What Makes an Elite Player…Elite?

(This is the third entry of the FN contributor search, this time by frequent commenter Vintage Flame. Make sure to keep the comments respectful because VF is a moderator ’round these parts.)

By Vintage Flame**

e·lite / i’lēt / Noun 1. A group of people considered to be the best in a particular society or category, especially because of their power, talent or wealth.

Over the past season or two… or three, there have been many threads and discussions debating whether or not Jarome Iginla was, or rather is still, an elite player in the NHL? I think to answer that, you have to look at what it is that actually makes a player “elite” in status. Do you scrutinize the underlying numbers that are so prevalent and monitored in forums such as Flames Nation? Or is there another aspect to a player’s game that elevates him to an elite level; be it in the stats pages or in the eyes of his peers?

Well, let’s look at the numbers first! Iggy is 34, going into his 15th season in the NHL with the Flames. Last year he recorded 43 goals, which ranked him 3rd in the NHL. He had 43 assists, placing him 27th; and a total of 86 points, putting him 6th overall in NHL scoring. Those aren’t bad numbers, especially since it was his highest goal total since the ’04 season when he hit the 50 goal mark.

One of the most debated variables in looking at Iginla’s numbers has been the availability of, what fans consider, a number one centre on his line. It’s no secret that the team has struggled to find that key asset for the Captain that will lessen the burden on the guy shouldering the load on the scoresheet. It seems in the past that, when Iggy is scoring, the team is winning; albeit barely. It seems that other role players “appear” to take too many nights off because Iginla is playing his ass off, so these other contributors (eg. Bourque, Glencross and Jokinen) aren’t putting in a full effort. The biggest problem with this trend is that when Iginla stops scoring, these other guys aren’t able to pick it up and carry him through any slumps or droughts that he experiences. This might have a lot to do with the ongoing struggle the Flames have to establish a set identity for the team.

Despite what is said in the media, or by the coaches & management, the identity of this team starts and stops with #12. Unfortunately, this is also what widens the gap between teams like Calgary and Vancouver. The Canucks have the ability to move players up and down the lineup to disrupt the flow of their opposition. If a team shuts down the Sedins, the Canucks have the luxury of Ryan Kesler, who has shown he can play with just about any forward on the team. Conversely, when the Flames start shuffling the deck of forwards, it’s out of desperation to get Iginla some quality ice time, usually to the detriment of the other lines and, ultimately, the team. The Flames have tried the buckshot attitude with the top line ever since 2001-02 when Conroy was the best fit for Iginla, both on and off the ice. Iggy registered his highest goal total [52] and his 2nd highest point total [96] of his career. He won the Art Ross, the Rocket Richard and the Lester B. Pearson awards. It was also a career year for Conroy in all three categories of goals, assists and points. So what’s happened since then? Plain and simple, the Flames have had a dwindling supporting cast that has made it possible for opposition to focus on cutting off the head of the dragon, to watch the body fall behind.

This is what brings me to other side of the “elite” coin. Despite all the short comings of the team as a whole, Iginla continues to put up the numbers. But I think what adds to the argument for the Captain as an elite player is that, in the course of these seasons, he continues to make the people he plays with better players. We have seen it with Conroy, we saw it with Mike Cammalleri in the 08-09 season, and we see it now with Alex Tanguay. It has been frustrating to see all these players brought into the organization to help the play of Iginla, only to see it have an inverse effect and subsequently result in the signing of big contracts on other teams. We have also seen this on the international stage. There is no doubt that, in the 2002 Olympics, the pairing of Iginla with Sakic filled up the scoresheet when it mattered. The same could be said for the 2010 Olympics when Iginla was paired with Sid the Kid. When it matters, in the NHL or International play, Iginla seems to be the spark or the catalyst that just makes everyone around him play to their full potential, if not more.

The debate will continue until the day he retires about when he stopped being an elite player in the NHL. However, I think one certainly has to or should consider the bigger picture when looking at a player of Iginla’s calibre. For a 34 year old player to not only finish 6th in NHL scoring, but to heighten the play of those around him, while carrying the entire weight of the team, the fans and the city on his back… one has to recognize that there is more to him than just numbers and statistics.

