With Jarome Iginla’s emotional return to Calgary last night, the FlamesNation crew decided to revisit the Big Trade with the Penguns. As such, here’s a quick run around the table to see how Iginla’s remembered by this bunch and how things look for the Flames in the aftermath of his trade last March.
What’s your favourite Jarome Iginla memory?
Kent Wilson: Since everyone is going to pick "the Shift" (for good reason), I’m going to go with Iginla’s performance in the 2002 gold medal game. Many fans may not remember this now, but in 2002 Iginla was just still kinda considered just a good player on a bad team. Flames fans loved him and he was a star in town, but he hadn’t reached the sort of transcendent superstar status he has since enjoyed over the majority of his career.
In fact, Iginla wasn’t even an initial invite to the Canadian team that year. He gained a roster spot because he was so dominant to start the season (coincidentally, 2001-02 was Jarome’s first 50+ goal effort and first Rocket Richard trophy). So to see him play on Sakic’s wing and score a couple of key goals to claim the gold was an incredible affirmation that the Flames had their first true elite talent since Thereon Fleury left town. Jarome had arrived in spectacular fashion in front of the whole world.
Book of Loob: I really had to sort through my favourite Iggy moments to come up with me favourite one. And believe me there are a TON to sort through: the 2004 run, "The Shift", the one punch KO to Willie Mitchell, the pass to Sid for Gold, his first goal in the playoffs against Chicago, the millions of pucks he murdered, etc. My favourite would have to be when he scored his 50th goal the second time, in 2007 against the Canucks.
First of all, he scored his 50th against the Canucks, which is perfect, but that was also Trevor Linden’s last game, and that’s when Linden hugged Iggy after the final horn and told him he was the best in the game. That moment stands out for me for two reasons: The first being because at the time when Linden said it, it was one of the last times where it could actually be true. Crosby and Ovi were staking their claim, but Iggy was still up there with them. He was that good.
The second one was, and keep in mind the CBC cameras picked up EVERYTHING in that little embrace, and yet Scott Oake, when interviewing Jarome after the game, was still compelled to ask what Linden had told him, and Iggy, unaware that the whole country knew what had been said, decided that it was such a special moment that he was going to leave it between him and Trevor, which to me speaks to the love and respect and compassion that Iginla has shown for the game and those who have played it for his entire career.
Byron Bader: So many memories to choose from. The Shift. The 2004 playoff run (looking back at the flames offensive team stats that year, he was just wow). The 2002 olympic run. IGGGGGY: The pass to Crosby. I think my absolute favorite moment is Iggy’s one and only Art Ross trophy in 2001-02 and his 50th goal that season.
On a team that didn’t really have much of anything, Iggy’s performance that year was just amazing. His early point production earned him a spot on the Olympic team essentially out of thin air as he wasn’t even considered an option at the start of the year. It was that year that the city fell in love with Jarome. He ended the year with 52 goals, 11 higher than the next closest player. He had some stellar, stellar years later on but to put up 96 points and 52 goals with very little support, except for maybe Craig Conroy, and in the old clutch and grab NHL was truly amazing! My favorite moment, specifically, was him bursting up that right side and blowing that prototypical Iggy powerbomb of a shot right past Jocelyn Thibeault for his 50th goal. It was just perfect to watch him score his 50th that way.
Justin Azevedo: Yeah, mine is The Shift. For me, the defining Iggy moment wasn’t his first 50 goal season, his 500th goal, his 1000th point, his contributions on the 2002, 2006 or 2010 Olympic teams – no, it was The Shift. See, the thing with legendary moments is that you can describe them in the most generic way possible, yet the moment itself is able to be simultaneously identified with an amazing, exacting specificity. I say "The Shift" and every Flames fan on the planet immediately knows what I’m talking about. 1:32 of the best hockey of his career led to the Flames having the chance to clinch the Stanley cup at home, in front of the crowds that had suffered for so long. 1:32 of having his helmet ripped off, slashed, crosschecked, held and abused. 1:32 of pure power leading to a slap shot. 1:32 of work for a single reward: the goal by Oleg Saprykin.
My friends and I would celebrate the moment by riding around the town of Canmore on our bikes for what seemed like hours with every conceivable piece of Flames memorabilia possible – flags, jerseys, horns: one kid even had a bobble head he had taped onto the handlebars of his Kona. In reality, it probably only lasted 20 or so minutes – but sometimes time has a funny way of being relative. I choose to look at that shift as the perfect encapsulation of Jarome Iginla’s career: for so fucking long, he was the stick and the stone, the ying and the yang. Everything offensively and defensively he had the potential to be – he was. He was everything to this team. For 1:32 on June 3rd, 2004 – he played like it.
Christian Roatis: I was too young to really appreciate "The Shift" at the time, so my favourite moment comes in the form of the "Golden Goal". A game winning goal that HE set it up himself, and it directly led to HIS team winning something significant. I was also too young for the 2002 Olympic Gold, and I had seen him crash and burn with the rest of the Canadians in Turin, so to me – up to that point – he was a hero who had never won. Seeing him be one of the first in the huddle after the goal and knowing he finally won something, was an unbelievable feeling. Although it wasn’t for the Calgary Flames, it still felt amazing to see him be apart of that and I’ll remember it forever.
