The Jarome Iginla Trade That Never Was
I remember the night vividly, the Boston Bruins had just lost a heartbreaker to the Montreal Canadiens on March 27th, and the evidence was mounting that the Bruins has acquired Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames. Finally TSN analyst and former Bruin Aaron Ward broke the news. Iginla was a Boston Bruin in exchange for Alexander Khokhlachev, Matt Bartkowski, and a 1st round pick. We Boston fans rejoiced the news, a guy like Iggy would be such an incredible fit for Boston. He has been a Bruins type player his whole career. Hell, I even wrote an article at 1:00 A.M. saying all those things, and then it happened…
Iginla instead went to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was his choice to go to the Pens, and after a conversation with Sidney Crosby (illegal tampering), he exercised his no trade clause to do so. Pittsburgh had stole Iggy right out from under us just like they did with Brendan Morrow earlier in the month.
This was a slap in the face to every Bruins fan who has wanted Jarome Iginla for years. I remember deleting the article I had written in frustration, and then just sitting quietly with my thoughts. It hurt bad knowing he chose to go somewhere else, and that he probably did so because he didn’t see Boston as his best chance for a Stanley Cup. I was admittedly defeated in that moment. I just couldn’t see any team beating this ridiculously loaded Penguins team. I felt that way up until about a week ago.
When I look back on that moment I realize how much better off the Bruins are for getting to keep Bartkowski. Sure he isn’t in the lineup right this second, but he was incredibly valuable to the Bruins during the latter stages of the Toronto series, and the entire New York series. Bart added a goal, an assist, and a -1 while averaging 19:46 per game for Boston. His level of play probably had the Flames’ fans, and front office resenting Iginla for shutting down the trade with the B’s.
Iginla has been a standup guy throughout his entire career. Yeah he screwed Boston in a big way, but he certainly earned the right to exercise his no trade option. I know Bruins fans don’t want to hear it, but it is the truth. At the time he probably did make the right choice. The Bruins were reeling badly around the time the talks for him began. I dare say he might’ve come to Boston had they been playing better.
Iginla also seemed reignited with the Pens putting up 5 goals, 6 assists, and a +2 in 13 games during the regular season. He continued his solid play into the postseason with 4 goals, 8 assists, and an even rating heading into the series with Boston. Since the series has begun though, he become completely invisible. He is a -3 in the series’ first three games with only 4 shots on goal. For a guy who came to Pittsburgh because he felt they had the best chance to win, he has surely got to be thinking to himself that he made a poor decision.
The Bruins have a 3-0 series lead against Iginla and the Penguins. This is the same Boston team Iginla spurned because he didn’t think they had a shot at winning another Stanley Cup. To me, that is pretty awesome.
Instead the Bruins went out and got Jaromir Jagr. Jags has had a significant impact on the Bruins in a variety of ways during both the regular and postseason periods. Sure his offense is a tad down in the playoffs so far, but his desire to win has improved greatly from his careless younger days. His play against Evgeni Malkin in double overtime of game 3 along the boards is a perfect example of this. Jagr of old would have gave up on the play, but this is not Jagr of old anymore. This is a veteran presence who has been a great influence on many Bruins players, and his presence alone adds plenty to the Bruins’ attack. I don’t think there is even a remote chance Iginla would have had the same impact on Boston that Jagr did.
Jags has 3 assists, and a +3 in the series against the Pens. Further prove that the Bruins were fortunate to get Jagr, and fortunate the Iginla trade never came to be.
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