Sunday, March 10, 2013

Since the Flames Are in Town…

The Flames currently sit 5 points out of the last playoff spot in the West with one game to go before their season is half over. They have flirted with but missed the playoffs three consecutive seasons and they haven't been past the first round since their unlikely trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, in fact the only time they have gotten into the second round since they won the Cup in 1989.

The odds of Calgary turning things around this season and making the playoffs are pretty slim. Even if they do, they would just be first round fodder for a better team. Last night we saw the difference between a contender (the Kings) and Calgary. And it wasn't pretty for the Flames.

Which brings me to my ultimate point, what becomes of Jarome Iginla? The leadership in Calgary is going to have to finally acknowledge that it's time to blow this thing up and rebuild. Will they ask him to waive his no-movement clause and allow them to trade him to a contender before he departs for nothing as a UFA in July?

And most importantly, is there any chance the Kings could acquire Iggy?

Let me start out by saying, that with the salary cap dropping next season and then further in 2015, there is little chance the Kings can have Iginla as anything but a rental. He is making $7 million this season which fits under the cap for L.A. but going forward they have already committed $48 million to 12 players for 2014 and have only $15 million cap space with the following players becoming free agents this summer:
  • Voynov (RFA) will get a raise from his current $816k
  • Penner (UFA) probably gets cut loose, clearing $3.25M in cap space
  • Bernier (RFA): I have no idea if the Kings will re-sign him, trade him, or what but if they re-sign him he probably gets a raise from his $1.25M salary, though I doubt it's a big one
  • Clifford (RFA) will will get a raise from his current $870k
  • Lewis (RFA) will get a raise from his current $725
  • Nolan (RFA) will get a raise from his current $531k
  • Scuderi (UFA) might stick around for the same $3.4M pricetag
  • Martinez (RFA) will get a raise from his current $737.5k
  • Ellerby (RFA) probably gets cut loose, clearing only $700k
  • Drewiske (UFA) probably gets cut loose, clearing only $617k
  • Muzzin (RFA) will get a raise from his current $578
The money the Kings will save by letting Penner go won't be enough to cover the raises Voynov, Clifford, Lewis, Nolan, and Muzzin are due and that's ignoring Bernier for the moment. There might be enough left to give Iginla what he'd want, but one must also consider that Brown is a free agent next summer and will probably get in the neighborhood of $6 million a year. So while it's possible, I want to first consider Iggy as a King for this spring only.

Iginla the Rental
If the Kings acquired him, Iginla would look very good on the top line with Kopitar and Williams. He provides a big body who can lodge himself at the top of the crease and create havoc for opposing goalies. That would be a good one-two punch with Richards, Carter, and Penner on the second line. I'd bump Brown down to the 3rd line with Stoll and Lewis (his lack of production this season warrants a demotion anyway).

Iginla turns 36 this summer but he is still productive, leading the Flames with 19 points in 23 games (7 goals and 12 assists), which would be good enough to tie Jeff Carter for second on the Kings.

He is a likely Hall of Famer who has won Olympic gold twice but has yet to drink from the Cup. An older, well-respected player, Iginla is he kind of guy people around the game would like to see get another shot at the Cup. It's not going to happen in Calgary, but with the defending champs he would have pretty much his best chance.

What would the Kings have to give up?
My guess is that Calgary would want an NHL-ready player, a prospect, and a pick. If I'm the Kings I'd offer up Keaton Ellerby (and probably get rejected and have to up the offer to Alec Martinez), one of Tanner Pearson, Linden Vey, or Brandon Kozun, and the 2014 2nd round pick (1st if we win the Cup this year). The Flames would have to consider that proposal. If I'm the Kings I'm okay giving up all of that package because we can't use all those players in the organization and they are going to have to be moved at some point, so why not now when it gives us a great chance to repeat? The reason Lombardi acquired so many picks and prospects was to use them to make the team better, whether that meant as players in Los Angeles or as pieces to trade.

Is that too much for a rental?
Not if the Kings win the Stanley Cup again! And Jarome Iginla, even at 35, gives the Kings an even better chance than they already have, and the truth is they already have a very good chance!

Iginla Long-Term
What if the Kings could sign Iginla to a two-three year extension at a reasonable price, say $4 million a year? Where would he fit?

Assuming that Stoll and Williams are bought out as amnesty buy-outs this summer, the Kings would save another $6.9 million per season (they are both signed through 2015). I think with the cap going down they will have to be bought out because they will be far too overpaid, neither is getting any younger, and both can be replaced cheaper inside the organization. With Penner also gone, the Kings will need a big body to replace him unless they plan to change their current identity (centerman playing with a big power forward and a sniper) and they don't really have any prospects who fit that mold and are close to NHL-ready. But Iginla fits the mold nicely as a replacement for Penner going forward for two more years.

If they could keep him, they could line up like this going into the 2013-14 season:


I'd be okay with that forward line-up for a couple years!

The fact is that Jarome Iginla is unlikely to remain a Calgary Flame beyond the trade deadline this season. He is going to be moved to a contending team and he is going to be hungry to get another chance to play for the Cup. The Kings have the pieces to trade to acquire him and I'd much rather see him putting his efforts toward helping the Kings win the Stanley Cup than anyone else!

I am all for acquiring Jarome Iginla in a trade similar to the one outlined above. The only prospect I would say is untouchable is Toffoli. Anyone else in Manchester, the Flames are welcome to! I wanna see Iggy raise the Cup for the Kings this June!!

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