It’s early into the season, but the Jarome Iginla trade rumours are spreading around the league like a high school washroom. Anytime you have an aging superstar playing on a team that is struggling and heading towards another year of being out of the playoffs these rumours will continue to pop up.
So far Iginla has said all the right things to the media about not wanting to be traded and that he still thinks the Flames can find a way to get to the playoffs this year (try saying that last part without laughing). As captain, Iginla has to say these things as he can't be tossing in the towel already, or admit that he would like to play elsewhere on a team that can be a Stanley Cup contender. You can't help but think that these thoughts are keeping Iggy up at night, and there's nothing Vicks Nyquil can do for that.
The Flames are in a tough position because Iginla is the heart and soul of the Flames. He is the face of the team and to trade him away is to admit to your fanbase that the season is over. It might hurt ticket sales with nobody wanting to watch a stinker, and Iginla jerseys and merchandise might take a Dion Phaneuf hit as well, but they need a shakeup. I can't see too many fans buying a Jay Bouwmeester jersey this Christmas.
Trading Iginla would set the wheels in motion for a rebuild and would actually give the Flames an identity as a team not competing for the playoffs, but a team ready to rebuild. It's a lot easier losing when you are expected to and fans will have early first round picks to get excited for (as long as they hang on to their picks and draft properly). Losing is a lot easier to take when you can play the "where will our draft pick be" game #FailForNail.
Iginla won't admit it to the press, but if he could be traded to a playoff team and have a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup he would love the change of scenery. He cares deeply for the Flames and the fans would understand that him being moved could bring in a solid draft pick and younger players - think of the Oilers and Ryan Smyth. Iggy would tear up and be emotional, but both parties would benefit from a trade. Just like how he became part of the Flames when they sent away veteran Joe Nieuwendyk to the surging Dallas Stars for Iginla. It would almost be like completing the cycle.
I am sure they don't want to end up with the mess the Maple Leafs had a few years ago with Mats Sundin. The captain and face of the franchise at the time refused to lift his No Trade Clause and said he didn't want to play anywhere else, but ended up signing as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks and left the Maple Leafs with nothing in return.
The Calgary Flames need a solid return from Iginla and the longer they wait on dealing him the less they will get. At 34, and showing signs of decline this season, some NHL GM's might not be willing to offer up as much as they did last year. With only 12 points in 23 games so far this season, the Flames should try and move Iginla and make up their mind as to what direction they want the franchise to be heading.