Jarome Iginla: The End Of An Era In Calgary
By Ryan Holmer (@ProspectReport)
Talk about a confusing night. I shut off my computer, and phone at 1:00 am on Wednesday, March 27th with the thought that Iginla to the Bruins was essentially completed. Conflicting reports had been surfacing all night on the Twitter-verse, but general consensus was that Iginla was indeed going to Boston. When I woke up this morning, I was a bit surprised by messages flooding my inbox, and the front-page of TSN. Jarome Iginla was not traded to Boston, and was in fact traded to the powerhouse, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In return for the Flames’ captain and Franchise leader in virtually everything, the Calgary Flames receive a 1st round pick in 2013, Prospect Ben Hanowski and Kenneth Agostino. The package at first glance, and maybe even second – is hardly enough for the Flames’ icon, who’s dedicated his entire career to a team that has never really given that #1 centre to play with. However, when you consider the fact that Iginla is a pure rental, and may indeed sign with Calgary in the summer (provided he wins the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh), the deal looks pretty fair.
Picture Courtesy of Getty Images
Before I got into the trade, I’m going to take a look back at Iginla’s career as a Calgary Flame, and everything he’s done for the franchise…
On December 19th, 1995 – the Calgary Flames made a splash. They traded Joe Nieuwendyk to the Dallas Stars for Corey Millen and this young player named Jarome Iginla. Iginla was drafted 11th overall in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, and had not played in an NHL game yet. He made his debut for the Flames in the 1995-96′ playoffs. In his first two games, and only games that season – he put up two points (1 goal, and 1 assist). Flame’s fans were excited for what this youngster had to offer, but at the time were still disappointed at the loss of Joe Nieuwendyk. No one knew that Iginla would become the franchise leader in virtually every category, lead, and carry the team I might add, for the next 15 seasons, and be one of the most prolific goal scorers in the National Hockey League.
Iginla had two 50-goal season for Calgary, and three seasons where he recorded more than 90 points. He’s currently riding 11 seasons with 30+ goals, a feat that is extremely hard to accomplish. He’s won the Rocket Richard, two Olympic Gold Medals, the Art Ross, the King Clancy Award, the Mark Messier Award and several others. He’s regarded as most by one of the best captains ever to play, and one of the most genuine, classiest players that you will ever meet.
Some say he never did what other great players have done, win a Stanley Cup for his team. I counter with the fact that he never had anyone to really play with. His shoulders are wide, and there’s no wonder he wins the Flames annual Iron Man every year – he carries Calgary every year. Pittsburgh will be the first time that he will actually be able to play with elite players, and I’m looking forward to the day that Iginla hoists the Stanley Cup.
Here is a video that I found, courtesy of Youtube. It’s a Jarome Iginla tribute, which does a very good job showcasing what he has to offer, and what a player he is.
Jarome Iginla will be missed in Calgary, as he was the face of the franchise, an icon in Calgary, highly regarded in the community, and their leader.
Now to analyze the trade.
Ben Hanowski and Kenneth Agostino are not household names, as they play in the NCAA, and many fans are not familiar with players in that league.
Hanowksi was drafted in the 3rd round, 63rd overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He’s a big-bodied(6’2″, 200 lbs) goal scorer, whom is gifted offensively. His has good vision, and plays well defensively. His combination of size and skill is something that Calgary hasn’t had for a while. He has until August 15th to sign with Calgary, and is likely to get a chance playing in the NHL. You’ll have conflicting reports about him, as soon say he’s ready for the jump to the NHL, and others are skeptical. I’ve watched Hanowski a lot, and feels he’s underrated. He’s by no stretch an A-level prospect, but an underrated one.
Agostino is hard-working and has strong skating ability. His compete level is what attracts most scouts to him, and while his offensive numbers haven’t been up to par, he has good potential to be a solid two-way forward for Calgary. He has a chance of turning pro next season, he is likely to finish out his NCAA career.
The 1st round pick is where the money is. With a deep draft coming up, Calgary and Feaster – whom has a terrible draft record, will need to have a perfect draft. Considering the Penguins pick will likely be in the 27-30 range, there is still a possibility that Calgary will draft a good player. With two 1st round picks, and presumably more – Calgary is certainly heading in the right direction.