Without a doubt, one of the hottest topics of conversation over the next couple of months will be what the Flames will do with their captain, Jarome Iginla. The 35 year old face of the Flames for the past 15 years has struggled this season and the team does not appear to be playoff bound once again, and most likely will be looking to commence a rebuild to stop a downward spiral. Also potentially on the move will be Mikka Kiprusoff and, if they can find a taker, Jay Bouwmeester as a blow-up of the roster is likely required.
So, where could Iginla end up?
Look no further than Pittsburgh. The Penguins have a need on the left wing, and despite Iginla being a right winger by trade, he could switch to the left side without too much trouble, especially if it means lining up with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
While trading for Iginla would not guarantee the Penguins a Stanley Cup, it definitely wouldn’t hurt their chances. Iginla really just needs a change of scenery after having carried the Flames on his back for so long. Pittsburgh would offer him the opportunity to be a contributor, but with three of the top forwards in the game on the team already, he wouldn’t be counted on to be THE offensive catalyst night in and night out.
The Penguins have the cap space available to absorb the Iginla contract without affecting the current roster. His contract expires after this season, so either he could negotiate to stay in Pittsburgh afterwards, at a lower cap hit, or if it doesn’t work out the sides can go their separate ways after the season. Iginla has a no-movement clause in his contract, but if approached by Flames GM Jay Feaster about moving to the Penguins, you could expect Iginla to agree before Feaster could utter the -burgh in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins have a stockpile of young defensemen that could be used to get Iginla from Calgary. Joe Morrow, Olli Maata, Derrick Pouliot, Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington are all blue chip defensemen as the Penguins have an embarassment of riches coming up on the blue line. Trading one or even two of them would not have too much impact the Penguins future and would bring in an all-star competitor who could fit in great both on and off the ice in Pittsburgh.
The Flames need to rebuild and could use a blue chip prospect or two on the blue line. Pittsburgh has more of those than any team in the league and they need a winger to play with Crosby. Iginla is a winger who is worn out having to carry a team and needs a change of scenery.
Pittsburgh might already be a favorite to win the Cup. Iginla would make that overwhelming. Not a guarantee, but as close as any team will get this season.
A match made in heaven for all parties involved.