Trading Jarome Iginla: It’s a rather delicate situation for Calgary Flames

Jarome Iginla has been with the Calgary Flames since 1995, so it's hard to even imagine the superstar winger suiting up for another franchise.

But we may not have to imagine it: In three weeks, when the league reaches April 3 trade deadline, it could be a [totally super weird] reality.

Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun reported Sunday that the Flames and Iginla aren't negotiating an extension on his 5-year, $35 million deal, which is set to expire at the end of this season. Safe to say that Flames GM Jay Feaster can't afford to lose Iginla this summer for nothing, especially not when he's been putting off a rebuild for years and when it comes to building, trading Iginla could very well be hockey's equivalent of having two grain and three ore in Settlers of Catan.

[Also: Sidney Crosby is having one of the greatest seasons in recent memory]

Of course, Iginla has a no-movement clause, so he'd have to be into it too, and making the decision to waive would be a tough one: He's been in Calgary his whole career and those change of address forms will probably require him to write out his absurdly long full name. But if Iginla's not pushing for an extension, he knows full well what the other option is, so he must not be completely opposed to it.

Now, I'm wary about an Iginla trade for a number of reasons. I don't think Jay Feaster should be the guy in charge of making it, for one thing. For another, and I've said this before, trading Jarome Iginla is a little more complicated than just putting his name out there and taking the best package. Orchestrating a clean break that allows Iginla to return at the end of his career with no lingering animosity or ill will is vital. That means the entire thing has to be handled tactfully.

Again, Feaster wouldn't be my guy for this, if I had a choice. But thus far, I've been quietly impressed, mainly because the conversation surrounding this trade has also been quietly impressed.

"I'm not going to talk about Jarome specifically," Feaster told Elliotte Friedman when asked about the situation. "Every time his name comes up publicly, there's an outcry."

As one would expect. Regardless of what info leaks about this situation, some people are going to be upset by it. But if Feaster weighs in one way or the other, he runs the risk of turning the whole thing into a circus.

So how to let GMs know you're willing to talk Iginla without explicitly saying so? Tactful info leaks, like, say, making sure people realize you're not talking about an extension three weeks before the trade deadline. Yeah, I would hazard a guess that we only know that because Feaster wants us to know that.

Feaster's words to Friedman give me the impression that he's fully aware of the delicate tightrope he's walking. While rumours are bound to swirl around Iginla for the next few weeks, we're not likely to get anything out of the Calgary camp until a move is or isn't made by April 3.

Which is the right way to handle this situation.

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