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Are the Red Wings the ‘best fit’ for Jarome Iginla?

Via Paul, the Calgary Sun's Eric Francis wondered what might happen with one soon-to-be-36-year-old Jarome Iginla if the unrestricted free agent chooses to a) not return to Pittsburgh and b) take half of the $7 million he earned this past season (okay, it was 48 games' worth of $7 million, but still) to make his cap hit more palatable to contending teams.

While most pundits believe that Iginla will either remain with Pittsburgh at a stiff discount, try to latch on with former coach Darryl Sutter in LA, or perhaps explore the option of signing with the cap-strapped team that was #3 on his 3-team, "I will accept a trade to here, here and here" list before the Bruins-thought-they-got-him-but-the-Peguins-did bizarro land trade fandango went down...

The Vancouver Province's Ben Kuzma believes that Iginla should remain in the Eastern Conference...By signing with the Detroit Red Wings:

IGGY SHOULD WING IT: Jarome Iginla wants to re-sign with Pittsburgh — or should we say repay the Penguins’ trade-deadline persistence — even though the once-dominant right winger went pointless in the Eastern Conference final series with just five shots and a minus-4 rating. Even though he looked so slow he ended up on the third line and on the left side. Ray Shero has pumped Iginla’s tires and the Penguins general manager believes the dozen points (4-8) in 11 playoff games that Iginla compiled before the Bruins mauling is a better barometer of what’s left in the tank of a player who turns 36 on July 1 and whose expiring $7 million US contract will have to at least be chopped in half to warrant roster consideration in Pittsburgh or anywhere else. And Shero has more pressing problems in an expected showdown with Penguins chairman Mario Lemieux over the fate of coach Dan Bylsma, contract extensions for Evgeni Malkin and Chris Letang, 10 free agents and who’s his starting goaltender.

Iginla in the right frame of mind and in the right place may still bring out the best in the former Calgary captain. And he need look no further than former Flames teammate Todd Bertuzzi. It was taking a 50 per cent pay cut that made Bertuzzi 50 per cent better with the Detroit Red Wings. Coach Mike Babcock got Bertuzzi to play a 200-foot game and extend his career before mounting injuries limited the winger to seven regular season and six playoff games this season. The 38-year-old Bertuzzi could be a compliance buyout because Justin Abdelkader has filled in admirably and with another often-injured right winger in Mikael Samuelsson, 36, there is something in re-uniting the Olympic coach Babcock and Iginla. At his best, nobody questioned Iginla’s compete level but it became a constant query in Calgary. Did Iggy get too comfortable there? Perhaps. Can Babcock re-ignite the fire of desire? Probably.

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Comments

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Pass.  We have two old, slow complementary wingers in Bertuzzi and Samuelsson—and with Cleary we’re on our way to a third.  I’d rather keep Cleary, who at least remains useful in a grinding role, on a cheap contract than overpay for Iginla.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/10/13 at 11:54 AM ET

Primis's avatar

For $3m, $3.5m/yr?  I’d consider it and likely bite.

Beyond that though… there are younger options.  Iginla’s game and body is on the downswing and he’s probably still going to want (and be able to get) $4.5m or $5m easy.

Kuzma makes the absolute best article AGAINST it though, in the name of “Todd Bertuzzi”.  That’s the way Iginla’s game is falling off.  Last thing DET needs is Bertuzzi AND Iginla both out there…

Posted by Primis on 06/10/13 at 11:56 AM ET

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For the right price and length of contract. Sure.

Contract length bothers me more with him. I don’t want to see the Wings in on a bidding war on this one.

Posted by lancer on 06/10/13 at 12:13 PM ET

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I’d rather keep Cleary, who at least remains useful in a grinding role, on a cheap contract than overpay for Iginla.

You realize that the proposal being put forward is Iggy for $3.5M, right?  Which is half a mill over what Cleary made this year?  I would take Iggy ten times out of ten over.

Having said that, I was just arguing Iginla vs Cleary.  I’d rather get someone younger than Iginla who isn’t already on the downslope of his career and who might be around for more than just a couple years.

That’s the way Iginla’s game is falling off.

Is it?  Iginla may be falling off, but last year he still scored 32 goals on a line centred by Matt Stajan (I think).

