As of writing this, the Flames are 14th in the West and six points out of the playoffs with just five games remaining before the trade deadline. Even if they win all five contests, which is unlikely, Calgary probably still won’t be in a playoff spot by the time the bell rings on April 3rd.
So it’s all over but the dealing. Iginla, the face of the franchise for so long, will turn 36 years old this summer, is a pending free agent and has (allegedly) submitted a list of team’s he’d be willing to move to. All that’s left for Jay Feaster is to auction the captain off to the highest bidder.
Prior Big Name Rentals
Without being in the room to gauge the interest level and offers, it’s difficult to guess just what the Flames might get for Iginla. Recently, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray fetched a former first round pick (Joe Morrow) and two second rounders (one conditional) respectively, which suggests asking prices for players are already high.
In the past, similar big name rental players have netted large packages of varying quality:
– Marian Hossa was dealt by Atlanta to Pittsburgh in exchange for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito (former first rounder) and the Pens’ first round pick.
– Keith Tkachuk was traded as rental to the Thrashers in 2007 for Glen Metropolit as well as first, second and third round picks (plus a conditional pick if he re-signed in ATL).
– The Leafs moved Tomas Kaberle at the deadline to the Boston Bruins for Joe Colborne (former first round pick), their first round pick in 2011 and a conditional second rounder.
As you can see, draft picks are the currency of the day. At the very least the Flames will likely get a first rounder in the deal, if not one or two more in the top-60. Middling roster players also seem to come cheap.
Looking backwards is somewhat helpful, but it makes the most sense to judge the present day and what Calgary’s suitors have to offer. Instead of blindly guessing at interest levels and the perception of Iginla in other markets, I decided to solicit the opinions of writers/fans in Chicago, Boston and LA.
Chicago fans have been asking me for at least two years if Iginla would be available. The fan base there has coveted Jarome for awhile, so it makes sense they would be interested in him now that he’s finally on the market. Sam Fels of Second City Hockey had thos to say when I asked him about a potential Blackhawks package for Jarome:
The Hawks prospect depth is down the middle. Marcus Kruger can still be considered one, Phillip Danault, Mark McNeill, and Teuvo Teravainen are in the system and all thought to be NHL players one day (Danault is considered to have the brightest future).
Brandon Pirri is another name you might here, and one the Hawks would be most likely to move. Elsewhere, the Hawks don’t have a lot on the blue line, and there’s only one goalie prospect in Mac Carruth, who is backstopping the juggernaut Portland Winterhawks at the moment. The two blue liners are Adam Clendening who is in the AHL right now, and Stephen Johns at Notre Dame. However, with Keith, Seabrook, and Leddy here for the foreseeable future, you wonder how much the Hawks cling to any of these.
There’s a wildcard here, and it’s Dave Bolland. Bolland is a free agent in ’14, and has completely flopped as a #2 center this year. Both Kruger and Danault are set to take over the checking center role in the near future, and with Bolland already making 3.3 million, I really wonder if the Hawks plan to pay him even that much for what he has proven to be. Could Bolland be traded this year? I wouldn’t totally rule it out.
More likely, the Hawks would probably offer McNeill and one of the other prospects. I bet they’d like to get away with just McNeill and Pirri, but they could probably be persuaded to throw Johns in. But probably not much more than that. Or maybe McNeill and Carruth. I think Danault is considered untouchable.
Potential Blackhawks package: Mark McNeill, Dave Bolland and a first round pick.
Next up, the Kings. I went to The Royal Half for an LA perspective:
The general consensus in a trade like this is a Top Prospect, Secondary Prospect and a 1st Round draft pick. Well let’s see… the LA Kings don’t have a 1st Round Pick this year so would Jay Feaster be patient enough to wait for 2014?
You can forget about Jon Bernier unless something better than Joey MacDonald is coming back to LA. The LA Kings don’t have any sort of capable backup for Jon Quick right now and I feel that Jon Bernier will be traded for something that helps the LA Kings longer term than an Iginla rental.