I’m not an expert by any means when it comes to Corsi or Fenwick stats. I know that his GVT rating is not even comparable when looking at the young snipers and leaders around the league. But what I have seen is this guy lead a pack of misfits and mistakes for the better part of the last decade, and still be respected and admired by his peers, be them teammates or opposition. I have no doubt that there are fans who would rather see Iginla traded for a player who puts up the leader type numbers. Then, I also have little doubt that any of those ‘leader’ players would hesitate in playing with #12, if given the chance. It stands to reason that, if “elite” means to be one of the best because of your talent, then Iggy can’t be limited to Corsi or Fenwick stats to determine if he falls into this category. His talent extends beyond the tip of his hockey stick. It’s reflected in the success of his teammates and in the hearts of his fans. I wonder what words will be used to describe Iginla as he undoubtedly goes into the Hall of Fame? I am as certain as I write these words, that “Elite” will be among them.

** Vintage Flame is a Calgary based sports junkie that prefers to call hockey a "religion" rather than an addiction. He believes there are two types of hockey fans. Those who cheer for the Flames, and those who don’t understand the sport yet. When not engulfed in the hockey season, VF can usually be found passing the time with the NFL or commenting on this, that, and everything on Flames Nation.

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  • RexLibris

    The perennial argument that I hear from Flames fans is that Iginla is one of the best players in the NHL and if not for him the Flames wouldn’t win, followed almost in the same breath with how good the Flames are as a team. Which is it? Either Iginla is a great player on a bad team who makes things happen with little or no support, like a Marcel Dionne, or he’s a very good player with unique skills on a so-so team that can support him to a degree. If he were a top-ten talent on as good a team as some fans seem to think the Flames are then arguably success and post-seasons would have to follow. In my opinion Iginla is one of the better RW to play the game, not the best. Sorry, but there have been an awful lot of very good wingers in the history of the league. Some of them may have been lucky to have played with excellent centres or good teams, but Howe, Anderson, Bossy, Jagr, Lafleur, Hull, Guerin, Geoffrion all won championships and nobody would (should?) say that it was in spite of their talent. Iginla looks to me like he is destined to fall in with players like (Pavel) Bure and Granato, where they were dominant players in their time but never got a championship.

    I hope Iginla retires a Flame, Fleury should have and it was a shame what his career had to go through before the end. There aren’t many players, especially ones of Iginla’s calibre that play their entire career with one team and it would be a great moment for any sports fan to have him go out with a C on his chest.

  • Dr. Nick

    I think there is more than just points that makes Jarome an elite player. This is a man who always has time for the media, and does so with a smile on his face and a laugh ready to go. He is a leader not only in the dressing room but in the community. He is a captain who is the captain not because he puts up the most points (which he does), but because he will fight for his teammates, both on the ice and when they are getting bashed off the ice. Iggy has his faults, as does ever player, but he doesn’t cry when things aren’t going his way or when the Flames aren’t winning. This is an old school hockey player, who not only has a lot of skill, but a sesnse of honor and respect for the game that is unparallelled in the NHL today, and that is an elite player to me.

    The problem with the Flames recently is more than just the lack of skill, it has been the lack of fight in the team. The 03/04 team didn’t have the most skill either but you knew they were a team that would fight for each other.

    Also, if Ignila is not an elite player, why is he the only player that fans feel will bring a decent return. If we had young talent and a decent roster, there is no way people would want to trade Iggy. Trading Iginla is a desparation move, nothing more, and frankly we don’t have a smart enough management group to get us more than swindled. No trade will bring back what the Flames will lose in Iginla, a warrior.

    .

    • RedMan

      I love the loyalty you show for one of the most popular warriors in Flames franchise history. But your loyalty is misguided and a paradox. We keep Jerome for life & then what? Another special asst to the GM like Conroy? We dont have the luxury Detroit has/had with Yzerman & Lidstrom. Their draft history has allowed them to keep a winning tradition and enable them to keep these elite players to pass off the baton sort of speaking. The Detroit organization allows their young players a chance to realize and develop their talents at the NHL level. You watch, that Helm kid is going to be a world class player. Where is that with the Flames? We have had to trade some of our franchise faces like Theo & Nieuy to get the franchise faces we have enjoyed these last 5 years. No one likes to get old, it sucks. But in tradition of how the Flames have been run, the time unfortunately is now if we are to replenish future faces of the franchise. If we let our biggest asset depreciate down to nothing, then that is a very scary thought. Sad thing is, we continue to sign 36 year olds, instead of seeing if Flames have any Helms ready to make a move. Like the US economy, at some point, something has to give.

