and time is likely ticking a lot quicker on his career.
Iginla has a cap hit of $7 million and that will be for this year and next year, before he becomes a free agent.
Hypothetically, getting traded to a Cup contender and winning it all before returning to Calgary would do wonders for Iginla's career and the Cup experience he brings back to Calgary could be the bump that room needs to get to the next level.
The question is, what team would have the best shot at winning it all while Iginla is on board? Another question would be if the Flames management team finds a team capable of the feat, would Iginla waive his no movement clause in his contract?
On that note, here are 10 teams that could possibly win it all while Iginla is a member of their roster. Remember, it's all hypothetical, so don't go off the wagon about any team on here and what could be offered in a trade. As I always say, we're all hockey fans, so let's have a good discussion, not a series of team bashing and disrespectful comments.
And it begins...
Simply looking at the title, all you Leaf haters are already on my case for even mentioning the team in Cup contention.
Here's the facts: the Leafs have a way better team than they did the last few years and they also boast two of the top scorers in the league in Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.
Adding Iginla to the Leafs' roster would be huge for the team.
The Leafs and Flames have a history of big trades as two of the last three Leaf captains have come to town via trade from Calgary in multi-man deals. That's Doug Gilmour and current captain Dion Phaneuf, in case you forgot.
Bringing in another leader and a guy who has deep playoff experience could be what the Leafs are looking for.
Trading away a guy like Clarke MacCarthur and adding in Mike Komisarek to the deal may do the trick, but for a trade to work like this, the Leafs would probably have to add a prospect and/or a high pick to land a big fish.
If you put Iginla on a line with the likes of Grabovski, who knows, the line could be more potent than...well, the Kulemin-Grabovski-MacCarthur line from last year.
Yes, it's a long shot that the Minnesota Wild will be Stanley Cup champions this year but then again, so were the Calgary Flames in 2004. OK, they didn't win, but a better example, the Boston Bruins in 2011, yeah, they weren't expected to beat Vancouver, but they did, and the Minnesota Wild could too because anything can happen in the playoffs.
Minnesota sits atop the Western Conference standings at the moment, a remarkable story early in this NHL season.
Players like Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard but in the end, it's who gets the win that counts, and the Wild are showing that, as they've won eight of their last 10 games and sport a 13-5-3 record. Having Iginla on that roster could push them from a good hot streak to an elite team and if the Wild play their cards right, they may not need to part with too much of their core.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard has two years (including this year) left on his deal that takes a $4.08M cap hit and could be a good trade off, but logic would dictate that for a player of Iginla's caliber, there would have to be a lot more included to get the deal done, especially considering the divisional rivalry.
The Buffalo Sabres have been beefing up for a couple years now and with Terry Pegula as the owner, the team has been on a spending spree to get back to the playoffs and get to the Stanley Cup, something that eluded them when the Dallas Stars beat them in 1999, thanks to the controversial "foot-in-the-crease" goal by Brett Hull.
The Sabres have a lot of salary tied in with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville, but the addition of Iginla wouldn't have to be at the cost of either of them, though, I'm sure if a trade for Iginla was in the works in Buffalo, you can be sure the Flames management team would campaign hard to get one of them. Of course, in the case of Pominville, the Flames would have to hope he doesn't include them on his eight-team "do not trade" list that he's entitled to in his contract.
Anyway, the Sabres did a solid for Calgary by taking Robyn Regehr in the offseason for salary cap purposes—it could be repayment.
The most likely candidate going the other way could be Brad Boyes. The former St. Louis Blues star is in the final year of his contract and hasn't been the breakout star he was when he scored 43 goals in 2007-08. Calgary would look for more, but Boyes would likely go the other way.
A Buffalo team with Iginla would be a major threat in the Eastern Conference and a likely Stanley Cup candidate, especially if everyone stays healthy. Of course, they'll need to step up with star goalie Ryan Miller out with a concussion.
The Ducks are quacking at the door and want another Stanley Cup. Star performers Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are consistently top-tier performers and with great depth, the Ducks are already primed to be Stanley Cup contenders.
The addition of Iginla gives the Ducks more options for a top-six player, but they will likely have to part with another top-six guy, likely Jason Blake, who is in his contract year.
The Ducks may sit in 14th in the West, but with a player like Iginla they might just climb the ladder to the top of the NHL and in a competitive Western Conference. All you have to do is make the playoffs and then go on a streak, like the Ducks did in 2003.
