While most of the world believes Jarome Iginla in Pittsburgh will be a one-off, I don’t buy it. After choosing to go to Pittsburgh, I firmly believe Iginla will sign there, and possibly way sooner than anyone might think.
First of all, I don’t think chemistry will be a problem, so there is no worry about that in the long term. Iginla is the type of player who is all team-first, and will fill whatever role they need him to.
Secondly, after carrying the weight of a team and an entire city for that matter on his back for more than a decade, he will be like a 25 year old again in the environment where he doesn’t have to carry that load. He can look around the room and see two other scoring champions & MVPs (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin), as well as a Norris-calibre defenseman (Kris Letang). And that doesn’t include James Neal, who can put up 40-50 goals in a season himself, or Chris Kunitz who is having a career season.
No, I think Jarome Iginla is exactly the player the Penguins could use for the long term. Like Daniel Alfredsson, his character outweighs anything he has done on the ice, and he is a 500G – 1000 Pt man. He has made his money, and will be more than happy in Pittsburgh. It would not surprise me in the least if Pittsburgh signed him to a 2 or 3 year extension even before the playoffs begin. It would send a message to the league that says “If we win it this year, we are committed to a dynasty. If we don’t win it this year, watch out for us again next year.”
Iginla has made $56M in the last 8 years in hockey salary alone, aside from any endorsement money he has made. He doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who demands excesses or needs to be the highest paid player out there. I think he will thrive in the environment, and contributing to the success of a winner without having to be “the man”. I don’t think he would mind taking a pay cut to stay in a winning situation, which is what Pittsburgh has offered him. The Pens don’t have a ton of cap space, but if Iginla would play for $3-4M per season, it could be dynasty time in Pittsburgh. He will be only 36, so he still has a couple good years left, especially if he doesn’t have the burden of the entire team on his shoulders.