Coveted Flames captain Jarome Iginla headed to Penguins
By Mark Lazerus email@example.com March 27, 2013 10:28PM
Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period of an NHL hockey playoff game in Calgary, Alberta, Wednesday, April 22, 2009. The Calgary Flames beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4, tying the series at 2-2. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
Updated: March 28, 2013 10:39AM
First, Jarome Iginla was asked if he had any particular teams in mind to which he’d prefer to be traded. He dodged the question, saying “it’ll all work itself out.” Then he was asked if he had submitted a list of teams to Calgary Flames management. He danced around the question, saying “I know there’s a lot of talk out there.” Then he was asked if, at this stage of his career, it was important for him to go to a team that had a legitimate chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Iginla, the Flames genial captain, simply smiled, waved his hand, and began walking away from the media throng following Calgary’s loss to the Blackhawks on Tuesday night, saying, “I’m done, guys.”
Less than 24 hours later, he finally was. Iginla, the biggest prize in this year’s trade-deadline feeding frenzy, was traded late Wednesday night to the Pittsburgh Penguins — one of those contending teams on that reported list — for the Penguins’ first-round draft pick in 2013 and the rights to college players Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski.
The Blackhawks also were rumored to be on Iginla’s list, but he was a tough fit for the Hawks, who are stacked at right wing with Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane, and who are more in the market for depth at center (both Patrick Sharp and Kane have played center in the past, but greatly prefer to play their natural positions on the wing). Pittsburgh, meanwhile, just added to its haul after deals to land veteran forward Brenden Morrow from Dallas and big defenseman Douglas Murray from San Jose.
Iginla’s ordeal — amplified by a voracious Canadian media and his Hall-of-Fame stature — is over. But for countless players across the NHL, theirs is just beginning. As the April 3 trade deadline looms, they must deal with ever-intensifying speculation, and must do their best to block out the noise and focus on the task at hand, no matter how uncertain their futures are.
“I think we probably haven’t reached that point yet, but once it gets down to the last couple days, you’ll start thinking about it a little more,” Kane said.
Of course, the week leading up to the trade deadline is far less stressful for a team such as the Hawks than for a team such as the Flames. The Hawks, if anything, are buyers, looking to add a player or two, and unlikely to move significant pieces of the current NHL roster. Washington’s Mike Riberio and Dallas’ Derek Roy are two highly attractive centers, but the price might be too high for either and neither is particularly strong at faceoffs, something the Hawks need.
At 25-4-3, and with the most points in the league, the Hawks are in the advantageous position of not desperately needing any pieces, giving them the option of standing pat should no favorable trade opportunity present itself. In fact, even if they don’t make a move, no team in the league is going to get the boost at the trade deadline that the Hawks will, as both Hossa (possibly Friday against the Ducks) and Sharp (possibly next week) are on the verge of returning from their shoulder injuries.
“We like our team, we like the depth of our team, and our organization, as well,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, who said he’s involved in discussions with management about team needs and potential deals. “It’s been a good year and a fun year to date, so I’m very happy with what we have, and I’m excited about it.”
But even for the Hawks, the possibility of adding a checking center who can win faceoffs could mean somebody is on the way out of the lineup, even if it’s not a major shakeup. Quenneville said he hasn’t thought that far ahead, and neither should his players. This time of year, that’s easier said than done.
“We’re in a short-term business as coaches, trying to get everybody ready and make sure their focus is on the proper areas,” he said. “We’ll control what we can control as individuals. That’s basically it.”