Jarome Iginla Dealt to Penguins

The whole country seemed to stop, or in the least too notice. Local hockey fans young and old, seasoned or bandwagoners, were stunned. With the Calgary Flames slipping out of playoff contention yet again, it became apparent was a ‘rebuild’ was the reluctant direction.

The Calgary Flames traded their captain and franchise record holder in most categories to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a first round pick in this year's draft, and two college prospects Ben Hawnoski and Kenneth Agostino.

Unfortunately, with any rebuilds comes with the necessity of return. Rewind two years and one may encounter a scenario where a much more effective Jarome Iginla could fetch a greater return than what transpired.

The heartbreaking loss for the city of their hockey icon, the face of the franchise but also ambassador for the city, has been processed and the result don’t look good. How this came to be and what it means going forward doesn’t look great either.

Flames fans should be disappointed to the core. Flames brass had years to make the decision they did, but it was the fact they had to make it at all that pains most people.

Jarome Iginla’s legacy will now never rival that of Yzerman, Lemieux, or Sakic, despite being the top RW of our generation.

Why? He never spent his career with one franchise and more importantly, never won with that franchise.

Who’s faul is that?

THe fact a trade was discussed and concluded is a testament to ownership and management of their inability to build a winning hockey club. Despite the best RW and top 3 goalie of our generation, there were too many holes to fill.

Consider this, of Iginla’s 16 years his best centerman was probably Craig Conroy (points wise). No offence to Conroy, but that’s atrocious.

Management and ownership had all the opportunities yet squandered them all. This rests squarely on them.

But after the ‘glory’ years of the mid 2000s things started to taper off as expectations grew but results declined. The Darryl Sutter era completely decimated this organizations of any kind of prospect pool for nearly a decade of which we’re only now beginning to recover. That coupled by exceptionally poor trades and drafts combined to make a Flames squad that looked good enough to fill the building, but never good enough to compete at an elite level.

This should have been evident years ago, in fact it was, but when you sell out buildings every night like Toronto, changing course 180 degrees is difficult.

Of course, trading Iginla any sooner would’ve been likely worse than today since two years ago most fans had the notion the team could theoretically compete. That’s obviously changed as the team continues to spiral out of control to the depths of the league basement.

As for Iginla, he was approached a month ago about the possibility of a trade, and likely had his mind set on one location all along–Pittsburgh. Fact is, he would’ve stayed and battled giving everything he had to make this year’s version work, but the team couldn’t pull it together 3 weeks ago.

I wonder if any of the players knew Iggy’s added incentive to win….

Then came the fateful day. Although Calgary had a better deal with Boston, a deal even Boston though was done, it was left to Iginla to decide. Pittsburgh was lucky they had some leverage in negotiations because the assets they gave up will amount to NOTHING.

Two average college prospects that will likely NEVER crack the NHL lineup, and 1st rounder that may amount to nothing (less than 50% chance and lower since it’s the Flames drafting).

So in reality, this was a chance to send a local legend away to win a Championship. Iginla didn’t necessarily want it this way. If this was a winning club, and if this club were ‘turning things around’ he would’ve stayed at re-signed. But the writing was on the wall, and having him traded certainly saves face on Iginla if he merely signed in the off-season as a UFA. It also opens the door for a possible return to Calgary in his twilight years, and given Iginla is an elite athlete we can count on a few extra years on top of the average hockey player.

Which brings us to another point. If Iggy wins a Cup this year does he resign? I highly doubt that, it would be unprecedented in any sport to return so soon. He’ll play at a discount, probably for Pittsburgh, for at least another year. That’s where our expectations should lie.

All in all, the loss is hard to swallow. Hard to see, of all the players on the chopping block, the Captain go first. Fans weren’t ready, it seemed too soon, it seemed like it shouldn’t have happened at all.

Yet here we are, in a new chapter, a chapter that starts anew on top of an old story that could’ve been a fairytale but instead was a disappointing saga of mediocrity.

Good luck to #12, we hope a Championship is on its way.