The Iginla Trade Circus


After the news of the Boston “trade” broke over twitter, I made the joke that it would have been far more appropriate for Calgary to play Iginla and trade him in the middle of the game, given how absurd the management is, but they did me one better. Hell, they did me several better.

First, we’re going to make two (very likely and logical) assumptions (which have recently been confirmed by Chiarelli):

1. The rumored Boston trade was an actual offer.

2. Jarome Iginla was involved in the trade beyond stating which teams he’d waive his NTC for. Well, this isn’t so much an assumption – Elliotte Friedman said so outright. “Feaster said Iginla made the call on PIT. Added the draft choice is not conditional.”

So what we saw was the Flames making a not great, but probably the best available, trade for a conditional first (condition unknown), Alexander Khokhlachev (a guy with 1st line potential and a very good puck possession game), and some other guy I don’t even remember at this point. The Flames twitter feed stayed quiet on the issue, though major media members were mostly confirming it. Then Calgary told all the media to remain after the game, and SURPRISE IGINLA’S GOING ELSEWHERE FOR OTHER THINGS.

There was almost a sense that Feaster, for a moment, fancied himself a magician with a big reveal. “It’s not a cake…it’s a lady!” as he whips the fancy cloth away*.

What makes this fascinating (in the same way the Cloverfield was fascinating) was the process of letting a player get involved and make the call on the team. Jarome Iginla was a hell of a player, seemingly a nice dude, and an icon in Calgary, but he’s hardly a qualified scout or hockey analyst. So if he had already agreed that Boston, LA, PIT and whatever the other place was were all fine, why did he make the final call?

The fact is, Calgary is run by children thinking themselves far cleverer than they really are. Pittsburgh has several high quality prospects (Maatta, Pouliot, Depres) that are almost assuredly worth more than the likely 28th-30th first round pick, and yet Feaster seemed entirely thrilled that he’d gotten an unconditional first round pick.

For all the serious analytic work that the writers here at FN will do on this trade in the coming days and weeks, there’s one very important thing to remember: this may have beaten the Jokinen and Prust trade to the New York Rangers in terms of sheer absurdity in the process.

*I have no idea what cool magic tricks are going on these days, but I assume only the ones in Calgary involve making good hockey players disappear for cheap bits of flim flam

  • I’m sure Feaster would have rather had Maatta, Pouliot, Despres or whomever. But if PIT knew they had Iggy in their back pocket (and trust me, THEY KNEW), then what fricken reason would they have to offer a bluechipper? The answer: NONE. THEY HAD NO REASON TO MAKE A BETTER OFFER.

    I think your “analysis” is off base in that I don’t think Feaster thinks he outsmarted anybody. He made an obvious bad deal because he was handcuffed and forced to do so, and then he tried to put on a happy face and act as though this was the good deal he had anticipated making.

    He gets a pass on this one from me. Obviously, I’m not happy with the return, but it is what it is. And while Hanowski & Agostino are not bluechippers, I do think they have a shot at being middle 6ers. After all, David Moss was a 7th round pick & put up worse NCAA numbers than either. Not a homerun, but maybe 2 singles & a bullet for the upcoming draft.

    Now, if Feaster can’t get a homerun in a Bouwmeester trade, I’ll be more disappointed than I am with this.

  • Two more points…

    1. I’m not a Feaster fan – I think his head should role for the O’Reilly fiasco, and would prefer to entrust a “re-tool” to somebody else (Ron Hextall, David McNab, Paul Fenton to name 3).

    2. If landing these 2 prospects from the Penguins helps the Flames land their free agent teammates – Yale’s Antoine Laganiere & St. Cloud State’s Drew LeBlanc – then it could be like getting 4 (middling) prospects & a 1st. Still not a homerun, but a stocking of the middle tier of prospects at least.

  • Franko J

    @ Doftras

    I agree winning sure does change people’s perspectives and prevailing attitudes.
    I guess you don’t have to look any further than Montreal and Anaheim. Both teams where picked by most of the “experts” as struggling to make the playoffs.

    Last season each team did struggle to find consistency in their game. However as few tweaks here and there and look where they are as of today. Battling for a good playoff position. Most notably strong defensive play in their own end and excellent goaltending has provided them with a resurgent seasons.

    Unfortunately for Flames these are two areas where they have been horrible this season. As a matter of fact the defensive coverage and play in there own zone has slowly deteriorated over the past few seasons.

    By trading Iginla and the deterioration of Kiprusoff’s goaltending, these last 15 games should be open auditions for who has the character and will to be back next season.

    The most interesting thing about the whole Iginla “circus” is as a Flames fan is seeing or watching who if any player is going to take charge and point this team in the right direction. While in the past, there were limited opportunities for the Backlund, Glencross, Giordano, and maybe Tanguay to make an impact the excuse was it was Iginla’s team or Iginla’s lockeroom. Well the guy is no longer here and now it is gut check time for these guys to step up and make a difference. Who on this team or the lockeroom is ready to change the face of this franchise?

  • McRib

    Not sure if anyone has been following the NCAA Tournament but Kenny Agostino’s Yale team just beat Minnesota and North Dakota!!! Against Minnesota he had a goal and setup the OT winner, while Nick Bjugstad the “highly touted” Florida first rounder for Minnesota went pointless…. They are now moving on to the Frozen Four. While St. Cloud crushed Notre Dame where Ben Hanowski also had a goal and an assist on the game winner.

