Has Iginla's Flame in Calgary Burned Out?









Class act. Hard worker. Impeccable leadership.

These are the characteristics that come to mind when you think of Jarome Iginla but in the midst of his 15th season with the Calgary Flames, rumors have begun to swirl that it may be time to part ways with the Flames captain. Through 23 games, Calgary sits tied for 12th in the Western Conference with a 10-12-1 record and lie 25th overall in the NHL. While this downfall might come as a surprise to some, the writing has been on the wall for a few seasons now.

The mind frame of Flames management for quite some time has been that they have a solid core and would be ready to compete for a Stanley Cup with simply a couple more pieces to complete their puzzle…unfortunately, the pieces they’ve picked up over the years haven’t fit. When the decision was made to trade their top defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Toronto Maple Leafs, rather than bringing in talented youth and prospects, opted for Ian White, Jamal Mayers, Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan.

Where are they now??

White is with the Detroit Red Wings, Mayers plays for the Blackhawks, the Flames waived Hagman earlier this season, and Mississauga native Matt Stajan spends most nights watching from the press box as a healthy scratch.

Focusing on the present, even if the Flames were to turn their season around they would at best just sneak into the playoffs, resulting in a more than likely guarantee a 1st round exit. While the problems the Flames face will not be solved over night, the good news is that they have players to help with the solution. This is going to be painful to hear but its time that GM Jay Feaster emulates the strategy of Leafs GM Brian Burke and Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman and take the time to start from the ground up…here is where parting ways with Iginla and Kiprusoff start to make sense.

At 34, Jarome is still one of the most highly skilled, all-round players in this league and much like the preliminary Bobby Ryan sweepstakes, Iginla on the open market would bring offers from just about each of the 29 other teams in the NHL. Just imagine what teams like L.A and San Jose would do to get Iggy skating with the likes of Kopitar and Thornton or even Dallas to provide that veteran experience to a team that is on the cusp of becoming a serious threat in the Western Conference. Having a marquee player like Iginla, the Flames can name their price and easily expect offers of young talent and top prospects to roll in, allowing them to start building a youthful team that can go through the system and take the time to develop their skills without the pressure to produce at the NHL level right away.

Moving to Mikka Kiprusoff, at 35 year of age he is still a proven goaltender and while he may not look like the Kiprusoff that won the Vezina in 2006, some of that can be chalked up to the lackluster defence that plays in front of him, including the “I wish I never signed him to a 5 year $33 million contract” Jay Bouwmeester. Teams like Detroit and Chicago are chomping at the bit for a complete goaltender that can keep them in games when it comes to crunch time, giving Calgary another opportunity to bring high draft picks into their organization.

Iginla has been vocal about the rumors stating, “I want to win here and I believe we can be a good team here”. As admirable as his commitment to the Flames is, its tough not to draw parallels between his situation and that of Mats Sundin. Mats never wanted to leave Toronto but eventually, the management realized that they had to do what was best for their team and parted ways. If Jarome Iginla is traded, it will be to a team that Iggy wants to go to, much like Sundin picking to join the Canucks. While the chances of him riding into the sunset with that Ray Bourque storybook ending isn’t probable, there’s no question that he’ll do his due diligence in picking a team that he will gel and fit in with easily, as opposed to looking awkward and out of place (re. Mats Sundin with the Vancouver Canucks).

Trading your captain and starting goaltender will never be an easy trigger to pull for any club, but as teams like the Blackhawks have proven and teams like the Maple Leafs and Oilers are starting to reap the benefits from, being the laughing stock of the NHL may sting while you’re at the bottom for a few seasons but if you implement and don’t deviate from the rebuilding and development strategy, in due course your team will be the one lacing up their skates come June while other clubs keep busy trying to keep under par.

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4 thoughts on “Has Iginla's Flame in Calgary Burned Out?

  1. Good article but what most people don’t realise is that if you give away a goalie like Kipper, the odds of finding another one who is just as good is going to take a very long time. Look at any of the top teams in the league and they have a great netminder. As Ontarians (and presumably Leafs fans) you probably realise that without a proven goalie it’s harder and harder to win games. Blowing up the Flames seems like a good idea but with the ownership and management in Calgary the return will not even come close to what the Flames would be losing. The last great goaltender the Flames had was Mike Vernon, since then the Flames have had no less than 30 (THIRTY!!) keepers, and outside of Kiprusoff not a single one has played more than 180 games nor has have recorded more than 75 wins. I can maybe see Cgy trading Iginla (blasphemous as it sounds) but the return would not be worth it, since Calgary has a horrible draft history. In the last decade their best draft picks have been, Dion Phaneuf, Chuck Kobasew, David Moss, Eric Nystrom, Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust, Dustin Boyd and Mikael Backlund, hardly a group of guys to build your team around.

    • The Flames scouting has been pure garbage I totally agree but they need to improve their drafting tactics if they want to get better because getting a veteran for Iggy isn’t a smart trade. Teams like Detroit and Chicago are built on solid scouting and Calgary needs to get better to make an Iginla trade beneficial to them. A goalie of Kipper’s quality is very tough to find but on the flip side, if you are going to commit to rebuilding the Flames, then you know they won’t be competitive for 3-5 years so regardless of how good Kipper is it won’t help your long term plan because by the time you’re ready to really compete he’ll be 38+ and I don’t think his conditioning as as strong as a Brodeur. Instead, why not trade him now, get some nice prospects/draft picks, make SMART use of them then you have time while you’re rebuilding to also work on molding a talented young goalie (like Leafs have done with Reimer) and then when the time comes, either your new goalie will be ready or you can still make a trade to bring in a more established goaltender.

  2. I agree with the other poster and I think that getting rid of the face of the Calgary Flames would not be a good decision. However, I do think that the Flames have to stop building an organisation around a single player. For the most half decade, every trade, waiver, and draft pick has been centred around acquiring players who can play and enhance Iginla’s gameplay. If the Flames begin focussing on developing depth in their line ups, then we can keep our number one player.

    • Kiprusoff may get better with age. Look at Thomas and Brodeur. You’re only as good as the team in front of you!!! It’s time for Calgary to cash in on Kipper and Iginla and start the re-building process. Again, Toronto won the Phaneuf/Aulie trade as they did the Gilmour trade years’ ago. They must get young prospects and draft picks and sign some free agents to let the youth develop.

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