      • RexLibris

        I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with the loyalty that Dr. Nick has, or indeed that most Flames fans have towards #12. In fact trading Iginla, at this point, might not even get you the return you desire because of the salary cap hit and the necessity of taking some money back in a move. Not to mention, and with all due respect to your GM, Feaster doesn’t have the greatest track record of receiving fair value in return for top-end players. He traded Brad Richards for Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern and a 4th round pick. How would you feel about getting a similar return for Iginla? Does it lay the groundwork for a franchise or bring in a blue-chip prospect around which to build? Not quite. Someone else brought up the Mats Sundin comparison, but that’s also a different situation where I think Iginla has slightly more competitive fire than Sundin (sarcasm intended).

        As for the Detroit comparison, they’ve done one thing better than almost any other team in the league. Draft. They were a big market team in the pre-lockout era and that let them bring in and keep talent that could shelter their picks. And as you said, Calgary has never been in that position and so will have to find their own way. But for a start: draft.

        • Reidja

          Well I guess that’s the whole point. Calgary has never been a drafting team so trading Iginla has got to be on the table. Totally agree, Feaster scares the living @#%& out of me to be the one to do the trade based on his history. But really, what choice do we have, fire a newly appointed GM to make a neccessary decision to broker one of the biggest trades for this franchise in this decade? All we can hope is, that the previous experience Feaster did have, will help him pull off a great trade for the Flames. Even the Oilers traded Gretz my Oiler friend.
          As for Dr Nicks loyality, who says its wrong? It’s a rare etopia & business is business when you are dealing with millions & hundreds of millions of dollars. If we got Pegula & Buffalo to give us Kassian & Adams & 1st rounder for Iginla & Flames suddenly started to look like a good young and up and coming team, how many fans do you think would disown the Flames for trading Iginla? Worse case scenario, end of November, Flames are 4th in the division, 13th in the conference and Jerome has only 5 goals and 17 points at that stage. How many will emit the Loyality Dr Nick has? The boat has set sail already, too late to worry about who the captain is now(Feaster).

  • ChinookArchYYC

    A Well written article and so far the best of the ‘try outs’. You also started a fire storm of conversation, which should be part of what this site is all about.

    Good job VF!

    • Vintage Flame

      Thanks CA for your kind words. Hopefully I get the opportunity to write some more and can become a regular contributor to the Nation and all it’s readers.
      Cheers!

    • Vintage Flame

      Thanks fb89!
      I figured it was going to be a fun and passionate discussion. I must say I’m quite happy with the level of involvement from all the commenters.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Reidja: first of all, why the hell do you care about the Flames’ revenue? I think I speak for pretty much everyone but ownership when I say that revenue is completely immaterial so long as the team has the ability to spend to the cap without losing money. Secondly, trading Iginla isn’t going to save the franchise 9 times out of 10. I’d rather see my favourite player on my favourite team than take some borderline lottery ticket risk that the return garnered from his trade will turn the team around in short order.

    • Reidja

      I don’t care about revenue, I was responding to an earlier post that said flames keep Iggy around because he makes the team money. To which I responded that the team would make more money if it made the playoffs – or “bonus” time.

      I care about the team making the playoffs. I also care about good asset management and Iggy is an asset. If we don’t do anything until he retires, we get nothing for him but memories. It continues to surprise me how many people would prefer to be mediocre and have Iggy here than any scenario where he is gone.

      I’ll restate that a lot of Flames fans are completely irrational on this issue. If the team had a Schenn for Iggy trade lined up that they didn’t move on, they are nutless and pandering to this irrational emotion. Would that trade make the team better? Not in the short term, but who cares, are we that desperate to finish in 10th out of the playoffs with a middle-round draft pick? God. Please. No. A move like this would have made us better in the future.

      But lets continue to be mediocre with our mediocre “elite” player, who at this point in his career gets destroyed by other teams actually elite players, plays a perimeter game, and allows his team to top-out outside of the playoffs. Fan freaking-tastic. 80-somthing points! How f-ing irrelevant if you don’t do the only thing that matters with those points… uh, win.

      Vintage,
      You ask why I compare us to the leafs? Because we are okay with this… A bad draft beer, a pocket dog, and a big heaping pile of slightly better than suck. That’s what sells out the dome these days and it’s very much like the leafs.