    For anyone who thinks we picked Hanowski to sign free agent Drew LeBlanc you do understand that Hanowski had 43 points last season and if not for injury would have put up the same numbers as LeBlanc… He is also TWO years younger has better size and is the team Captain!! As for picking up Agostino to sign Laganiere you also understand he is also TWO years younger and had 12 more points this season leading the team in scoring???

    Honestly Hanowski and Agostino just went up against power houses ND, Minn and Notre Dame beating three teams full of more celebrated “Top Prospects”… and their teams are moving on and the Top Prospects are not…. Give me an underdog who shows up anyday over a bunch of silverspoon premaddona’s who don’t show up when it counts.

    I think if you asked Pittsburgh they would tell you that they don’t think they ripped us off!!! And judging by recent results think that they might have had these players higher on their depth charts than HF and a local newspaper who don’t see these players every week…

  • McRib

    If St. Cloud wins tomorrow we will have the two best players on two of the four teams in the Frozen Four!!

    Weisbrod clearly knows College players just by looking at Johnny Gaudreau/Jon Gillies and in my opinion we might have just gotten two players who were severely flying under the radar by the media.

    Honestly some may need more convincing but these two are still playing while more storied programs and prospects are at home!! From what I have seen with continued development these players are both at worst bottom six NHLers down the road. But at least from Hanowski I think top six is not out of the question at all, if he improves his skating.

    I like this trade more and more with every game these two get closer to leading their teams to an NCAA championship!!

  • Franko J

    Look no further than Letestu with Columbus. Great wheels and took some time to develop. Like Curtis Glencross, players all develop at different rates. Unfortunately most have an expiry date when they go from prospect level to career minor league player. Greg Nemisz, Leland Irving, Matt Pelech and not to mention Kris Chucko are just a few of those examples.

    Someone mention earlier the reason Wiesbrod was brought in was his expertise with college players. With a little patience and time who knows what can happen.

    If you think about it where is the need or rush to obtain or trade for the next centre for Iginla. The irony is that if Calgary does continue to under perform and keep losing it will be very likely they might be able to draft the “#1” center that Iginla never had the chance to play with. Who knows in the next few years all Flames fans will be saying is we have the center now where is the snippet or power forward.

    Maybe I’m wrong in my thinking but this trade now provides this team the opportunity for a fresh start. I have seen firsthand where Iginla, Kiprusoff, Bouwmeester, Tanguay, etc. has lead us to. Turning the page is going to be painful but I’m looking forward to seeing in the next few years who can make this team a contender once again. Surely the previous core didn’t provide too many results, let us find out if these new players can do better.

    Like I have in the past, for the longest time the Flames had taken the approach and mentality of building around two players, now is the time to build a team committed on winning.

  • Franko J

    Anyone see Taylor hall run vancouvers show last night? He single handedly beat the Canucks. It could have been 10-0

    My point is that we need to quit deluding ourselves with middling NCAA prospects and retools. We need a superstar. Sigh. We literally have none. Do we honestly think 1 single player will go to the Olympics next year? I can’t even think of 1 with a snowballs chance in hell. That’s sad.

    A few more beauty trades like Iggy should do the trick!

  • Franko J

    This is by far the best article I have read on the whole situation. I find it quite interesting that each side is throwing the other under the bus. Feaster pretty much said Iggy had the last call, and Iggy is trying to play the Mr. nice guy role.

    It’s clear Iggy wanted to go to Pitt the whole time, and the list was attempt to drive the price of poker up on Shero. He’s too smart for that, and pretty much low balled the Flames.

    Feaster is a complete joke, and making us look more and more like the Islanders west each week. Yes he got us out of cap jail, but he’s burning a lot of bridges with his antics.

    I guess we’ll wait and see how these guys look, but I too would rather have an established prospect than the low first round pick.

    I don’t understand what the love in is with Mr. Harvard. He sure likes to tell everybody he went there. Who are all these “college prospects” the Bruins have/had in their line up?

    I am fine with him wanting to look at more than the just the WHL, but eventually one of these guys has to crack the line up no?

    Why does he have the need to say so and so is the BEST not in the NHL all the time? Cervenka, Ramo, and even poor Jankowski? Maybe Harvard should check his vastly inflated ego a little and be a tad more realistic? Just a thought..

  • Captain Ron

    Could be a catch22 situation for Calgary after sending Iginla to Pittsburgh.

    Other teams in the mix have got to be looking at PITT as the team to beat.Evaluating the talent they will need to beat Pitt ,might cause some teams in the East to lose interest in going after player,s at the deadline.

    If Calgary is indeed looking to dump some more contract,s ,making Pitt a powerhouse may have an effect on how teams in the East move forward

  • @Kurt

    I’m sure Cervenka or Hudler will play for the Czechs.

    I think Backlund will at least get a look from Sweden.

    Baertschi could make the Swiss team.

    It’s time to get rid of our middling, ageing talent & dig for gold.

    Perfect timing, as the draft is a good one, & there are a few teams with the same “win now” mentality Calgary HAD. Hopefully Feaster can manage some SMART moves over the next few days.

    • I agree. I didn’t know what to think of the return for Iggy because i don’t follow/ care about NCAA, but these two seem like decent, though not spectacular prospects. And their free agent team mates that might be enticed by friends on the team and the promise of lots of ice time on a dreadful flames squad might turn out okay.

      Also, 28- 30th pick can turn into something good, not a home run, but a decent chance.

      Score another first rounder for JBO? Maybe some other miracle plus our own lottery pick? Sounds not too bad as a start to turning around this thing.