NHL NEWS: Calgary Flames trade Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh Penguins

iginla

Massive news yesterday, as the Calgary Flames announced the trade of perennial All-Star, team captain and beloved member of the Calgary community Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  A trade had been suspected for the last couple of weeks, and indeed the last couple of years as Iginla has gotten older and the Flames have been less competitive.

Iginla has been a superstar in the league for at least the last 12 years, but was a quality young player from the moment he stepped into the league in 1996.  Originally drafted by the Dallas Stars but never playing a game for them as he was traded to Calgary in exchange for Calgary favourite Joe Nieuwendyk, the trade worked out well for both teams, as the Stars got their veteran scorer who helped lead them to the Cup in 1999, and the Flames got a young power forward who would become the face of the franchise for over a decade and a half.  Iginla would go on to score 525 goals and 1095 points in 1219 games for the Flames, win 2 Rocket Richard Trophies (most goals), one Art Ross Trophy (most points), one Lester Pearson Award (players’ player of the year), one King Clancy Memorial Trophy (leadership and humanitarian contributions), one Mark Messier Leadership Award (leadership recognition).  He also made the NHL All-Rookie Team, the 1st All-Star Team 3 times and the 2nd All-Star Team once, and played in 6 All-Star Games.

That’s a quality player, and a great captain.  This will be a huge loss for the team and the community, but the Calgary Flames are a team who for the last few seasons have been trying to stop the inevitable – that is, that they need to ship out their aging veteran players and rebuild, with a more long-term goal than simply trying to scrape into the playoffs.  Trading Iginla signals the start of a rebuild process; whether it will be a long protracted one like Edmonton, or an attempted quick turn-around like Philadelphia in 2007, it remains to be seen.  It is in their best interests though, no matter how much losing someone of Iginla’s calibre hurts.

In exchange for Iginla, the Flames received two prospects and a 1st Round Draft Pick from the Penguins.  This is an interesting trade return.  Kenneth Agostino is a 21 year old forward, originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 draft.  He plays for Yale in the NCAA, and led his team in scoring with 37 points in 33 games.  Pretty good stats, though nothing overwhelming for a guy in his third NCAA season and being traded for a superstar.  He’s reportedly about 6’1″ and 200lbs, and according to Hockey’s Future is relatively physical, a strong competitor and is a good skater with good hockey instincts.  Sounds like a pretty decent pick-up, though as with all prospects the adjustment to the professional game will be the big tell.

Ben Hanowski is a right winger for the St Cloud State Huskies (yup, I hadn’t heard of them either) of the NCAA.  He captained the team this year and finished with 16 goals and 29 points in 34 games, and was originally drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2009 Draft.  At 23, he’s an older prospect and has just finished his senior year so will be looking to turn professional.  He has good size at 6’2″ and 210lbs, but those scoring stats don’t scream to me “future NHL forward”.  Not bad stats, but nothing special either.  Hockey’s Future describes him as a character guy, skilled, and possessing “uncanny vision” but needing to gain more explosiveness in his first step.

Corey Pronman, the prospect expert at Hockey Prospectus, describes both as above average prospects, but I have a hard time believing Calgary couldn’t get something better than those guys for Jarome-freakin’-Iginla.

The 1st Round Draft Pick could be very useful, perhaps the best part of the deal for the Flames, but given the Penguins are clearly loading up for a Cup-run (having already dealt for Brendan Morrow and Doug Murray), that pick could in all seriousness be as low as 30th Overall.  Quality players are obviously still available at that point in the draft, hell that’s why there’s 7 rounds of the damn thing, but to be honest picking anywhere below 10th overall is something of a crap-shoot.  It might be more useful as a trading chip for acquiring more bona-fide prospects or players.

On the bright side:  Sidney Crosby gets to play with Jarome Iginla again!

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2 comments

  • Samuel Skelding

    Dear Chris,

    I just wanted to leave a comment to express how much I enjoy your blog and generally admire what you are doing to promote your love of Ice Hockey. I really engage with your personal story as i’m currently a budding journalist, studying at the University of Westminster and really struggling to find a writing avenue where I can express the joy watching NHL brings, because as you so rightly pointed out in your very first post, so many places across Britain do not have a local team to integrate within their community. Although I am a Londoner, there are so few people interested in the sport in my area that I am even more determined to write about it and let everyone know what they are missing.

