Like the rest of us, Jarome Iginla seems to be counting down the days until his fate with the Calgary Flames is decided.
"As far as the rumors and stuff, it will work itself out in five or six days or whatever it is and we’ve been dealing with it now for a few weeks. Like I say, five or six days will go fast. Whatever transpires with this team between now and the deadline, it can’t come fast enough,” he said after the Flames’ loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
As with every trade derby, the field appears to be narrowing for Iginla, who is in the last year of a 5-year deal that pays him $7 million annually.
It’s thought he would only approve a trade to a team that would give him a long-term extension. His alleged “list” of preferred destinations include the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks.
But the Pittsburgh Penguins landed Stars forward Brenden Morrow, ostensibly because they’re out on Iggy. The Los Angeles Kings would appear to be too cap concerned to add Iginla, with a trio of young restricted free agents coming up. The Ducks added a wee bit of salary recently for next season. The Chicago Blackhawks would like Iginla as a rental player rather than a long-term piece; plus, as Mark Lazerus explained:
But the Hawks likely are a long shot to land Iginla, for a variety of reasons. For one, he doesn’t fit neatly into the Hawks’ top two lines. The team is pretty well set at right wing with Marian Hossa and Kane, meaning either Iginla or someone else would have to play out of position. The Hawks, as general manager Stan Bowman said last week, are more likely in the market for depth at center, particularly a player who’s strong on faceoffs.
A team that’s not looking for a center: The Boston Bruins, who not coincidentally also appear to be the frontrunner for Iginla by a country mile.
“I think the Bruins are the front runners right now,” said a source from another club that has been monitoring the situation. “With what the (Pittsburgh) Penguins did the last couple of days, they’re motivated.”
Another source told QMI Agnecy the B’s would will to give up a package of players, including goaltending prospect Malcolm Subban, who could be expendable given the youth of the Bruins goaltending tandem. Subban, a first-round pick in 2012, could be the heir apparent to Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. He’d be the most attractive part of the B’s package.
Bruins forwards Rich Peverley and Nathan Horton might also be expendable, along with a draft pick.
So the Bruins have the pieces. But would they really trade these pieces?
Horton is a UFA this summer after his 6-year deal ends. He has just 8 goals in 31 games this season, although his gutsy 17 points in 21 games performance during the Bruins’ run to the Cup in 2011 is hard to forget.
Subban? Unless it’s total posturing, GM Peter Chiarelli told Tourcher and Rich on Wednesday that the prospect is untouchable:
“I could tell you this, I’m not trading Malcolm Subban,” Chiarelli said on Wednesday. “He’s young, a very good goalie prospect and I see him being a big part of our future. We have some goalie depth, but I can tell you I’m not trading Malcom Subban.”
The Bruins have other players that could fit the “top prospect” requirement for Iginla, and flipping Horton for him makes sense if there’s no desire to sign Horton this summer. (His $4 million salary would eat up a good portion of what Iginla would be owed on a new contract.)
The Bruins fit as a trade partner and a destination for Iginla – they’re a Cup contender whose style of hockey would seem to sync with the style Iginla plays.
If he wants to leave Calgary, logic dictates it’ll be to Boston, unless GM Jay Feaster could stomach flipping Iggy to a rival like the Vancouver Canucks.
In the dwindling options for this trade derby, the Bruins are in the driver’s seat in their escalating asset war with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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