Mr. 500: Jarome Iginla
On Saturday night, in front of a sold out Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary Flames captain and franchise player Jarome Iginla became the 42nd player in NHL history to score 500 goals and only the 15th player to score 500 goals with a single team.
(The other 14 are: Jean Béliveau, Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Guy Lafleur, Mario Lemieux, Stan Mikita, Mike Modano, Gilbert Perreault, Maurice Richard, Joe Sakic, Bryan Trottier and Steve Yzerman.)
It wasn’t your vintage Iggy (see below) coming down the right side, left leg pump, top cheese kind of goal, but it went in nonetheless, just like all the other 499 did. Who cares if it banked off two different Minnesota Wild players? It still found the back of the net.
(Notice how Mark Lee says "Jarome Iginla's Mom" right after he scores.)
It was also the game winning tally in a 3-1 victory over the Wild, his 80th such goal of his career putting him only 33 back of the league’s all-time leader in that category Jaromir Jagr. Now, the statistic itself does have a significant amount of luck involved, but I tend to think that clutch snipers, like an Iginla and a Jagr, will end up with more GWG’s over their careers then other regular Joe’s might.
The uplifting moment also came after one the most embarrassing losses of Iginla’s career, not to mention the Flames themselves, when they were shellacked 9-0 by the defending cup champion Boston Bruins.
After finishing a season long seven game road trip 0-4-1, including the 9-0 final act, not much hope or optimism was left in the city.
But Iginla helped undo a lot of the negativity in the city with his milestone marker. This isn’t anything new for the guy who has scored 30 goals in 10 straight seasons.
He has always picked this team, and city, up from the brink of despair. When there is nothing to be hopeful for, he is always there, on and off the ice.
So isn’t it fitting that once again as Iginla tries to turn this team around single handedly, that trade rumours would rear their heads saying that Iginla will be shipped out sooner rather than later.
It’s an ongoing debate, and one I hate to think about as I tend to have a soft spot, and a significant man crush, for the man they call Iggy.
The first question that should be asked is, is Jarome Iginla, the face of the franchise and heart and soul of the team, even tradeable?
Well, if Gretzky can be traded than anyone can be, right?
I would imagine that 29 teams would be chomping at the bit to have Iginla suit up for them, but after spending 15 years in Calgary and setting team records for goals, points, and games played, not to mention engraining himself in the Calgary community, can the Flames even part ways with him?
I tend to think that Iginla holds all the cards. If he doesn’t want to go anywhere and wants to stick it out with the Flames, then that’s his choice. He has earned that right.
And what would the Flames get for him, if they did have the chance to trade him?
A couple of prospects, and a few draft picks? A lesser skilled top six forward, a pick and a prospect? A bunch of picks? How about four plugs and zero picks? Sound familiar?
In recent memory, how many deals can you think of where a superstar was traded and the team dealing the superstar came out on the winning end of the deal?
A couple of examples to support my point:
In 2005, Joe Thornton was traded to San Jose for Wayne Primeau, Brad Stuart and Marco Sturm. Sure Boston won the cup last season, but they continued to struggle after dealing Joe none of those players, save Sturm, lasted very long in Boston. San Jose has been a perennial contender for the better part of the decade and have consistently made it farther with Joe in their line-up then without (back to back conference finals appearances in the last two seasons).
In 2010, Ilya Kovalchuk was traded alongside Anssi Salmela and a 2nd round pick for Johnny Oduya, Niklas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, and 1st rounder in 2010 (Kevin Hayes) and and 2nd round pick in 2010 (Justin Holl). The deal put the nail in the coffin for Atlanta as a franchise, while Bergfors, who was thought to be a budding prospect, floundered and now plays in Russia, and Cormier has bounced around between the minors and the big leagues.
What about when the Kings traded the Great One to St. Louis in 1996 for Patrice Tardif, Craig Johnson, Roman Vopat, a 5th round pick in the 1996 draft and first round pick in 1997, that turned out to be Matt Zultek, who played all of ZERO game in the NHL. Tardif? Johson? Vopat? All household names in hockey circles I’d say.
And don’t forget when the Flames traded Dion Phaneuf, maybe not a super star but a legitimate big game player, for four players that would maybe look good on an ECHL roster.
Now, I’m not saying Jay Feaster isn’t capable of getting a good return because I know it’s happened, just look at how we acquired Iginla – from Dallas when we traded then superstar Joe Nieuendyk for Jarome. Dallas won a cup. The Flames got a franchise player.
All I’m saying is that don’t expect the Flames to land the end all be all of prospects or draft picks that will change the team’s fortunes if in fact he does get traded, because no prospect is a sure thing, just ask the Ottawa Senators and Alexandre Daigle.
If Flames fans want to look for a prospect to save the franchise, look no further than a player already in the system in Sven Bartschi. He is the closest thing to a saviour at this point and the most talented player to come along since Iginla dawned #24 for the Flaming C in 1996.
So in saying this I think the team and city is worse off short and long term if they trade Iginla. Call me nuts. Call me an idiot. I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do and I think the franchise is even further in a hole if they do so.
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