If the Devils could put together a decent package for the veteran scorer, Iginla coming to New Jersey at the trade deadline could be the offensive boost they need to make another run at the Stanley Cup.
The Flames are not ready to give up on the season — and rightfully so. With their long-time ace goaltender returning to the lineup from injury, they’re still in contention as they flirt with the .500 mark in a loaded Western Conference.
The offense is clicking, and the Flames can certainly make a run towards the playoffs. As long as the Flames are in the playoff hunt, holding onto Iginla, their captain and one of their best forwards, makes sense.
If the season does begin to slip away, however, talk of Iginla being on the trading block will start to gain momentum again. If the Flames are looking to rebuild after several mediocre seasons with an aging group of veterans and a few missing pieces, Iginla is their most promising trade bait. Every team in the NHL could use a scorer of Iginla’s character and ability, and that includes the Devils.
The Devils lack scoring depth in their top six after failing to replace Zach Parise this off-season, and a rotation of players in the top two lines proved ineffective during a stretch where New Jersey lost nine of ten games.
Putting Iginla on either top-six line would give the Devils stability and legitimate depth that they desperately need. In addition to his on-ice talents, Iginla’s veteran leadership presence would also help replace their former captain.
The Devils have several prospects that could go into a deal for Iginla. Stefan Matteau has seen quality minutes in the NHL and performed relatively well. Last year’s first-round pick is ready to contribute and could have a long and successful career.
Additionally, the Devils have too many defensemen as it is, and could afford to part with a young blue liner like Mark Fayne, or a proven talent like Andy Greene — particularly with the AHL talent that should be NHL-ready soon.
Jacob Josefson has struggled this year in New Jersey, who are suddenly too deep to find a role for him in the NHL. A change of scenery could do Josefson good, and open up playing time for him in the NHL. Steve Bernier has emerged as a solid forward, and could round out a multi-player deal for Iginla with a few draft picks.
My proposal, if and when the Flames are ready to give up the season, would be a multi-player deal to rent the 35-year-old Iginla for a stretch run with the Devils.
New Jersey would send Matteau, along with Josefson, Fayne and Bernier, with two high draft picks over the next two years to the Flames for Iginla, and the leadership and scoring the Devils need to make a deep playoff run.
Given the package the New York Rangers gave up to land Rick Nash, an elite scorer that had years left on his contract, the market price for an aging scorer with a few months left on his deal has to be relatively low. Iginla could be a great fit in the Devils’ system, and his price should be reasonable once the Flames have nothing to play for — provided, of course, that Jarome Iginla is willing to move.