After making wholesale changes to their roster, the Flyers are still one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
They may need to clear some salary to do so, but to add a Jarome Iginla to the lineup could do wonders for the squad. Yes, they already have Jaromir Jagr for veteran leadership, but you can never have enough voices in the locker room, especially if those voices are of guys who have gone deep, like the Flyers did in 2010.
Having everyone working hard towards a common goal, the Flyers are one of the teams that are good enough to be Cup contenders for a while.
In the case of getting Iginla, the Flyers will have to free up some space, like Danny Briere. Not necessarily singling him out but then again, you would have to pay a hefty price to get the services of a former Rocket Richard Trophy winner, and Briere may not even be enough.
The Blackhawks have more long-term deals than they know what to do with, so why not get an elite player on a short-term basis and get back to the Stanley Cup.
It might be at the cost of a few players that haven't been there for too long, so if a trade were to go down here, don't expect a core guy like Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Keith or Seabrook to be on the move.
Still, the Hawks' cap management has been great since their Cup run in 2010, and they have over $5 million in cap space, so taking on the salary of Iginla would be easy by just throwing a bunch of depth players to Calgary. However, the Flames would expect some grit and skill coming the other way, too.
Michael Frolik would be the most likely candidate on the move, but like I said before, the Flames would expect a ton more than him.
The Kings are another one of those teams that are loaded with talent that, even without trading for Iginla, could make a run for the Stanley Cup.
Trading for Iginla could give them that one push that gets them over the hump and with a plethora of veterans like Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar up front and a young, gritty defensive core led by Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty, who knows where they can go?
The Kings sit at 11-7-4, good for sixth in the West.
To trade for Iginla, the Kings would have to trade some salary back to the Flames in the form of perhaps Dustin Penner, Jarret Stoll and/or Willie Mitchell, who are all in their contract year.
It's not likely to happen, but the Kings can a test to the theory that even Wayne Gretzky was traded, so anything is possible in the NHL.
The defending Stanley Cup champions haven't lost much of a step from last season and are one of the favourites to win it all and repeat for the first time since Detroit did in 1997 and 1998.
The Bruins aren't scared of trading away first-rounders to get talent to go on a big run, like they did with Tomas Kaberle last season.
That would be the likely scenario if they wanted to get a guy like Iginla, as well as free up some cap space. Could Marc Savard be traded? It would be a losing scenario for the Flames but add in a couple prospects and first-round picks and this could be a good trade for both, and Savard would have to waive his no-trade clause.
Imagine a Milan Lucic-Patrice Bergeron-Iginla line for a moment—that would be an excellent top line, and you could still likely have the talents of Nathan Horton, David Krejci and Brad Marchand, among others...that is, if they remain in Boston in this trade scenario.
The Red Wings are always near the top of the NHL standings and have been the most consistent performers in the last 20 years, winning four Stanley Cups since 1997 and making postseason appearances in 25 of the last 27 years, including setting the standard with 20 consecutive playoff appearances.
Adding Iginla to that lineup could bring them back to the No. 1 spot in the conference and help them make another Stanley Cup Finals appearance after their two consecutive appearances in 2008 and 2009.
Getting rid of some salary would be required but could be as easy as shedding the likes of Jiri Hudler and Tomas Holmstrom. It's not a likely scenario with those players involved but again, this is merely hypothetical and in that sense, Iginla joining the ranks of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen would make this Detroit team a scary team to meet up with at any point.
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Jarome Iginla
The above pretty much says it all when it comes to Stanley Cup contenders.
The Washington Capitals have choked under pressure in the playoffs in numerous years and haven't exactly had the veteran leadership needed to get through playoff series after playoff series. But imagine the damage that could be done in the East if Iginla was in the Capitals' organization.
George McPhee has the chance to make his team better and although it may come at the cost of Alex Semin, you can't teach the results that Iginla could bring in.
Yes, Ovechkin and Iginla are shoot-first types of players but if they can develop chemistry, along with Backstrom, they can be an imposing force.
After seeing them fall 7-1 to the Leafs the other night, the Capitals are in great need of getting their scoring touch back and it could start with trading Semin for Iginla. McPhee would definitely need to add something else to the trade to free up some cap space for the Flames captain's $7M cap hit
What do you think? What other team would Iginla turn into a Stanley Cup winner?