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

  • Double Dion

    I usually agree with most of your thoughts, Kent, but I can’t say I agree with this one. I don’t think either Boston or Pittsburgh were willing to part with their top prospects. Boston was the more desperate of the 2 teams and yet they were only willing to offer a conditional pick. If I were Shero or Chirelli, I would have offered even less than they did. The Flames are in a death spiral and the only hope we have is the draft. Iggy had a NTC and nothing would happen without his okay. He is also a UFA so he could be a pure rental. This situation is the problem the poor teams face when their teams underperform. We saw this all through the 90’s when we were brutal and here we are again.

    Also,there have been multiple blogs and comments all year about how Iggy can’t match up against the top players anymore and yet when they trade him for less than a elite level prospect, there is outrage.

    I am not saying that Iggy was worth better but the situation does not allow for the Flames to negotiate for more than they got.

    Now for the backlash…. πŸ™‚

  • BurningSensation

    I guess I just see this differently. I think this was always about letting Iginla pick where he wanted to go, and mgt trying to maximize the return – something I support.

    I suspect strongly that management made it clear to Iggy that if they were to trade him he would have final say (which is how it is spelled out in the rules for NMC players, they have to sign off).

    Whining that managements hands were tied by Ken King is just that, whining. Iggy’s NMC was treated the way it was because he was the Franchise, and had earned the right to call his shot.

    I also think Chiarelli is being a dick about all this. If he had really wanted Iginla that badly, he could have made the offer impossible to refuse. Instead, he offered up a deal that included conditions on the pick, and prospects as flawed as those on offer from Pittsburgh, and then acted like the deal was done before he had confirmation from the one source that mattered (Iginla) that it was.

    I have zero sympathy for him.

    Trading the franchise was always going to be a circus, it was always going to be a mix of; you should have done it sooner, you shouldn’t ever have traded him, and you should have gotten more. This is as close to a win-win scenario as the Flames were ever going to get.

    I do find it somewhat amusing that the same people who insist we needed to trade Iggy before we lost him for nothing are now abusing management for trading him for a return that is clearly light years better than what Toronto got for Sundin.

    You guys asked to go to the circus and now you are all complaining about the smell of the elephant poop.

    Lastly, I for one prefer the Pens offer to the Bruins. The pick is unconditional, and the two prospects are graded as ‘above average’ by scouting blogs (Pronman, Hockey Futures) that track these things. Hanowski and Agositno may not be grade A prospects but they are better than current prospects we have been anxiously waiting on like Michael Ferland and Lance Bouma, and they are closer to reaching the NHL and contributing to the team.

    As Yoda said, ‘let go of your hate’.

    • Double Dion

      Some good points. If you want to be upset, Iginla is the guy who decided to pick the Pens package. I disagree with you that the Boston package was as bad as the Pens in a huge way though. Khokhlachev is a very solid prospect. He’d instantly be out second best. The guys we got are not in the same category at all. Chiarelli also handled it with a fair amount of class IMO. He did scratch the players which told them the organization was going to trade them. He’s got some major damage control to do now. Also, he said the 1st round pick was not conditional.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Couldn’t agree more Kent… Feaster needs to get the boot for this. I’m almost certain, Pouliot or Maatta would have been on the table.. but Feaster’s scouts are just obsessed with American College players right now. I hope he’s gone by the draft.

    Strike one, was not making any moves at the deadline last year.

    Strike two, was going off the board to draft Jankowski, when the Flames were clearly not in the position to go “off the board”

    Strike three, trading Iginla for Magic beans..

    I think we are looking at a long painful rebuild here folks.

    PS. I hope Jarome will win the Cup, and resign in Calgary in the summer with a hometown discount… because that’s the only way we win that trade.

    • Victoria Flames Fan

      I agree. I would take Pouliott or Maata (or Khocklachev) alone over the package Pens offered. This is a disgrace. Compelling article on the Hockey News suggests Flames got nothing for Iginla. (

      1st Round 30th Picks Overall (since 1980):


      Very good
      1989 – Patrice Brisebois, 1,009
      1991 – Sandis Ozolinsh, 875

      1981 – Jan Erixon, 556
      1986 – Neil Wilkinson, 460
      1994 – Deron Quint, 463
      2001 – Dave Steckel, 405*
      2002 – Jim Slater, 475*

      1980 – Ken Solheim, 135
      1983 – David Bruce, 234
      1984 – Peter Douris, 321
      1988 – Adrien Plavsic, 214
      1996 – Josh Green, 341
      2000 – Jeff Taffe, 180
      2006 – Matt Corrente, 34*

      1982 – Jen Johansson, 0
      1985 – Par Edlund, 0
      1987 – Jeff Harding, 15
      1990 – Rod Pasma, 0
      1992 – Chris O’Sullivan, 62
      1993 – Nikolai Tsulygin, 22
      1995 – Mike McBain, 64
      1997 – J-M Pelletier, 7
      1998 – Kyle Rossiter, 11
      1999 – Luke Sellars, 1
      2003 – Shawn Belle, 20
      2004 – Andy Rogers, 0
      2005 – Vladimir Mihalik, 15
      2007 – Nick Ross, 0

      Too Early To Say
      2008 – Thomas McCollum, 1*
      2009 – Simon Despres, 42*
      2010 – Brock Nelson, 0*
      2011 – Rickard Rakell, 4*
      2012 – Tanner Pearson, 0*

      • McRib

        Simon Despres, Brock Nelson, Rickard Rakell, Tanner Pearson are all almost locks to be NHLers!!! Hahah. And lets look closer for a second at the players who went just after these 30th picks in each respective year in the second round….

        Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Carle, Shea Weber, Dave Bolland, Bryan Bickell, David Booth, James Neal, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Paul Stastny, Mason Raymond, Guillaume Latendresse, Jamie McGinn, Shawn Matthias, Milan Lucic and Jeff Petry. P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, T.J. Galiardi. Vyacheslav Voynov, Roman Josi, Derek Stepan and Travis Hamonic. Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Clifford, Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Elliott. Devante Smith-Pelly, Calle Jarnkrok, Tyler Toffoli, Martin Marincin, Ryan Spooner and Jason Zucker, Brandon Saad, Ryan Sproul, Boone Jenner, Tomas Jurco, Ty Rattie, Sebastian Collberg, Nicolas Kerdiles, Cristoval Nieves, Martin Frk.

        Honestly the second round has produced some absolute gems, not to mention that this is the most stacked draft since 2003 when (Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Carle and Shea Weber) all fell out of the first….. Not to mention guys like Mike Green going 29th in their respective years.

        • Franko J

          I agree the second round produces some “gems”. Again Calgary is without one.
          On your list it would have been interesting to see if the Flames would have chosen any of the players above. (If they would have retained their picks).
          Definitely the Flames did miss out on a number of players who could have helped them now.

      • BurningSensation

        Calculating a first round pick as ‘nothing’ abuses the English language.

        Sure, the 30th overall hasn’t always amounted to anything, but the right way to gauge the value of the pick is as a %chance that the guy picked becomes an NHL regular.

        Weber was a 2nd rnd pick, and he turned out OK, and a 1st is better than a 2nd right?

        Which isn’t to say whoever we pick will be better than Shea Weber, but the methodology THN used is deeply flawed.

        As for Kochlachev vs Hanowski and Agostino, Hockey’s Future has the former as a 7.5 rating, and the two latter guys as 7.0. The difference is simply not huge, and the guys we got are closer to being able to contribute.

        Kochlachev also has a Russian background, so there is a not infinitesimal chance he simply goes to the KHL.

        Lastly, this is a DEEP draft, guys who would go top 15 will be available later in the draft, making the pick we got that much more valuable,

    • Double Dion

      Sorry bro but we arent resigning Iginla any time soon. Word was the press conf. was a bunch of smoke & mirrors & WWF style spinning. Iggy was having a hiss behind the scenes. He could hardly contain his excitement to get out of this rathole & on to to Pitt. No tears were shed. I even noticed he mentioned how “calgary was heading for a rebuild or retool”. He knows full well & I know this as fact that Ken King hates & loathes the word “Rebuild”. That impacts ticket sales, sponsor contracts, price increases. He will call this anything but. I would bet money Pitt knew Iggy was going for their deal all along & probably texted his buddy Mario what the Bruin offer finally was that Jay was going to accept. You know what? I dont care. I was preparing myself that Iggy was not going to get moved & we were going to lose him for nothing. At least we got a 1st in this years draft. Its better than a kick in the crotch with a steel toed boot.

      Now heres another little tidbit that is just going to drive the Feaster lynch mob crazier. Was on a Buffalo thread & they are talking about trading Regehr & Leopold & they are hoping to get a 1st rounder for each of them, Regehr, as a rental how many years later. I will throw up instantaneously if they get a 1st for rockin robin. What will be interesting is to see what they do get. Right now I’m getting that queezy feeling I get when I know I have a doctor appointment in a few days to get my prostate checked.

      • Captain Ron

        I don’t think you’ll see a first for Leo or Reggie. I could be wrong but that is very optimistic thinking on their part. Might depend on the level of desperation from the buyers though.

        But if that happens then what would JBO bring? A first and a solid prospect at the very least?

        LOL on the prostate checkup comparison.

  • Big Ell

    I listened to the interview with Ken King.

    Ken King said there were four teams with three offers and that Iginla had the final choice.

    He infers that the Boston deal went through and that Iginla didn’t agree so they went with the Pittsburgh deal. He didn’t seem so concerned because the deals are about the same. He doesn’t seem to care that they made a deal with Boston and then had to renege because of Iginla. Then he says he would get it in writing next time. Jesus christ, do any of these morons do their due diligence. And only weeks after ROR.

    Damn, does Ken King seem shady. If he actually thought this team would go somewhere? Then this is going to be a long rebuild/reload/redo/reactivate/realign/retardation or whatever spin they try to put on it. We are doomed with Ken King and Jay Feaster being the puppets of Murray Edwards.