      Justin,
      People have lost and will lose jobs for not making the playoffs. That is not bonus. Spin it however you like. Iggy’s job is to make the team win, he’s not the only one who should carry more responsibility for losing than others (also JBo, Kipper) but he’s the primary one.

      Am I pessimistic? Your damn right. And believe me, I would like to be wrong, but I hear nothing here than changes my mind.

      • Vintage Flame

        You completely misunderatand the fans loyalty when it comes to Iginla. What I have gotten out of the MANY comments regarding my article is that the fans don’t want to see Iggy traded just for the sake of trading an aging elite player.

        I have no doubt that if the Flames were presented with the “right” deal, then the fans would be on board with an impeding trade. That is completely different from the notion of trading him “just” because he is getting older. The fans here, for the most part do not believe that a suitable offer or rumour has been presented that would give the Flames a favourable return on the best player in their organization.

        The fans are not satisfied with a pocket dawg and a draft beer (shame on you for calling the Dome heroine beer mediocre), they simply do not want to see the Flames get screwed on another bad trade like has been the case since Cliff Fletcher left town and took Doug Gilmour with him. I really think you confuse the fans loyalty to Iginla and the loyalty to the team. The feeling amo.gst many is that the two go hand in hand… For now.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Great article VF!! The topic is definately one that a lot of people are very passionate about!

    The argument from the underlying numbers is an interesting one, because as Kent pointed out, his Corsi numbers are not the best. However, in my opinion, a player can still be elite without having the best possesion rates. Is he the elite of the elite? No, in my opinion there are two players who are in that category, Crosby and Datsyuk. But I think, as of right now, Iggy is still elite. When you finish 3rd in goals, 6th in points, you’re considered elite. And the chance of receiving anyone to replace iggy in a trade is very, very slim.

  • icedawg_42

    Just one question – and I watched Schenn career his WHOLE junior carrer…Has Schenn given any STRONG indication he’ll be a 40+ goal scorer for the next decade?

    • Vintage Flame

      Schenn was great at the World Juniors, however he wasn’t great in the playoffs for Saskatoon (they got swept right?) Schenn could be a great player, but I believe he still needs to prove himself.

    • Vintage Flame

      That would be a big no. I woyld also like to add the question, has Brayden Schenn ever been officially offered in a package for Iginla.. Or is it just speculation?

  • icedawg_42

    Dear Schevvy: TEH! That said – yeah, I watched WJC and thought he was pretty good – but NOT dominant! Plus I’ve watched him for the better part of 3 seasons with Brandon – I dont recall ever seeing him completely take over a game the way I’ve seen Getzlaf (sorry VF) or even Eberle do. Im totally NOT sold that he’d be value in a trade for Iggy.

  • icedawg_42

    – now in a package with Schenn, Kozun and Martin Jones, that’s different – then again I’m a TOTAL Hitmen homer, and my opinion is totally skewed there.

      • icedawg_42

        Couture? Im missing something there..not sure who you’re talking about. I would probably look at Schenn Carle and JVR (I really liked what JVR brought in the playoffs)..not sure if you could pry that out of Philly, even if you’re dangling Iginla.

  • Reidja

    He could attempt back-checking….

    I like LA as a destination for him. Mostly because of the tire-kicking rumours, sounds like Lombardi is interested. I think you trade him to whoever will give you the most value back. He would be a great second line winger on a team with depth like Van… but that would be terrible.

    What I want back is prospects like your suggestion above. A first round pick for 2012 would be great as well.

    • Vintage Flame

      You are assuming that it is his decision to not participate in a back-checking role. That’s not a GM role, but a coaching one. Moving on…

      Your trade suggestion is kind of a cop out. We have all said that a trade would have to involve the best valued return. That’s just common sense. You also suggest LA on a tire kicking rumour. That’s not definitive in any way.

      Do you see the point I’m making here. Until you hear something absolute. A concrete offer, there is NO WAY to just trade a player of Iggy’s calibre based on rumour and wishes. He is too valuable to the current place of this team.

      You would trade Iginla for a 1st round pick and that’s it?? That’s ballsy.

      Ever heard of guys like Patrik Stefan, Pavel Brendl or Alexandre Daigle? Are they worth Iggy alone?

