Avalanche winger Jarome Iginla wants to be traded to a playoff contender before next month’s trade deadline. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)
Future Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla made the right call three summers ago when he left the Bruins to cash in with the Avalanche.
Now he’s hoping the Avalanche will make the right call on him.
In the final year of a three-year deal signed back in 2014, and with the Avalanche in dead last in the entire NHL with just 13 wins and a minus-72 goal differential in 48 games this year, the 39-year-old wants a trade out of the Rocky Mountains to return to a contender.
“I would like to, at the deadline, go somewhere,” Iginla told Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy blog on Wednesday. “I would like to be in the playoffs. I would hope that there is some opportunity to go and play in the playoffs. Those are the best games, the most fun for sure, and you have a chance to win. So no, I haven’t given up on that chance to win.”
Iginla’s last chance to win it all came with the Presidents’ Trophy winning Bruins in 2014, when he contributed five goals and seven points in 12 games en route to a second-round series loss to the Canadiens. Iginla likely would have remained in town, too, had the Bruins been able to offer a multi-year deal (the Bruins were so tight against the cap that they could only offer Iginla another one-year, bonus-laden contract). The contract length was something of significant importance to Iginla given his age (it was going to be his last big deal and he had already love some money on the tables with a couple of NHL lockouts), as was his desire for stability for his family, which was something he got with the Avs.
But as the Avs prepare their search to find Iginla a new landing spot for the stretch run, you have to wonder if such a search would involve, or at least entertain, the idea of the veteran Iginla reuniting with the Black and Gold for another go.
The Bruins are a playoff team (for the moment, anyways) and sit in third place in the Atlantic Division, but their need for secondary scoring remains a dire one. If Iginla came back to the Bruins, the B’s would have the option to either put him back with Krejci, the center that helped him score 30 goals in 2013-14 and in a corresponding move send David Backes back to the third line and create a potentially dangerous three-line unit, or move Iginla in a complementary scoring/power-play presence on your third line and give Ryan Spooner a physical, scoring threat to his right side, which is something he’s simply never had. No matter the move, it would be one that focuses on giving the Bruins three offensively capable lines that Claude Julien can roll out and keep up with the Penguins, Capitals, and Rangers of the world in a seven-game series come April and May.
But there’s also been some chatter of weighing the need for a scorer versus the need for another top-four defenseman. And it almost goes without saying that the price paid for either one will probably be the biggest factor in any deal made or nixed.
There’s a plus when it comes to hammering out a potential deal with the Avalanche, and it’s with the fact that the Black and Gold have some familiarity with Avalanche GM Joe Sakic this season. And although those talks have focused heavily on Gabriel Landeskog (and/or possibly Matt Duchene), Bruins general manager Don Sweeney likely has an idea as to what the Avalanche are looking for in a trade. He would also not have to pay the premium of trading a Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy if you’re talking about Iginla instead of a player like Duchene or Landeskog. (The Avalanche, by the way, are in massive need for defensive personnel, be it at the NHL level or further down the road.) And with just six goals and 12 points in 48 games this year, Iginla’s stock is probably at an all-time low — at least compared to what it was the last time Iginla was on the trade market back in 2013 when the Bruins’ bid fell short because Iginla wanted to go the Penguins — and that seemingly bodes well for the Bruins.
But the Black and Gold are far from the only team looking for some additional scoring on the wings. The Kings, Penguins, and Blackhawks are just some of the other teams expected to be in the market for a scorer between now and the deadline. (And there’s more.) The plus for the Bruins there is that both the Hawks and Pens are tight against the cap and would probably have to move significant salary to make something major work, and that the Kings have already raided their cupboard a few times.
The other problem: Iginla has a full no-movement clause and might not view the Bruins as a legitimate Cup contender. Which was the problem the last time Iginla hit the trade market, and that was when the Bruins were a lot better than they are now.
The NHL trade deadline is on March 1.