    At least the Penguins game is on in 8 minutes, I just threw up in my mouth.

  • Double Dion

    feaster could have gotten macgratton off waivers yet trades for him the next day. ror, iggygate janko the best of the draft, guaranteed playoffs, man this guy has more missteps than dancing with the stars. got an idea the new 3 stooges, murray as moe, king as larry and feaster as curly j.

    should have had enough intellectual honesty to have iggy sign off. the longer this goes the worse the flames look.

    feaster must be the brunt of the practical jokes at the annual gms meetings.

  • jrh

    good article Kent.

    prime time sports interview with ken king is pretty interesting – they really try to pin King down on what really happened. aside from flames nation, we get the most realistic view on the flames from the out of town coverage.

    we did get snookered.

    anyway all the best to iginla in pittsburgh, too bad we didn’t surround him with better players especially a first line centre – he was in a tough spot here for years with not enough support on the ice. announced that iginla is playing today against the islanders – game time 11am but you need centre ice package to watch.

    • Chris Fairfield

      Try out this link to get NHL games. Double click on the game you want to watch, then maximize the screen so you don’t have to deal with pop-ups.

  • Double Dion

    If King admits that they probably got iginla to sign a short list and didn’t, I can’t see how u can give feaster a pass. It is embarrassing that the flames management appear to be a league joke. I have never heard anyone speak about feaster et all, saying anything good about them. We need a ken holland type manager. Someone who exudes respect. I get the feeling some changes may occur in the hockey department, or maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

  • Double Dion

    You rock, Kent.

    I feel that this just confirms what many have felt since Feaster took control. He is in over his head. Period. The ROR debacle, this latest move… We are being laughed at.

    I listened on the Fan yesterday to a replay of Ray Shero’s presser in Pitt. He is so very much more capable, in control sounding, determined… Probably the best trade we could have made would have been Iggy for Ray Shero. And then waive Jay Feaster…I mean ‘wave goodbye’ to Feaster.

    • jrh

      Add the fact that Feaster has said you can always get players to waive yet he wasn’t able to do that with Jokinen last year when we could have received a 1st for him. It possibly would have been a higher 1st too which means we could have possibly received more for a 2 month rental of Joker than what Feaster got for Iginla.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Kent, I’m glad you did a piece on how it went down. Iginla clearly had a short list of teams that he would accept a trade to. Based on that, Feaster was trying to get a deal done. But his and the rest of the management’s hands were tied at the end of the day because the “great” Iggy put his foot down while sucking on both of his thumbs that he wouldn’t go anywhere but Pitt.

    Shero somehow sensed that and knew he could get this done by offering a first rd pick, a broken exhaust pump from his 1990 Dodge Neon and a case of Gatorade. That’s exactly what happened.

    KK was asked over the phone whether he thinks he should’ve gotten the player to sign the short list. He replied, “yes, we probably should have”.

    I don’t trust the current management making on-ice changes. On top of all, constant interference by Edwards (the most by an owner in hockey) sets up the future of this franchise in the gutter. I am confident that this team will be one of the worst in the league for a long time to come.

    We trade our star players and get nothing in return. The 2 college kids we got in this deal, will probably never be NHL regulars. Anyway, my heart bleeds for this team.

      • First Name Unidentified

        Hahaha, sure a 95 Neon! Can that exhaust pump still be used?

        Jokes aside, i don’t think this team should be making any more trades because the returns would be more than underwhelming.

        The owner and the GM of the team are lawyers and the President is a media goon. Together, they can’t seem to run a Hockey franchise? I’m surprised! They should ask Jarome, when he retires, to run a law firm, I think he’ll be astounding.

        Look at CNRL and how it has been destroying shareholder equity over the past 3-4 yrs. They always have issues at Horizon, rigs get flooded and catch fire. It used to be one of the best Canadian E&P company.

        Not convinced, look at Penn West Petroleum then. Classic example of destroying shareholder capital. The stock goes from $40 to $9!! How to spend stakeholders’ cash in poor projects and destroy the equity. PWT has incredible assets and ~ 160,000 boe/day of production.

        This is how ME is destroying the Flames too! I have zero hope.

  • BurningSensation

    great read kent. the flames got snookered in this fiasco. how a player can orchestrate the deal signifies the blatant lack of intellectual honesty within the management core.

    this on the heels of kipper’s self appointed nmc has all the makings of a hit sitcom for cbc.

    2 ham n eggers for a hof icon, amazing . well iggy realy did hold sway over flyin j afterall.

  • Double Dion

    Ouch, that was harsh Kent. Even for a pessimist/realist like me. I’m not in the group of fans that has had Iginla on a pedestal, at least not in the past 4 or 5 years. But, my question to you is, how do you know Iginla didn’t tell Feaster the only way I waive is if you present the 2 or 3 teams interested to me with packages you find acceptable? If he did that, I can give Jay a pass on this one. If not, the move is sheer stupidity. I’d forgive that stupidity if it got us Petan and he grows 2 inches though…