LOS ANGELES – Before a trade deadline deal that sent Jarome Iginla from the Colorado Avalanche to the Los Angeles Kings, the legendary forward wasn’t sure if he wanted to prolong his career another season.
But when he got to the Kings and found himself producing in games with playoff implications, the 39-year-old Iginla started to believe he could indeed play one more year.
“I know we didn’t make (the playoffs) but until our last four every game felt like a big deal and it was a big deal in the standings,” he said. “It was exciting and I would like to keep playing.”
Iginla’s ability to play next year may have less to do with his desire and more to do with whether a team will want to sign him to a contract. He’s certainly not the goal scorer he once was, but after the trade to the Kings he did average 0.32 goals per-game for a total of six in a 19 game stretch. Iginla hopes this small sample size was enough to cancel out his eight tallies in 61 games with the last-place Avalanche. Over his 1,554-game NHL career, Iginla has scored 625 goals and notched 1,300 points.
Iginla is a pending unrestricted free agent coming off a three-year $16 million contract. His next deal will likely involve a large pay-cut, but he seems OK with this overall.
“I will be 40 in the summer and coming off of really my toughest year I’ve had in my career. Looking back it was a tough year but I’m also thankful looking back I haven’t had a lot of those tough years and I would like that chance to – and I really do think I can do better, but we’ll see where that’s at,” Iginla said. “Part of it is also understanding I’m not as prolific a goal scorer, point producer, whatever but I think I can still have a really good year and be effective for teams and compete hard and battle and stuff like that and try to do the strengths I do or have been able to do as a player.”
The possibility of Los Angeles bringing back Iginla is currently unclear. The Kings fired coach Darryl Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi on Monday and at a Tuesday news conference that introduced new general manager Rob Blake, the organization indicated it wanted tweak the team’s philosophy to play with more speed to generate offense. Though Iginla is one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history it doesn’t seem that his heavier playing style fits in the Kings’ new direction.
“I don’t know if they’re an option from their point of view,” Iginla said. “Obviously they have to take time and do what they do in their analysis and stuff. From my point of view that would be an option. I did enjoy it. It was great for me”
Though Iginla said he would like to come back, he noted that he still needs to sit down and weigh all the pros and cons of a return before making a choice.
“I got home to Colorado and it’s one of those things I would like to but at the same time I have to wait and see what the options are,” Iginla said. “It’s not 100 percent but I definitely would like to and I know that part of it but I have to wait and see what options and what things are at there.”
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