Jarome Iginla is probably the best player acquisition made by the Boston Bruins in the past several years. He could very well be the final piece of what is already an amazingly gifted Boston Bruins squad. The Bruins, already known as one of the best defensive teams in the league, allowed only 2.21 goals against per game during the 2012-2013 season. Only the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators boasted better numbers. Unfortunately, as good as the Bruins are defensively, they only managed to net 2.7 goals for per game. They have been without the presence of a pure playmaker since the departure of Marc Savard in 2011. In fact, No Bruin has tallied more than 80 points in a season since Savard in 2009. And, no Bruin has scored more than 40 goals in over a decade.
What Iginla brings to the team is a gritty, Bruins-style right wing, with a prolific scoring touch. By the numbers, he has not scored less than 30 goals, nor less than 65 points, in a non-lockout season, since 1999-2000. Many of these seasons saw point totals higher than 90, including two 50-goal campaigns. He also brings a lifetime scoring percentage of 13.2 which is higher than any Bruin taking more than 2.3 shots per game.
Ultimately, there are many factors playing into the success of a player on a given team at a given time. It is common for a team to acquire a player like Iginla and receive that player with a tremendous degree of over-estimation based on past performance. There is no shortage of this with Iginla and the Bruins. As a result, there are many that use this as a launch to argue that Boston should not expect to see the Jarome Iginla that has been playing in Calgary and Pittsburgh.
Primarily, Iginla should expect to see less minutes per game in Boston as a result of the team’s system. There is also the claim that Iginla is now beginning his inevitable age-associated decline in productivity. This, of course, being the notion that when a player reaches a certain age, he is no longer capable of competing at the level he once did. The primary issue with these claims is that there is no real statistical evidence to substantiate why any of these factors will impact Iginla’s production in Boston.
With respect to his age, and the decline of his production; though there was a slight dip, it was more than likely a result of circumstances not related to his age. An 82-game projection, based on his numbers over the 44 games he played in the 2012-2013 lockout season, has him scoring goals and 61 points. It is more probable that this slip was due to a slow start on a less than dynamic Calgary Flames team during a lockout season. Additionally, he was traded late in the season to Pittsburgh, where he ultimately needed to adjust to playing on his off-wing with a new team, new players, and a new system.
To the concerns raised about his integration into the Boston Bruins system, one must understand that time spent on the ice for a team like Calgary does not equate – in terms of quality – to the time a player will spend on the ice in Boston. Though his total minutes per game may reduce, he no longer has the responsibility of carrying the Calgary Flames offense. Further, his chemistry with Milan Lucic and David Krejci has appeared to occur instantaneously. With 9 points in 4 preseason games, the line looks like it has been playing together for years. As a result, Iginla is already proving to be a productive member of the Bruins with two goals in their
Bruins fans should expect much continued success from Iginla and the Bruins top line. Iginla is a hard-working and motivated player with tremendous work-ethic and personal drive. Despite the volatile offseason shakeup in Boston, and all the tomfoolery surrounding the Iginla-Bruins relationship, there is no reason for anyone to expect Jarome Iginla to have a less than stellar year.