It's the end of an era - Jarome Iginla is probably done in Calgary. The pending UFA has been a member of the Flames' organization since 1996. While his possession numbers over the past few years haven't been stellar, he's still managed to put up 30+ goals every season - and he hasn't missed a game since the 2006-2007 season. Crazy. He's been unable to help them to a Stanley Cup, though - so the Flames seem poised to trade their longest-tenured player in favor of advancing their rebuild.
The Bruins are very close to being an elite team this year - they seem to just lack one or two pieces to push them over the top. And although they haven't made huge splashes at the trade deadline in recent years, a move to bring in Iginla might be exactly what the team needs.
What would the Bruins have to give up? Where would he play? And if, as some claim, he's not seeking to just be a rental but to be re-signed for a couple years at least, who walks this offseason in favor of him?
The Trade: What are we giving up
It's been said that Calgary's demands for a return on Iginla are pretty high - the most recent asking price seems to be a first-round pick, a top prospect, and a secondary prospect. The pick would probably be the least problematic piece to figure out in this trade; the Bruins have shown no problems with trading their own first round picks for significant roster pieces before (see: to Florida for Nathan Horton, to Toronto plus Joe Colborne for Tomas Kaberle).
If Ryan Spooner and Malcolm Subban are the only untouchable prospects, Boston has options for what to send to Calgary. If they're in need of goaltending, UND freshman Zane Gothberg has been playing excellently behind starter Clarke Saunders; through 15 games he's 8-4-3, with a 2.55 GAA and 0.918 sv%. If they want more immediate help in goal, the Bruins might consider moving Niklas Svedberg, who's backstopped his team to a 30-7-2 record and their first playoff berth in four years.
Alex Khokhlachev, Craig Cunningham, Torey Krug, and Lane MacDermid are all higher-end prospects that the Bruins could flip to Calgary. Additionally, if the Dread Pirate Soderberg comes over as anticipated, Jordan Caron could be trade bait as well, as Soderberg should be able to fill his role on that third line. OR the Bruins could trade Soderberg himself. Soderberg's said he wants to come over to North America - who's to say he wouldn't play for Calgary, maybe even preferrably since he'll likely get more ice time immediately upon arrival?
Basically: what the Bruins should be willing to give up, if Calgary's asking price doesn't come down, is a package of something like the 2013 first rounder, Khokhlachev, and Gothberg.
But where's he going to play?
With Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Visualize it for a second. Picture its beauty. Done yet? Okay.
It'd make the current lines look something like:
Lucic - Krejci - Iginla
Marchand - Bergeron - Seguin
Caron - Peverley - Horton
Paille - Campbell - Thornton
No more Pandolfo! Replace Caron with Soderberg when he comes over this year and suddenly that line is Soderberg - Peverley - Horton and we have three lines that don't suck and oh my god rosterbation, someone stop me now please. Soderberg's team is facing regular season champions Skelleftea, who are really good, so hopefully they lose quickly and this all gets figured out.
Next year - what happens?
Iginla has said he doesn't just want to be a rental player - he wants to go to a team that will compete for a Cup over the next few years. There's an obvious solution to this if he comes to Boston, and it unfortunately involves Nathan Horton heading to a different team. Iginla isn't quite the player at 35 that he was when he signed his $7m/year contract at age 30; if the Bruins can convince him to take a slight paycut, then with Andrew Ference's upcoming likely salary reduction, Jay Pandolfo's upcoming exit, and a few other roster moves, this is a thing that could probably work out in the Bruins' favor.
Trading Caron would actually relieve a bit of this pressure as well, both with the cap crunch and the lineup - Caron is a RFA this year, and one who will probably be rendered redundant next season with the return of Chris Kelly and the arrival of Soderberg. The Bruins' 2009 first-rounder is a decent player, and in a different system might have a better chance of improving his game.