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It’s never too early to fire up the “Should Calgary Trade Iginla?” debate

Nov 2, 2011, 6:30 PM EDT

Jarome Iginla AP

At 4-5-1, the Calgary Flames have started yet another season in mediocre fashion. (Stop us if you’ve heard this before.) They’re not terrible, but they’re not great. They won’t lose to the bad teams, but won’t beat the good ones.

Nowhere was this more evident than last night at the Saddledome, where the defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks came in and whipped the Flames 5-1 — a loss that got Sportsnet columnist Mark Spector thinking about the future of Jarome Iginla.

“Calgary is in 14th place in the West, which isn’t a big deal this early in the season,” Spector writes. “But they are a slow-footed team in an ever-quickening league. If [GM Jay] Feaster is going to hang on to Iginla, Kiprusoff, Giordano, plus his draft picks and decent prospects, we challenge you to look down Calgary’s roster for names that could return valuable pieces to Feaster’s project.”

The what-to-do-with-Jarome discussion is now an annual rite of passage in Calgary. The Flames haven’t made the playoffs since 2009 and some believe that without a full-scale rebuild (which almost certainly involves trading Iginla), they won’t be back anytime soon.

But having the conversation 10 games into the season? Even by Calgarian standards, that’s pretty early.

Not that it’s without reason. Feaster’s coming up on the one-year anniversary of taking Calgary’s GM gig. When people look back at his first year on the job, they’ll see a guy whose biggest additions to a non-playoff team were Chris Butler and Scott Hannan. In short, someone that’s not about making big changes.

Which bring us to Spector’s big point — at age 34, the last thing Iginla needs is a stubborn GM. If Feaster gets bull-headed (or, even more bull-headed) about retaining his veteran core, Iggy could miss out on a variety of opportunities: Moving to a contender, playing in a big market, linking up with one of his many former Team Canada teammates. Not that he’s explicitly expressed a desire to do so — you’d just think he’d like to have the option made available (before he’s too old to capitalize on it).

Last year, the Iginla-to-L.A. rumors were all over the place. This year, you’d have to think at least a couple of other suitors are in the mix.

  1. babar61 - Nov 2, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Please yes. I hate the flames more then any other team and Iginla deserves better. Also, they do need to rebuild and by the time they are a good team again he will be a lot older. If a good deal comes along then take it. Hey, did you catch Calgary booing the flames last night?

  2. danphipps01 - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    First thing that needs to be said, as usual in this debate, is that Iggy is Captain Calgary. He’s the Flames’ own Ryan Smyth. He was raised there, he was drafted there and given the choice he’ll end a Cupless career there out of loyalty to his home town.

    With that said, he’s also on record as being willing to go if it’s better for the team, and at this point you have to think selling him high would be in their best interests. He’d go for some big chips, I imagine, and a lot of contenders would love a guy like him. Hell, if Vancouver could fanagle a deal for him I’d be ecstatic – finally, someone to do the ever-son-necessary job of telling the other players to quit diving and play clean who they’d ACTUALLY LISTEN TO.

    As for serious candidates, though… hoy. Hard to say. Feaster’s strange. You can’t really tell who specifically he wants to get. I’m making an early call that he’ll offer Bourque and Stajan as a package for Turris (give up something good, free them of Stajan’s useless salary, get someone he hopes could still turn out big, etc.), but aside from that I have no idea who Feaster would make offers for. The rights to Shea Weber, maybe? Then again, everyone with the cap space will be going for him…

  3. babar61 - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Iginla was not raised in calgary and grew idolizing Grant Fuhr/ edmonton oilers…he was also drafted by the Dallas Stars.

    • danphipps01 - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:30 PM

      Quite correct, my error.

  4. icelovinbrotha215 - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Iggy. He would look good playing for Edmonton.

  5. hjworton46 - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    34 years old. Questionable status on back spams. Slow start to the season. There will come a time, and I believe it’s quite close now, when Calgary have to deal him for the future good of the club, and that has to be while he’s still worth a lot. Wether Feaster et al admit that to themselves is another matter.

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