Lacing Up: Ig-in-la Or Ig-out-la?
Name: Jarome Iginla
Status: Unrestricted free agent beginning July 5
Expiring Contract: Five years, $7 million cap hit
The Scoop: Just three months ago, the idea of Iginla wearing the black and gold seemed like a pipe dream that would never happen. But with a little Ray Shero magic, a lot of Pittsburgh charm, and some Iggy-love, the future Hall-of-Famer nixed a trade to Boston and forced a trade to Pittsburgh. Now, without a Stanley Cup ring, Iginla could be looking at playing for a third team in a six-month span after spending his entire career with the Flames.
Matt Paul: There’s a lot of chatter among Penguin fans that Iginla wasn’t that impressive during his stint with the Penguins, and while his stats weren’t Hall-of-Fame worthy, they were far from bad.
The problem, I think, is that many expected a 35-year-old Iginla to play like the 25-year-old Iginla many remember. That just wasn’t likely. But that’s not to say his presence wasn’t felt. I personally liked what I saw of him and felt his addition caused opponents to be a bit more honest when defending the second line.
But was his performance worth what it could cost to retain him?
Joshua Neal: I think that you could make strong arguments either way. I don’t think there is a doubt that Iginla was used improperly, though, throughout his time as a Penguin. He was fantastic at the point on the power play during the regular season, but when the playoffs rolled around that setup went by the wayside. The debate over whether he should play right or left wing went all the way up until the Penguins’ exit.
But I think the troubling thing for Iginla (and Morrow) is that while they were brought in to be vocal, physical leaders by example, they seemed more pleased to be a part of the team. As Mark Madden said (and it’s not often I agree with him), when Bill Guerin arrived in Pittsburgh, he took over the locker room. I feel like Morrow and Iginla were just happy to be there along with the Penguins.
That being said, if we can get Iginla cheap, I think it’s worth a short-term deal – provided that we get to see Sidney Crosby centering Beau Bennett and Jarome Iginla next year. Your thoughts, Matt?
Matt: That’s an interesting observation, and one I agree with. But we have to consider the locker room in 2009 as compared to the locker room in 2013. In 2009, the Penguins hadn’t yet won a Cup and Crosby and Malkin were captain and alternate captain by name, but I feel their leadership and experience were lacking.
Fast forward to 2013, and the team has a Cup, the players have been through a lot (injuries, playoff defeats, etc), and veterans stepping in and taking control could cause a quick and strong rift among the ranks. Personally, I expected these guys to come in, lead by example, and offer advice when needed. I think that happened.
My opinion is that Iginla is an either-or situation with Dupuis. Both are right wingers, both are going to make in the $3-$5 million range, and both are on the wrong side of 30. If Dupuis re-signs, Iginla is gone. If Dupuis flees, Iginla is retained.
Josh: And Iginla is realistic enough to accept a pay cut, while I think Dupuis understands he actually deserves a raise. But I agree that the priority lies with Dupuis over Iginla. Dupuis likely has a bit more gas in the tank because he hasn’t had as many “hard miles” as Iginla, but Jarome Iginla is a future Hall of Famer who still has some skill and may benefit from an offseason of learning the system.
It all ties to the value of the contract the Penguins offer Dupuis.
Matt: Iginla’s rights are traded to a potential suitor soon after Dupuis re-signs
Josh: Dupuis re-signs, Iginla enters free agency and makes a better payday than the Penguins could have offered anyway