Our next entry in the countdown of the worst trades in Calgary Flames history is a painful one. The greatest player in franchise history was given a chance pursue a Stanley Cup and the Flames didn’t have much to show for the swap.
A year and change after the sell-off of Robyn Regehr at the 2011 NHL Draft, the Flames still weren’t any closer to a Stanley Cup. Coming out of the 2012-13 lockout, the thought process was likely that the clock was ticking for the Flames to get Jarome Iginla his Stanley Cup.
But instead of being very good or very bad, the Flames just toddled around in the mushy middle of the standings. Finally, general manager Jay Feaster had a chat with Iginla and asked for permission to shop him around. Armed with a no-move clause in his expiring contact, Iginla was able to call his shot.
With the Colorado Avalanche in town on Mar. 27, 2013, Iginla was a healthy scratch. It became very obvious that he was going to be traded. Sources out east reported that he was to become a Boston Bruin in exchange for Matt Bartkowski, Alexander Khokhlachev and a first round pick. When the game ended, reporters went to the media lounge at the Saddledome for a very late press conference – the game didn’t even end until 11 p.m. local time and it was close to 11:30 p.m. when Feaster came to the podium.
And when Feaster came to the podium, he announced that Iginla was becoming… a Pittsburgh Penguin. In exchange, the Flames had landed Kenneth Agostino, Ben Hanowski and a first round pick.
Now, before we get into the two hauls, let’s start in one place: Kenneth Agostino wasn’t the player’s name, it was Ken (or Kenny). A nitpick, but c’mon. If the kid’s going to be a trivia answer in Calgary pubs for the next century, at least get his name right.
Now, Iginla had a no-move clause and he blocked the trade to Boston because he felt he’d have a better shot to win in Pittsburgh with Sidney Crosby. Fair enough, that was his right and most of us would’ve done the same thing. But when a perennial 30 goal scorer and one of the best players of his era is traded and the haul that his team gets is two tweener players and a pick (from Boston) or two college kids and a pick (from Pittsburgh), somebody screwed up.
Now, yes, the Flames held on too long with Iginla. He was definitely a diminished, expiring asset. But the Flames didn’t get enough for him.
- Agostino was a good player on a good college team, but he was a conference all-star (not an All-American) and he never really hit elite status in the NCAA.
- Hanowski had great hair – he donated his flowing locks to a charity soon after going pro later that season – and was a multi-time All-Academic player in his conference. But he, too, wasn’t considered a top college prospect.
The greatest player in franchise history, traded for a couple depth prospects (and a first round pick, which they used to draft Morgan Klimchuk). Agostino and Hanowski both left the organization after not being given qualifier offers as potential restricted free agents, while Klimchuk was sent to Toronto for Andrew Nielsen.
At least we didn’t have to learn how to spell Khokhlachev…