The Kings top prospect is forward Tyler Toffoli, who happens to be currently on the Kings roster. Is he untouchable? Probably, as the Kings have high hopes for Toffoli stepping into a Top 6 slot as the Salary Cap goes down and the Kings have a lot of high-priced forwards. After Toffoli, you’ve got right wing Linden Vey, left wing Tanner Pearson and defensemen Derek Forbort and Nicolas Deslauriers as the best AHL prospects in the system.
So the best LA Kings offer might be some combination of Vey/Pearson, Forbort/Deslauriers and a 1st in 2014 or 2nd in 2013. But… right now, the LA Kings have a logjam at the bottom 6 of forwards and a wealth of young NHL ready defensemen. Would something like Linden Vey, Jarret Stoll and Alec Martinez/Davis Drewiske be enough to pry Jarome Iginla away from Jay Feaster’s cold dead hands? Throw in a combination of Brad Richardson, Dwight King, Trevor Lewis and maybe even Justin Williams and you’ve got a lot of current NHL players that the Flames could have at.
To me it seems like the Calgary Flames are never willing to do a complete blowup of their roster like the LA Kings did 5 years ago… so maybe it would be more attractive to Jay Feaster to get some NHL players in return for Iginla. That may be what sets LA apart from the other teams in this race. But at the end of the day… I’d be really surprised if Jarome Iginla heads back to the warm embrace of Coach Sutter.
The Bruins really, really want Jarome Iginla. Current slump aside, Boston’s been in need of scoring depth since the departure of Michael Ryder. They’ve also been in need of the "old-ish inspirational leader" since Mark Recchi retired…
If the rumors are right and the cost is a prospect, roster player, and draft pick, the Bruins have a few options. Goaltending prospect Malcom Subban’s name keeps popping up, but Boston has supposedly been telling teams that he and Ryan Spooner are considered "untouchable."
For what it’s worth, they reportedly offered prospect Alexander Khokhlachev to Dallas for Brendan Morrow. Jordan Caron hasn’t been able to make an impact in Boston, but is considered to be "NHL ready" and could be on the trading block. Matt Bartkowski is a frequent defensive call-up, but Torey Krug or Colby Cohen have more upside. Unless Chris Bourque counts as a roster player (which he doesn’t), the most likely trade candidates would be Rich Peverley or Daniel Paille. Peverley’s having a rough year, and hasn’t been worth the $3.2M cap hit he carries. Meanwhile, Paille’s been having a great year, and is versatile enough to attract interest, and could be seen as expendable.
Potential Bruins package: Alex Khokhlachev, Rich Peverley or Daniel Paille, first rounder + conditional pick.
The Penguins are the final team on the Iginla "list", but have already spent a lot of futures on Morrow and Murray. That doesn’t take them out of the Iginla raace completely since they still have cap space plus pieces like Beau Bennett, Derek Pouliot, Olli Maatta and a 2013 first round pick, but at some point Shero might finally become leery of selling the future for a cup run this season. That said, further bolstering their top-6 while depriving the Bruins of another weapon might be awefully tempting…
If the Pens enter the fray, expect someone like Tyler Kennedy to be on offer, as well as one of Bennett and Maatta as well as the first rounder.
To a certain portion of the fanbase, no return will be big enough for Jarome. Unfortunately for them, the reality of the situation is blind to sentimentality.
Although there is always a certain amount of risk when making trades – particularly when acquiring futures like picks and prospects – the Flames organization has nevertheless done well in the past with these kinds of deals. The last time the organization faced this dilemma was with Theoren Fleury in the late ’90s where they managed to acquire future shut-down defender Robyn Regehr as part of the package (and Rene Corbet, of course). Iginla himself was a Stars draft pick, acquired from Dallas for Joe Nieuwendyk in perhaps one of the best "win-win" trades in league history.
So which package appeals to you most, Flames fans?