Did the Flames/Penguins Get Value in the Iginla Deal?

August 02 2013 02:08PM



Objectively assessing a trade can be difficult and the common belief is that whomever receives the best player in the deal wins. This isn’t entirely true as assets can develop, emerge and teams can go through many changes that aren’t immediately obvious or quantifiable.

The first pronouncement on the Iginla deal was that the Flames got the short end of the stick. Many fans and observers were underwhelmed with the initial return for Iginla. However, since he has now signed with the Penguins’ divisional rival - the same one that shut both he and the team that traded for him out in the conference finals - the scales would appear to be tipping back in the Flames’ favour at this point.

Now seems as good a time as any to take another look at the overall deal and reassess the value received on either side relative to the costs and risks involved.


The Deal

First, the trade itself: March 28th, 2013 – to the Penguins Jarome Iginla. To the Flames the rights to Ken Agostino, rights to Ben Hanowski, and a 2013 1st round pick.

I have listed the trade as it appeared on that day, including the rights to the players and a 1st round pick whose place was as yet undetermined for the purpose of highlighting the exact nature of what Feaster and Shero negotiated.

The Penguins got Iginla for 28 games, 13 regular season and 15 post-season during which he chipped in 11 regular season points (5-6-11) and 12 post-season points (4-8-12),averaging over 15 minutes a night in the post-season. He was a contributor in the Penguins’ run to the end of the regular season and was a factor in their first two post-season series wins, but was shut out during the conference finals against the Bruins managing only five shots and going -4 on the series with only 2 penalty minutes.

He was not alone amongst Penguins forwards in this regard as Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and other star players were effectively kept under wraps by the Bruins during the Conference Finals.

The trade benefited the Penguins by providing depth to a team that is clearly within their window of opportunity to win championships. Ray Shero is under pressure to capitalize on the talent they have assembled at this moment and produce a legacy of winning before the inevitable decline. In this way the trade was a responsible use of assets and, disappointment and defeat aside, was a reasonable bet on a player with a consistent record. 

From the Other Side of the Table

Going the other way, the Flames got two prospects ranked around the middle of the Penguins’ system by Hockey’s Future and a 1st round selection. The Flames’ development system this spring was facing a shortage of capable prospects at or near ready to jump to the NHL. They have some promising forwards in the system but most are several years’ away from challenging for an NHL job. Hanowski addresses this need and the inclusion of the 1st round pick is a given for any team trading away franchise core players and that is fully cognizant of their imminent need to rebuild. Agostino is still in the NCAA with one more year of eligibility in Yale and is also close to making the jump to the AHL.

Both Hanowski and Agostino are forwards who projected well in the Penguins’ system as bottom six-support players who can contribute offensively and play an intelligent game. Shero deemed them expendable on account of the aforementioned window of opportunity, despite the fact that this left the team with a noticeable shortage of left wing prospects in the system.

The 1st round pick turned out to be 28th overall and returned prospect Morgan Klimchuk, a player whose resume carries some of the same attributes as Agostino and Hanowski: someone who displays hockey intelligence, brings offense to the game, plays a competitive style and appears to display a strong work ethic. He also projects to be a good complementary player who can contribute to a strong team.



The cost to the Penguins wasn’t insignificant as they now have a weak prospect base on the left wing and felt confident that the 1st round pick would fall somewhere between 27th and 30th.

To the Flames the cost of the deal had more perhaps to do with organizational pride than anything. The Flames franchise defined itself by Iginla for the last decade and the act of trading him away signaled a move that had been resisted, denied even, by every facet of the franchise for the past few years. That being said the alternative would have been to lose Iginla to free agency and thus watch as a core asset turned to ash in their hands.

Who Won?

On trade day the Penguins won the trade. The day they were eliminated from the playoffs the deal was more or less even, following the draft the deal swung in Calgary’s favour and the moment that Iginla signed with the Bruins as a free agent it was a clear win for the Flames. Years from now, if none of Agostino, Hanowski or Klimchuk play more than a combined 100 NHL games the deal would probably look like a horrible loss for the Flames, but as revisions and hindsight take their toll on the deal one needs to be mindful of the weak position from which Feaster bargained

If any one of the players the Flames got in return for Iginla becomes an NHL player who can legitimately play in the top six or post a career of 600 NHL games or more then the deal becomes a win for the Flames. Iginla’s career numbers were based on his time in Calgary, and aren’t likely to change significantly now that he has left. The team didn’t sell a young star too soon, and had benefited from every ounce of his value internally before finally finding him a new home. Any fault one finds in the trading of Jarome Iginla should be centered around waiting too long to make the move, and less so on the deal once it was finalized.

