Winners and Losers of Jarome Iginla Trade to Pittsburgh

Alex H@Alexhoegler27Correspondent IMarch 28, 2013

Winners and Losers of Jarome Iginla Trade to Pittsburgh

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    After being the most notable and sought-after player leading up to the April 3 trade deadline, Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla is officially a Pittsburgh Penguin.

    Many conflicting reports stated he was heading to Boston, including tweets from TSN's Aaron Ward and Bob McKenzie.

    However, CBC's Elliote Friedman tweeted that "Feaster was live now," to make an announcement.

    Once Flames GM Jay Feaster appeared on my television screen, McKenzie tweeted that Iginla was traded to Pittsburgh:

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    Jarome Iginla traded to PIT for PIT's 1st rounder in 2013 and college prospects Kenneth Agostino (Yale) and Ben Hanowski (St. Cloud State).

    With Iginla off the market and heading to the Penguins, let's take a look at the winners and losers of this blockbuster trade.

Winner: Pittsburgh Penguins

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    We'll start with the obvious.

    Pittsburgh added a player who has scored more than 30 goals in each of the past 12 seasons—and that was without an elite center feeding him the puck.

    Imagine what damage he will do playing on a line with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin centering his line. We all remember what happened last time Crosby and Iginla were playing on the same line.

    Pittsburgh is 26-8-0 with 52 points and first overall in the Eastern Conference. They're in the midst of a 13-game winning streak.

    They've scored a league-leading 117 goals so far this season and have a goal differential of plus-33.

    The Penguins also have the league's second-best power play with a success rate of 23.8 percent.

    Now they have added one of the most consistent scorers in the past decade who's hungry to win his first Stanley Cup.

    The most dangerous offense in the league only got better.

    Which brings us to the next slide...

Loser: Rest of the Eastern Conference

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    It was tough enough to defend against the league's top scoring attack with the likes of leading scorer Sidney Crosby (54 points) to go along with James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis and Evgeni Malkin.

    Now the Penguins have added Iginla.

    This roster is very similar to the 2009 Stanley Cup-winning team, so they have the much-needed experience and know what it takes to win the Cup.

    The Penguins are never an easy team to beat, and they just became a much better team.

    Oh, and they weren't forced to deal away any of their top-notch prospects in this deal.

    While 14 other teams in the Western Conference are smiling, 14 teams in the Eastern Conference have just seen their road to the Stanley Cup become significantly more difficult.

    Good luck with that, you're all going to need it.

Winner: Calgary Flames

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    The Flames traded away their captain who's played all of his 16 seasons with the club, leading the franchise in all-time goals, points and games played.

    How does that make them winners?

    Due to the fact that they have finally started rebuilding, which should have started long ago. Calgary consistently overpaid for players (hello, Jay Bouwmeester and Dennis Wideman) believing they could compete for the playoffs, but they remained on the outside looking in, missing the playoffs the past three seasons.

    Iginla is 35 years old and doesn't have too many years left. He's also scheduled to hit free agency this summer. Rather than hold on to him and risk losing him for nothing, GM Jay Feaster netted a first-round pick and two prospects to improve this team's significantly weak prospect pool.

    The Flames are now headed toward rebuilding mode, and they have acquired key pieces to start that.

    Instead of being a team that underachieved and let down its fans, Calgary is now playing with nothing to lose for the rest of the season.

    Jay Feaster and Flames management hit a home run here.

Loser: Boston Bruins

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    While I mentioned that every other team in the Eastern Conference turned out to be losers here, one team stands out more than the rest—the Boston Bruins.


    Why? There are a few reasons.

    For one, they had a deal in place that was reported to be a package deal that would have sent their 2013 first-round pick and prospects Alex Khokhlachev and Matt Bartkowski to Calgary for Iginla.

    It's currently unknown what caused the reports that the Bruins were on the verge of completing a deal for Iginla, but one can assume that Pittsburgh's final offer was more attractive to Feaster than Boston's.

    This trade would have made the Bruins the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Instead, Iginla wound up going to the Penguins—by far Boston's biggest threat to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Winner: Rest of Western Conference

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    The Calgary Flames are 14th in the Western Conference with 30 points. That includes a repugnant 3-10-2 road record.

    The fact that they traded their best player away has immediately made the Flames a weaker team.

    Calgary has shown no signs of contending for the cup—or a playoff spot for that matter—anytime soon. Instead of fighting for a shot at the postseason, the Flames will likely be playing for a top-five pick in the entry draft for the next three or so seasons.

    That means that any team in the Western Conference that faces off against the Flames will have an easier time beating them, not needing to game-plan for Iginla anymore.

    In turn, teams in search of valuable points can pick them up against Calgary, and it gives each playoff contender one less team to worry about.

    Next year's realignment plan has Vancouver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose, Edmonton and Anaheim playing in Calgary's division, so it's anyone's guess how many points these teams should easily pick up against the Flames until they show signs of improvement.

Loser: Calgary Flames Fans

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    The Calgary Flames have one of the most passionate fanbases in sports—constantly selling out the Scotiabank Saddledome.

    Ticket prices in Calgary averaged $68.18 in 2011-12—which is the sixth-most according to hookedonhockeymagazine.com.

    Sadly for Flames fans, it's probably safe to say they won't be getting their money's worth anytime soon.

    Calgary has missed the playoffs the last three seasons, and that number only looks to go up in the foreseeable future.

    It's also never easy to say goodbye to a fan favorite who's arguably the greatest player in franchise history. Playing 16 seasons for one team is nothing to scoff at.

    While the Flames' front office did what was best for the franchise, it will take a long time for the fans to get over this, and it's possible the good folks of Calgary will never again admire or witness a player of Iginla's caliber—on or off the ice.

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