The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching, and teams are in tense negotiations for new players amid the ticking clock of April 3. NHL insiders expect this year’s deadline and the final week leading up to the date will be more game changing compared to last year’s relatively timid event. Big name and franchise players are rumoured to be up for grabs this season, which could give teams fighting for a playoff spot that extra push in the final weeks of the season.
One of the biggest names in trade rumours is Jarome Iginla, longtime captain of the Calgary Flames. The western team hasn’t made the playoffs in the last three seasons, and insiders close to the team believe the lacklustre performance is due to the aging roster. Sports bettors predict the Flames management will make room for younger players to rebuild the team by shipping out the veterans.
Iginla is the face of the Calgary Flames franchise, and his departure from the team would be as notable as the departure of Mats Sundin from the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008 when he signed with the Vancouver Canucks. According to CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada analyst Elliotte Friedman, Vancouver is also one of the teams Iginla says he is willing to accept being traded to, along with the Los Angeles Kings – which would reunite the star with his former Flames head coach Darryl Sutter – the Chicago Blackhawks, the Boston Bruins, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Iginla is one of the most prominent players in the NHL, holding franchise goals and points records with the Calgary Flames, and also an Olympic Gold Medal when he competed with Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics. However, the Stanley Cup remains an elusive trophy for the 35 year old star, who came closest to winning the Cup during the 2003-2004 season when he lead the Flames to the Finals, only to lose in the last game against Tampa Bay.
Given his stature with the Flames organization, Iginla has leverage to decide which teams he would accept a trade to depart his longtime home team. Coincidentally, all five teams Iginla is willing to accept a trade towards have either won or qualified to compete for the Stanley Cup in the last five years. NHL fans and insiders bet these teams will all qualify for the playoffs this year, and Iginla appears ready to take the gamble on leaving Calgary for the chance to capture the most cherished prize of any hockey player.