Did the Penguins get value in the move? Arguably no, as they likely would have made it as far as they did with or without Iginla. He was a contributor but is past the stage in his career where he could carry a team through a playoff series on his own.

Did the Flames get value from the deal? Iginla was an expiring UFA and it was clear to everyone that he was not going to re-sign in Calgary. Therefore, logically it would have been a good move to trade him for the rights to Linus Omark and a signed Gino Odjick helmet. Given the state of the Flames franchise heading into a complete rebuild and faced with the prospect of losing an asset without compensation, the only reasonable thing to do was to trade him. When one factors in the veto power Iginla had in negotiating his final destination the return is understandable, laudable even. The Flames got value for Iginla though, not because of any superior negotiating power, but because their backs were against the wall and they had only two options.

Perhaps as the years go on and Hanowski, Agostino and Klimchuk develop, and as Iginla’s career gradually winds down, perceptions will change.

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#51 BJ
August 06 2013, 07:32AM
Trash it!
BurningSensation wrote:

Not much surprise, but I totally disagree.

The quality portion of each deal lies in the 1st rnd pick, the quantity lies in the ancillary parts Feaster managed to extract.

Poirier and Klimchuk are the key pieces in both of the deals, with Agostino, Hanowski, Bera and Cundari representing the depth players good teams have in their pipelines.

Iginla got us 2 college prospects and a 1st rnd pick in a deep draft. In return we gave up not even 20 games of his services.

Bouwmeester got us a 1st, a potential backup goaltender (or better) entering his prime, and depth defender. Not bad for a guy who just signed a ticket for over $6M a season and no playoff games on his resume.

In both cases there was no 'free market' for their services as both had NMCs, and big ticket contracts that needed to be renewed.

As for the getting 'better players' by reducing the asking price from 3 assets downwards, there is no evidence that 'better players' were on offer even if we reduced the request. For example I don't see Ty Rattie popping loose from StLouis in any Bouwmeester trade, nor do I see a Derek Pouliot or Beau Bennett being available in the Iggy deal no matter what else we asked for.

So, yeah, Feaster got quality (1st round picks) and quantity (the rest of the assets) in those deals. I'd say he made out like a bandit all things considered.

BS, I am with in that I don't think better players were ever a possibility here:

The Blues and the Pens were going for it so that means that any roster players are out of the equation.

With everyone on the Pens and Blues getting paid they are going to lose some players which means they will need their top prospects to stay in contention so that rules out guys like Maatta and Rattie.

Calgary is going into rebuild which begins with the draft - so any of these deals started with the centerpiece being first round pick. In a deep draft these firsts are valuable. A lot of teams in contention chose to retain their picks.

So we have a first round pick as a starting point: Calgary gets a good prospect in Agostino and a guy in Cundari who should be able to function in the NHL as an Andrew Ference type. Add in Berra who is really a question mark.

The returns don't knock my socks off but Feaster did ok. I think as a lot of fans do, Flames fans are overvalueing our players which is normal. A 36 year old Iginla and Bouwmeester who struggled (let's be honest here - he is talented but he was billed as a top line Dman and he does indeed struggle when facing top competition) are not going to fetch us a top young player.

But... if Klimchuk and Poirier turn out as top six forwards... if Cundari can take that 4/5 spot and Agostino... who knows really... he has the size and battle to likely be a 3rd line guy, if his offense tranlates he could play on the 2nd line. That's likely a best case scenario. But for guys who were going to walk as UFAs, I don't know that better deals were out there.

#52 Avalain
August 06 2013, 08:54AM
Trash it!


"The Flames are at step one, that is probably the better way of phrasing it."

Actually, I think step one is "denial".

#53 Robb
August 16 2013, 12:34AM
Trash it!
RexLibris wrote:

The Oilers rebuild started in the winter of 2010 (January to February).

They may have been terrible before that, but unless management actively seeks to prioritize internal development and the draft then they are just being a bad team.

The Flames began that process this past spring. Some have argued for sooner, but I believe that it was a retooling with less focus on restructuring their core group.

By that calendar the Flames are approximately three years behind the Oilers. However, as I mention above, comparing rebuilds directly isn't necessarily productive. There are a multitude of variables to take into account (winning the draft lottery, health and progression of prospects' development, etc).

The Flames are at step one, that is probably the better way of phrasing it.

I suppose you're correct in stating that they "actively" began a rebuild in 2010 but it certainly wasn't the beginning of their rebuild. I don't think it's unfair for Flames fans to compare the Flames team of now to the Oilers after the 07 draft.

Actually if I'm being completely honest, I think if you told people that the Oilers' rebuild began in "winter of 2010" they might think you were crazy. It started in 2007 whether they wanted it to or not.

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