Jarome Iginla was an unfortunate one-and-done with the Bruins. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
WILMINGTON — A future Hall-of-Famer comes to a team, looks like he should have been there his whole career en route to a brilliant season and then disappears in the blink of a business decision. Sound familiar?
It does to the Bruins, who can undoubtedly relate to the Patriots’ pain as Darrelle Revis makes his way back to the Jets. Just last season, it seemed like a sure thing that the Bruins and Jarome Iginla would find a way to overcome the looming cap crunch and keep the 30-goal-scorer in Boston past his one-year contract. Any optimism there faded when it became clear that Iginla could not in good conscience go year-to-year on one-year deals with bonuses, as he instead opted for the security of a traditional deal with the Avalanche for three years and $16 million.
In both cases, the teams enjoyed the player’s contributions while knowing a potential departure could be looming. Milan Lucic, as knowledgable a Patriots fan as any and a now former linemate of Iginla, can see the similarities between the unfortunate departures.
“You’re definitely thinking and you’re definitely hoping that at the end of the day, something would work out for both parties and they would remain together,” Lucic said. “When it falls apart, as a teammate, it’s out of your control and sometimes it can get frustrating, but at the end of the day you understand that it’s a business and you have to move forward with the teammates that you have.
“You definitely miss [Iginla] for what he brought to the team and what he brought to this dressing room and who he was as a person and as a player, but at the end of the day you have to move on and do what’s best for the team and help the team win.”
There are obvious differences between the two situations, most notably that it was the initial signing of Iginla that made him so difficult to retain. The B’s used the bonus cushion that teams can use with 35-and-over players, paying him a $1.8 million salary (which stood as his cap hit) but giving him $4.2 million in easily attained bonuses. The bonus money applied to this year’s cap in the form of an overage penalty, giving the Bruins no flexibility.
As for Revis, Lucic said it’s impossible to fault a player for taking the best deal, even if it’s a blow for the team Lucic rooted for in the Super Bowl over his hometown(ish) Seahawks.
“You would have liked to see him stay, especially as a fan of the Patriots,” Lucic said. “What he was able to bring to the defensive game of that team ‘ I think it was [Devin] McCourty that said it: That defense was able to do so much more because he was able to shut down the guy, the top receiver, to two-to-three receptions a game versus [the] eight-to-nine that they usually get.
“You would have loved to have seen them maybe pick up that option and have him for another year, but at the end of the day, how could you blame the guy? The guy got 70 million bucks over four years, so it’s hard for him to say no to something like that, and obviously having 40 million guaranteed on top of that. At the end of the day, he came here and helped the team win the Super Bowl, so as a fan you’re thankful for what he brought to the team, but on the other end you wish that he could have spent some more time and maybe brought another championship here.”
Neither the Bruins nor Iginla have benefited on the ice from their parting. The B’s tried multiple experiments trying to replace him before settling on 18-year-old Pastrnak, who while promising for future seasons can’t be seen as a sure thing in the Stanley Cup playoffs next month. Iginla’s goals per game are down in Colorado, where he is on pace for 26 goals as the Avalanche sit 11th in the Western Conference.