      • icedawg_42

        @Reidja: I’ll give you something here – out of all the “IGGY” rumors I’ve heard, the Iggy to LA for Schenn ++ are the only one’s that made any sense at all. As far as backchecking, as I’ve discussed with Kent – Iggy’s backchecking October and November last season were non existant – I think after that point he made a conscious effort to play the full sheet of ice. I do not think this was a coaching issue – I fully believe that Brent forced him to play a complete game – much like he did with CHUD. – AND his point production reflected that. Vintage, the Stefan Brendl Daigle “COULD HAVE BEEN’s” may have been worthy of a trade with Iginla, as at the time they could have been projected to be world beaters – Daigle was supposed to be the “Next One” if you remember correctly….if Crosby never panned out, then he could be lumped in the same way…there’s just NO WAY of guaranteeing that any junior, even a first overall will bloom to be a generational talent (Which Iginla IS!)

        • Vintage Flame

          I agree with you and that was sort of my point. Trading Iggy for a 1st rounder, even if he is a 1st overall is too much of a gamble for the Flames to take. Teams with more depth in talent like Van or Det can afford to take that gamble. A team like the Flames cannot.

          For the Flames to take the plunge and trade Iggy, they have to know what the return is coming back. They don’t have the luxury of the “What if” scenario.

          • icedawg_42

            Yeah – further to this Vintage, is that “TODAY” he *MIGHT* net you a top 5 pick (which is the exact gamble we are referring to)…next year, let’s say his production falls a mere 10 points. NO ONE is going to cough up a top 5 pick and take on 7million in salary for that. Which means…today, we dont necessarily want to trade him..tomorrow we may not be able to trade him. With 2 years on his contract, and what he’s done for this team throughout his career, what’s the harm in letting him play it out in Calgary? He is NOWHERE NEAR the reason the Flames have missed the playoffs the last 2 years.

          • Vintage Flame

            I agree again. It is a double edged sword.
            You can’t afford to trade hime now and you may not be able to trade him tomorrow.. Though I doubt that would be the case.

            And yeah. Anyone who thinks that Iggy is the reason this team has missed the playoffs the last 2 years… has umm… tunnel vision to say the least.

      • Reidja

        As soon as a GM calls me with an offer for Iginla, I will let you know. Although, it’s not my job so I’m not holding my breath. I’m not one for the making up trades game. The backchecking thing was a response to the question “what more could he do”. I think Kent has done a great job of showing that our first line was one of our biggest problems last year and a huge team weakness. Whatever line Iggy’s on is our first one. He’s the highest paid player and plays more minutes than any other forward, so yeah, I’d say he’s played a pretty big part in us missing the playoff.

  • RexLibris

    How’s this for a trade: Boston gets Iginla and a 3rd round pick and Calgary gets Chris Kelly (to ease salary cap restrictions, a 1st round pick in 2012 and RW Jared Knight or RW Jordan Caron. I’d take Knight, at worst he’s similar to Darren Helm.

    The Kings have the cap space also, but I think Boston could get you the better deal by giving you a scoring winger, a pick (late 1st round, but I don’t see Burke giving away picks again anytime soon), and a roster player.

    • icedawg_42

      I’m one of those who feel like a team needs a face/franchise player to build around. Those you mentioned dont fit the bill – Baertschi is a couple years away from even being able to tell if that’s his ceiling….so if Iggy’s gone in a package/salary dump..who do you build around? I love Gio, but he’s not “Franchise” quality.

  • Dr. Nick

    Trading Iginla will not fix the Calgary Flames’ real problem, because the problem is the Flames front office. Everyone wants to trade Iginla because they think Feaster can’t screw that trade up and the resulting tanking of a season will get us a draft choice he can’t possibly get wrong. So what if we get some top prospects and maybe a good draft pick for Iggy, will that make us better? No. The reason why is because we only have one Iginla to trade and we will have the same GM and president who will continue to screw up trades, drafts and free agent signings. If we can only get young talent by tanking, then obviously we have more of a problem than Iginla’s age and defensive issues, because stars don’t just come in the top 10 of a draft.

    The only trade I would accept is Ken King, Jay Feaster, Brent Sutter and Jarome Iginla for Ken Holland and Mike Babcock, because I think this is only way to help fix the Flames long term. This will never happen of course but neither will trading Iginla help us improve because getting a couple of prospects and a draft pick will not stop the front office from making stupid decisions. I guarantee improving our scouting department and front office will go further than trading the heart and soul of the Flames.

