PIPE DREAM OR PREMONITION: KING JAROME IGINLA
Only six months ago, Jarome Iginla spoke the following words to the Calgary Sun:
“If they don’t want me here and want to move in a different direction, I would look at it,” Iginla said. “You want to play where you are wanted and have people believe in you. If they do that, we would look at it. It wouldn’t be personal. My family has been treated very well. I want to be part of the solution here and I believe I can be. If that is what it came to, I wouldn’t take it personally. The organization has treated me well. They are looking at everything. I haven’t heard that or anything. My first meetings say they want me to be here. I believe I will be back.”
Not much has changed since April. Calgary continues to struggle. They are not scoring goals. The team looks out of sync. They lost tonight 3-0 to the Florida Panthers. Things don’t look to be getting better as there is now rumblings of friction between Suter and Iginla including some heated words in practice.
Take a look at Iginla’s salary. $7 million this season as well as the next two. A Kings’ sum that no contending team could afford to pay…except the Kings though some salary would have to go the other way. The Kings have approximately $5.5 million in cap space.
Doughty, Johnson and Simmonds are all restricted free agents this summer but remember that their new contracts would not kick in until 2012-2013 and Ryan Smyth is likely either off the books or re-signed at far less than his current $6.25 cap hit (even though his salary is $5.5 million this season and $4.5 the next). It’s not perfect. Some adjustments would have to be made but it doesn’t appear signing Iginla has any impact on the core especially if a mid-sized contract is going the other way along with the youth they may covet.
What would Calgary want? If the Flames are serious about rebuilding, they need blocks. It starts with the draft. 1st rounders. They get one of those and possibly a second. They then need youth that is ready to step in. This one is going to hurt. I could leave a blank line for you to fill in names but you maniacs may start throwing in Teubert, Martinez and such and think that will do it. It won’t. The other Sutter (Darryl) isn’t a fool, despite your advocation that bringing Tanguay and Jokinen back begs to differ. Kopitar, Brown, Simmonds, Doughty and I believe Johnson are not going anywhere. Neither are Quick and Bernier. Everyone else falls somewhere at or between the extremes “God, I hope not” (Schenn) to “any day of the week” (you make that list).
Why would Calgary do this? The other Alberta team has gone in full rebuild mode by being bad enough to draft high, shedding unwanted high salary veterans and letting the kids play and grow. Sound familiar? Think Kings 3 seasons ago. If the Flames don’t turn this around fast, they will soon find themselves unable to trade Iginla for a nice return. He is their most prized asset and, if Calgary intends to build, their only piece that can fetch a handsome return from a team looking to win the Cup in the next 2-3 seasons. Would they trade to a team in the Western Conference? Show me a contending team in the East that can afford Iginla’s $7 million dollar cap hit.
Look, this is speculation. The last time I had a “feeling” the Kings would hunt a player down before there were rumblings of it, it was Willie Mitchell. I wrote about that too. It was a lucky hunch then. If we can pull this off without giving up a core player, the team adds a consistent 30 goal scorer with character to spare who is rarely injured or misses games and epitomizes in style and substance a big bodied and hard skating sniper. The “fit” is perfect for the Kings. The cost…well, that’s why Dean Lombardi gets paid the big bucks.