Taylor McKee:On a personal note, my all-time favourite player when I was real young was Theo, and I have a distinct memory of waiting by the tunnel after warmups to try and get Theo’s signature. Theo, who was a clearly a little bit prickly in those days, and skated into the room without acknowledging anyone. Jarome, who would have been in probably his third year with the club, skated off, walked right to me, signed my hat and asked me my name and did the same with every youngster there. A moment that I am sure I share with literally hundreds of kids all over the city, each one having ownership of a special moment with Jarome. That’s why, in an age of cynicism, he is universally beloved in this city.
As for a hockey memory, Iginla’s slap-shot 50th comes to mind as that was the first time I was truly aware of a Flame scoring 50. However, the most lasting memory I have is the Lecavalier fight. Now, I do not wish to appear a troglodyte, and fighting’s role in hockey is certainly problematic, but that moment etched has stuck with me for a long time. I am not even sure why to be perfectly honest. I just remember being so proud of the type of leader Jarome was in that moment and I never changed my mind. Jarome was always a captain that Flames fans could be proud of, no matter how the team did.
Ryan Pike: I’m gonna be abstract and go with the entire 2004 Cup Finals run. You got to see everything that made Jarome Iginla an elite NHL player. The physicality. The fighting. Passing, fighting for the puck and setting up and scoring key goals. During that run, nobody meant more to their team than Iginla did to the Flames.
It’s only been eight months, but who won the Jarome Iginla trade?
Kent: We can’t really say yet. The Penguins certainly didn’t win the trade because they gave up a few assets and we left with nothing. That said, we don’t really know if the Flames got any value out of the deal either. Agostino, Hanowski and Klimchuk could all turn out to be minor leaguers at best. Right now, the arrow points every so slightly in Calgary’s favor if only because there’s still a chance one of the kids develops into something.
BoL: I’m going to go out on a limb and say no one won the Iggy trade, but Calgary still has a chance to come out with the shootout point. I don’t believe that Ben Hanowski will ever amount to anything at an NHL level unless he goes full Roy Halladay and completely rebuilds his mechanics in the minors. Homey just can’t skate, and you can’t get away with that at the NHL level. Agostino shows some promise, but he doesn’t look like he’s trending in a direction of anything more than just a bit better than Hanowski.
The Pens essentially gave away some assets and got nothing out of it, and Iggy ended up in Boston where we all thought he was going, except the Flames don’t come away with the Bartkowski package we though the team was getting. I guess the wildcard here is Morgan Klimchuk. If he turns out to be a decent player for the Flames someday, ring the bell, because we have a winner and it’s the Calgary Flames. But he’s going to have to be really good, because he’ll forever be one of the guys who was traded for Jarome Iginla, and like it or not, there’s some pressure there. Gotta play through it somehow.
Byron: Can’t really tell yet but I’d call it a draw. We got some okay prospects and a 1st rounder back. That’s about what you’d expect for him at that point in his career. If one or a combination of those guys come in and put up a few points and play 20+ games than we got more out of it than the Penguins did, if we’re just talking about the numbers. But we were able to send Jarome exactly where he wanted to go to try and get that cup that we’ve wanted to see him hoist for over ten years. He wanted to do it here and we wanted him to do it here but it wasn’t in the cards. It didn’t work out in Pitt either but he certainly came close. This city would have gone nuts if he would have won, even with Pittsburgh. Rebuild aside, it was a fan’s victory to let him go and have that chance at the cup again.
Justin: No one has, or likely will, win the trade. Pittsburgh lost three assets, didn’t win the cup and didn’t resign Iginla. Calgary gained two marginal assets in Hanowski and Agostino (both of whom will likely top out as 3rd line players, at best) and a late 1st round draft pick in Klimchuk (who has about a 30% chance of being a top-6 forward). That might look like a good return (3 NHLers? Woo!) but third liners are available often on the free agent market and it costs a lot less to sign Joe Blow than it does to sign Hanowski, develop him and have a roster spot used by him. If Klimchuk turns out, Calgary wins. If he doesn’t, no one wins.
Christian: The Calgary Flames at this point, just because they have three assets who haven’t shown what they can be yet while Pittsburgh is already done with Jarome. They didn’t win a cup so Iginla’s acquisition didn’t do what it was meant to, while one of Klimchuck, Agostino or Hanowski can still turn into a cornerstone for this franchise – the reason that they were acquired. In the end, it’s more than likely the return won’t do Flames fans justice because of who was dealt, but from a strictly hockey perspective, the Flames have the edge – at least for now.
Taylor: Certainly not Pittsburgh who gave up three assets and wasn’t able to win a a championship with him. Even still, it could have been worse for the Penguins as they got one of the best available rentals without dipping into their blue-chip prospects, though who knows what will become of Morgan Klimchuk. The Flames got two marginal prospects and Klimchuk, so obviously if two of those three turn into reliable NHLers than the Flames did okay, especially considering their lack of leverage with respect to Iginla’s demands.
Ryan: I’m inclined to say either “nobody, yet” or Boston. The Flames got three assets, but arguably not the package Boston would’ve given them. The Penguins got an expensive rental player. The Bruins kept their kids and got Iginla anyway.