  • RexLibris

    IMO you aren’t going to get a top 5 pick, especially a 1st overall, for Iginla. Any team drafting in the top 5, especially 1st overall, is probably going to covet that choice and the player/contract that comes with it more than a 7 million cap hit, 34 year old player with two years left on his contract. The economics of it just don’t work. Furthermore the kind of trade that brought Iginla to Calgary don’t happen any more. When Schenn was moved it was for a young stud who still has miles and miles left on the highway ahead of him and is signed until the 3rd coming of Christ.

    To Dr. Nick: I wholeheartedly agree that the management of the Flames is what is principally wrong with the team and that is why I have said previously that I think even the Jets are in better shape because at the very least the GM and co. realize where they are what it will take to get where they want to go. I’ve read comparisons recently on FN of the Flames mgmt to the Leafs and, as horrifying as this may be to Flames fans, I think it is very apt. Both have exhibited a lack of accountability and a commitment to winning instead placing a priority on the bottom line. I say this because the Oilers ownership did the same thing for years in trying anything to get to the playoffs because the revenue meant the difference between profit and loss. The results are always the same and should be the title of one of Kent’s blogs: Diminishing Returns.

  • jai kiran

    Look, I fully agree that Iginla is still an elite player and short of a truly great offer you don’t trade him; that being said, to me, the biggest reason the Flames missed the playoffs last year is because Jarome had 3g in the first 15 games – what was the Flames record after 15 games? If Iginla puts up 10g in the first 15 games, the Flames make the playoffs – and it’s not Corey Perry who wins the Hart.

    Similarly, in 2009-10, if Jarome scores 10 in the last 16, instead of 1, the Flames make the playoffs.

    I agree with VintageFlame that other players need to be able to step up in Iginla’s cold streaks; but when the team is built on his shoulders he cannot go missing for periods as key as the first going and the stretch run.

    He has been a streak scorer his whole career (but, Jesus, what streaks) and the slow starts are also a commonplace. But last year the slow start was fatal. And the timing of the streaks must be better.

  • kbignell

    Iginla in my eyes will always be an elite player and still one the best in the NHL. Jarome doesn’t have what all other elite players in the NHL have, another elite player playing next to him. There is no other elite player on that flames team.

    For instance, Stamkos plays next to ST. Louis who is coming off a 99 point season. Ovechkin has players like backstrom and semin playing around him. Sid has Malkin. Jarome has tanguay.

    Tanguay and jarome both play good together, lets face it tanguay isn’t a St. louis or malkin. I know they have been saying forever that jarome needs a top centreman, but he does.

    feaster needs to fix the mess of what Darryl Sutter has made the flames have, which is too many mediocore players, not enough young players and no other elite nhl players. Jarome has been the face of the franchise for years and trading him would not be the answer.

    If I were GM I would have tried trading bouwmeester instead of regehr. I say this because the salary of jay is more significent and jay isn’t a shutdown guy like reggie was, nor is his offensive side as good as it once was. Babchuk is now signed. He put up good numbers last year and his offensive side is stronger than jay’s.

    • Vintage Flame

      I agree with you in your take on the lack of a co-elite player for Iginla. I see what he has done over the past decade and can only imagine what could have been if he had a Malkin, Semin, Kesler, Kane or whomever.

      While I have always been a fan of Alex Tanguay, even going back to his days in Colorado, he doesn’t fit the bill for that elite linemate.

      Feaster does need to fix a lot and Pat talks about it in his most recent article, “Steps“.

      If you can get passed the initial shock of the NKOTB video, Pat makes some good points about Feaster’s moves in the off-season. We just have to remember, he won’t be able to fix the team with one trade or a couple of signings. This is a team that is going to be DEEP in transition. i think we’ve only begum to see the tip of what is coming under Jay.

      As for trading JBo over Reggie. Can’t agree with you there. Jay is younger and a far better skater. Reggie was the best asset we had that was a tradeable commodity. Given Jay’s lack-luster season last year and the size of his contract. The Flames would have had a tough time finding a dance partner for that trade. Feaster had to start making moves and Cap space.. Couldn’t afford the long courting period in looking for a trade for Bouwmeester. And they definitely wouldn’t have taken Kotalik as the ugly step sister either. Feaster made the right move.

  • Derzie

    Iginla is in my dictionary under Elite Player. He is not alone by any stretch. My definition of Elite is Top 5% for 3 or more years. Stats relative to peers, playoff moxie and leadership qualities are my criteria. Anyone who says Iggy is not elite is high, blind or both.