One of the central questions to this offseason for the Calgary Flames is what exactly they do with team captain Jarome Iginla. At one time, it would have been completely inconceivable for the team to trade Iginla. He’s played more than 1000 games for the team he broke into the league with in 1996, won a slew of individual awards and been the face of the franchise for the last decade.
But a lack of playoff success for the Flames coupled with a subpar season for Iginla has made it conceivable that he might be dealt. When he was asked about what he would do if the Flames wanted to move him (Iginla has a no-move clause on his contract), Iginla was surprisingly candid:
“I would, definitely. We (he and wife Kara) would talk about it. If they don’t want me here, if they wanted to move in a different direction, to rebuild or believed they could do better or . . . whatever. I’d look at it. Absolutely. You want to play where you’re wanted and people believe in you.”
Iginla added that he wants to stay in Calgary, and that he believes that the Flames can contend in the near future and that he’s committed to winning with them.
I’ll admit that I don’t see how it would serve the Flames to trade Iginla, at least from an on-ice perspective. Iginla’s not old; he’s only 32 now and will be 33 by the time the 2010-11 season rolls around. There’s been no serious injury knocking down what we should expect from him going forward; he hasn’t missed a game in three years. They’re a team that needs a more effective forward corps; he’s their most effective forward.
Plus, this has happened before. After a breakthrough 2001-02 where Iginla won the Lester B. Pearson Trophy as the player’s pick for league MVP, and led the league in points (96) and goals (52), Iginla put together three seasons where he recorded between 67 and 73 points. He still scored 30 goals in this, an off-year. His 69 points fits nicely into the same range as his post-MVP lull.
I suppose what I’m saying is that there’s enough history here to believe Iginla will rebound, and neither age nor injury give us significant cause to believe that he won’t. His cap hit isn’t a significant problem (after all, he’s worth more than two Matt Stajans) and Calgary could use a player exactly like a revitalized Iginla.
I know I wouldn’t take him up on his willingness to move if I were running the Flames.