    I also wanted to enquire as to whether there was any way I could possibly become involved with your blog in a writing capacity, even to simply edit content or write the occasional article. I understand that a blog is a very intimate outlet for many individuals so if I am completely over-stepping my bounds please do let me know, I just figured that we are both people who seem to share a similar passion for ice hockey and I feel that your blog is by far the best in the UK on the subject. I am an Anaheim Ducks fan (We are on a poor run at the moment, ever since Corey Perry signed his contract extension), a remnant of my first encounter with the sport ‘The Mighty Ducks’ films and being extremely nocturnal, watch as much NHL as is available to me. I am also quite accustomed to WordPress formats having helped run a blog for Inside Line Magazine.

    I realise that in terms of this thread, I’ve been extremely off tangent. So it does appear that the Pittsburgh Penguins are throwing all of their eggs in the Stanley Cup winning basket? I must say I was shocked at the news as I expected Jarome to end up at the Bruins, especially after he was scratched for the Avalanche game, but it seems an excellent fit for a team who desperately wants to win a cup and a player who deserves one for being such a class act for so many years.

    Kind regards,

    Sam Skelding.

    • Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your many kind words! They really are much appreciated. I’m glad there’s at least one other Brit who feels like I do about hockey, although I know there are many more out there – it would be nice to appeal to as many as possible. Funnily enough, a lot of the traffic this site currently generates is from North America – obviously the subject matter is largely based on what happens over there so that’s no surprise really, but we do get a bit from the UK. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, it’s such a niche sport over here but there is definitely a market for it. The attendance at the London Premiere in 2007 showed that, as did the audience for the Olympic finals in 2010, not to mention the passion displayed by fans of the EIHL teams.

      I am actually glad someone like yourself has taken the time to message me; as you might’ve seen, I haven’t been posting as much in the last couple of months, due largely to work commitments getting in the way. I was thinking to myself only last week I could do with another writer! You are not over-stepping any boundaries in the slightest, I admire that you stepped forward and asked and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

      In fact, given your past experience with blogs and journalistic ambitions (are you studying journalism out of interest?), you’re probably more qualified than I am! If you’re a nocturnal kind of person then you actually likely watch more hockey than I am able to and might be able to churn out more up-to-date analysis! And if this helps you out both with an outlet for your passion, and possibly in your career then I’m only too happy to assist (no pun intended…).

      If you want to message me privately (hexty2001@hotmail.com) then we can discuss more in depth how we’ll go about this. Sound good?

      As for the Ducks, well they’re a funny team this season. They’ve had a great year overall, but their underlying numbers (possession stats etc.) suggest they shouldn’t be having the kind of success they are. However, with the caliber of players they have (Perry, Getzlaf, Ryan, Selanne, Koivu, Hiller, Fasth etc.) I would expect them to be good. So it’s a funny mix of what you expect to happen (average to good – their supporting cast beyond Winnik, Cogliano could be better), what should happen (bad), and what is happening (great).

      With regards to Pittsburgh – oh hell yes they are going all out this season. Why the hell not – Crosby is finally healthy and playing incredible, Kunitz and Dupuis are having career years, Malkin is Malkin (when healthy), Neal and Letang are great, Sutter was a quality pickup for Staal. I have my doubts about Doug Murray – he’s not the player he used to be – but Morrow and Iginla really adds to their depth up front. And they did it without giving up hardly anything (the 1st rounder for Iggy was probably the most significant asset lost, although Joe Morrow was a nice piece too). Their only weak link, in my opinion, is their goalies. Both Vokoun and Fleury are kinda average this year, but Fleury in the past (despite the perception of him by most) has been a pretty bad goalie. Even before he fell off a cliff in the first round last year! Vokoun is an older goalie and like Doug Murray, isn’t half as good as he used to be. If anything lets them down, that’ll be it. Iginla should be a great fit on this team anyway, more so than with the Bruins I think.

      Send me an email and we’ll talk further!

      Chris

      p.s. you’ll be disgusted to know I only watched The Mighty Ducks for the first time last month, after my girlfriend got me to watch it! I’d always meant to see it, but never got around to it. Fun movie!

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