November 27, 2011
But that's where we may be headed. Iginla has played in only 54 NHL playoff games, 26 of them in one postseason, and it's beginning to look as though, if he remains in Calgary, he won't be adding to that total anytime soon.
I could be wrong, of course. The Flames have a lot of talent, and they could very well challenge for a playoff spot at season's end. But the early returns don't look promising. As of this writing, the Flames have accrued 17 points over the season's first 21 games, good for 13th in the conference ahead of only the famously bad Columbue Blue Jackets and the freefalling Anaheim Ducks — and even then, only just barely.
Things aren't sounding overly optimistic in camp Calgary either. Flames' President Ken King recently admitted being misled by the team's strong play in the back half of last year. From the Calgary Herald:
I think we were all teased a little bit from Dec. 28 onward," he says of the sterling record following Darryl Sutter's dismissal a general manager. "I think we thought we were further advanced than we actually were. Maybe we should have been smarter. Maybe we should have been able to see that that wasn't quite as firm as we thought it was. Nevertheless, so be it."
In other words: though we looked good for a time, we are, in actuality, not that good.
This is problematic. If the team's ownership doesn't believe in the core, it stands to reason that the core is probably due for a change. And if it's a youthy rebuild Calgary needs, moving Jarome Iginla, who likely won't be around once the kids grow into players, seems the best way to get it started.
But this is where the Flames have to tread lightly. If I'm a Calgary fan, I'm just as concerned about how management trades him as I am in where and for whom.
Iginla won't go just anywhere. While I can't think of a single team that wouldn't want him, he's going to have to want them back -- he has a no-movement clause.
That means that it's entirely up to him whether or not he changes zip/postal codes. You wonder what he's thinking.
If he stays, he'll have played his entire NHL career with one team (yes, I know he was drafted by Dallas), which is admirable, but it's no Stanley Cup. Of course, it's not a guarantee that he gets a Ray Bourque storybook Cup hoist to close out his career, either. He could simply end up looking weird and out of place, like Mats Sundin(notes) in a Canucks' jersey or Mike Modano(notes) as a Red Wing. It's a gamble.
But it's his gamble to make. After 15 years in Calgary, he's earned the right to decide whether he stays or goes, and Jay Feaster and company need to take special care to respect this. If word gets out that he's vetoed or asked for a move and fans turn on him unfairly as Toronto Maple Leafs' fans did on Mats Sundin in his final year in Toronto, that's a failing in the General Manager's office.
As far as I'm concerned, it's up to Flames' management to make sure that doesn't happen. Iginla is one of the greatest players in Flames' history, and if they tarnish his legacy by mishandling it in his final days with the organization, it will reflect just as poorly on them as it does on Iginla. If anything from this situation leaks and Feaster escapes criticism, something has gone wrong.
While Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla would have to agree to waive his no-movement clause, don't be surprised if the Stars show interest in trying to pry the 34-year-old winger back to Dallas, the team that drafted him in 1995.
Not only would Iginla help put the Stars back on the map, it just so happens Gaglardi is partners with Iginla, Mark Recchi(notes), Darryl Sydor(notes) and Phoenix captain Shane Doan(notes) in the ownership group of the WHL's Kamloops Blazers.
Of course, this is an educated guess at best, based on a tenuous connection and little else. But that's fine.
I would like all Jarome Iginla trade talk to be this bland.