Best Fits for Jarome Iginla

In the past 20 years, Jarome Iginla has made his mark on the NHL as one of the best goal scorers to ever lace them up. He has potted 618 goals during his Hall of Fame career, which ranks 16th all-time. He is widely respected by his peers, has won numerous leadership awards, and would be a valuable asset to any team.

The only thing missing from his resume is a Stanley Cup, and he came ever so close in 2004 when the Calgary Flames lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now nearing the end of his journey, he is currently a member of the Colorado Avalanche, who are sitting in last place in the league by a fairly large margin. With only so many opportunities left, it is time for Iginla to chase the dream of hoisting the most prestigious trophy in hockey. With the trade deadline approaching, and the Avalanche looking to rebuild, Jarome’s no-movement clause will grant him a voice in where he ends up. These are the best-fit teams for which he should wave his no movement clause and chase a championship.

Los Angeles Kings

The only time Jarome Iginla participated in the Stanley Cup Final was under head coach Darryl Sutter, who now coaches the Los Angeles Kings. The pair know one another very well, and Iginla’s playing style would fit well within the King’s game plan. The team is very physical, hard on the puck, and slowly wears opponents out. It’s a style that may not be as potent during the regular season, but fares very well in the seven-game series environment of the playoffs.

The biggest thing the black and silver are missing is goal scoring. Their two leading scorers, Jeff Carter (29 goals) and Tanner Pearson (16 goals) together account for almost 33 percent of LA’s goals, with no other player on the roster having double-digit goals. They would strongly benefit from an addition like Iginla, whose historical ability to put the puck in the net would complement the Kings’ playmakers.

Florida Panthers

Although as of today the Florida Panthers are out of the playoffs, they are for the first time all season fully healthy, and are still very much in contention.

Last year the Panthers were firing on all cylinders, but have significantly slowed down this year. They lack forward depth on the wing and scoring help, two things to which Iginla would address. Before this season, the 39-year-old scored 81 goals in 242 games, and would be the perfect complementary winger to Florida’s great passing centremen, including Vincent Trocheck, Jon Marchessault, and Nick Bjugstad. Florida has also successfully experimented with mixing young and older players, as Jaromir Jagr continues to be an impact player at the age of 44, playing alongside youngsters Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, and 12-year veteran Jussi Jokinen last year had one of his best seasons of his career. Jarome Iginla could also offer another veteran voice in the dressing room to teach the young core in Florida.

New York Rangers

The Rangers are experiencing an impressive season after last year’s first round playoff exit, ranking 3rd in goals for and 7th for fewest goals against. However, in recent years when the playoffs come, New York’s offence has gone south, averaging over 2.3 goals just once in the past six years. A perfect example was last year, when the Pittsburg Penguins kept them under three goals in four of five games. Jarome Iginla could be the goal scorer the Rangers need come spring. He has 37 career goals in 81 postseason games.

New York plays a high tempo style and the veteran can easily fit in. Two of his past three teams – Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins – have played with similar pace, and Iginla, despite his age, did not miss a beat. In his one year with the Boston Bruins four years ago, he was on a line with All-Stars Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, and scored 30 goals during the season and added five more in 12 playoff games. You simply cannot teach players to put the puck in the net like Iginla can.

Jarome Iginla’s current contract finishes at the end of this season, and there isn’t any news as to whether or not the 1995 11th overall pick will return for another year. If this is his last rodeo, there wouldn’t be any better finish than riding off into the sunset with a Stanley Cup. Only a few athletes have experienced this, and Iginla needs to be traded in order for this to become a possibility.

via Last Word on Hockey, by Jake Howorth

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