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Retired teammate: Iginla’s ‘compete level’ has waned

Feb 13, 2013, 9:04 AM EDT

Jarome Iginla Getty Images

With six points in 10 games, it’s hard to say that 35-year-old forward Jarome Iginla is off to a terrible start, but he certainly isn’t living up to the high standards he’s set for himself. The Calgary Flames captain has just one goal this season after surpassing the 30-goal mark in each of his last 11 campaigns.

If you think this might be something more troubling than an early season slump, then you’re not alone. His former teammate Rhett Warrener, who has hanged up his skates and is now a radio host, offered a harsh assessment of Iginla on the FAN 960.

“His greatest asset was his shot but more importantly his compete-level — his refuse-to-lose attitude — and now you are watching and … it’s not there,” said Warrener, based on the Calgary Sun’s transcript.

“He’s not Dany Heatley-slow, but he’s not getting there. I don’t know if he’s slowed down and his compete level has followed, but you don’t see that compete and fire in his eye now. I think you see frustration setting in.

“As a captain, he’s not a rah-rah guy or ‘let’s talk it out’ — it’s ‘Watch me, and hop on my back, and follow me.’ I haven’t seen that at all this year.”

Warrener went on to say that Iginla hasn’t been noticeable this season.

Iginla is in the final season of his five-year, $35,000,000 contract and Warrener thinks finding fair value for him going forward might be tricky.

“Does he want $7.5 million?” Warrener asked. “Because I don’t think they can pay him that. My opinion is he can’t be a shut-down player. Even if he takes $4 million, where are you playing him? He wants to be a top scorer, and that’s what’s driven him. Maybe I’m out to lunch, but I don’t believe he’d want to spend his last years here as a checker.”

Warrener spent four seasons on the Calgary Flames and the former defenseman is a veteran of 714 career NHL games.

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