However, if Detroit were to sign Iginla I have to say it would feel like a consolation prize to me.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 12:19 PM ET

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That’s the way Iginla’s game is falling off.  Last thing DET needs is Bertuzzi AND Iginla both out there…

Bert’s game hasn’t fallen off at all over the past three years.  He, like Sammy, was just hurt for pretty much all of this season.  Heck, it’s not terribly hard to make the case Bert’s 11-12 season was his best as a Wing.  It was certainly his most complete year as far as playing both sides of the ice well, and he was very similarly productive offensively to his first two.

Iginla’s, however, most definitely has.  Anyone who has even the most slender of concerns about Franzen’s deal cannot consider Iginla at even just half of his old 7 mil number without being fairly inconsistent.

As in pretty much every case there’s a cap number I’d be fine bringing a guy in at.  In Iginla’s case if he’d be willing to sign for, say, 2.5ish a year for 2 years I’d see what adjustments could be made to the roster to make it happen.  What we’d be talking about there is essentially moving Iginla into Cleary’s old middle 6 spot then likely bumping Cleary down to Emmerton’s old bottom line spot.  And then dumping Emmerton.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/10/13 at 12:23 PM ET

detroitredwings's avatar

Didn’t he scratched DET as his possible trade destination?

Posted by detroitredwings on 06/10/13 at 12:31 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Is it?  Iginla may be falling off, but last year he still scored 32 goals on a line centred by Matt Stajan (I think).

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 01:19 PM ET

Power forwards almost always see things fall fast.  Their style of game pretty much dictates it as such.

You could see it this season.  He’s starting to slip.  It might have been the lockout I guess but… his season pace for this season was what, 27 - 28 goals in an 82-game season?  That’s valuable obviously, but not $5 or $6m/yr valuable.  You have to expect he’s becoming a 20-goal guy and with his game, the fall happens fast.

Posted by Primis on 06/10/13 at 12:32 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

He brings more to the table than Fil and for the same price it might be a good fit.

I see him heading to Kings, just a guess on my part.  Will some goofy GM offer more than $3.5 M, probably with this thin UFA crop this year.

Always liked Iggy and he would be a great fit in the Wings room.

Posted by OnlyWings on 06/10/13 at 12:35 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

Didn’t he scratched DET as his possible trade destination?
Posted by detroitredwings on 06/10/13 at 01:31 PM ET

I think he might have, but that at the trade deadline and based on where Iginla wanted play out the rest of this year. A few things have changed since then:

1.  The Wings exceeded expectations in the playoff and they now look much more like a possible contender than they did back then.

2.  The Wings are now in the Eastern Conference.

Those are two pretty big factors that likely make Detroit a more appealing destination for Iginla. 

At the right price, I would sign him, no doubt.  I think $4 million would be quite a bargain.  One benefit to having him on Detroit, is that he wouldn’t play against the Wings.  He seems to score against the Wings at a pretty regular clip and really seems to have Howard’s number. I could be wrong on this, but I’d be surprised if Iginla wasn’t in the top bracket of some kind of goals-per-game on Howard stat.

Posted by Ajax19 on 06/10/13 at 12:38 PM ET

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Great idea, drop Emmerton, who finally got a chance to show that he’s a solid every day fourth line in the regular season as well as the playoffs in favour of keeping Cleary, who was a liability in the regular season and played at a level in the playoffs that there is absolutely no way to predict that he will be able to do again, as his body falls apart more and more every day.

Didn’t he scratched DET as his possible trade destination?

He did, yes, but times have changed.  Pittsburgh probably can’t re-sign him and neither can(/will?) Boston so if he wants to keep playing he’s definitely going to have to add teams to his will-play-for list.  Plus, Detroit showed in the playoffs that they were a better team than in the regular season, Datsyuk has said he wants to stick around, and Detroit has the cap space to sign him if they want to.  There’s plenty of reason to believe Detroit could be in the running if they’re interested.

It might have been the lockout I guess but… his season pace for this season was what, 27 - 28 goals in an 82-game season?

Yes, but who knows what he would be on pace for in a regular season without trade rumours swirling around him and playing on a line centred by Pavel Datsyuk?

That’s valuable obviously, but not $5 or $6m/yr valuable.

Agreed.  I was basing my argument on the article proposing that he will have to ctu his salary in half.

I’m not saying I love the idea of Iginla, just that for the right price I don’t dislike it.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 12:43 PM ET

Son of Flying Pig's avatar

No.  I’d rather Holland settled on Dustin Penner than bring Iginla in.

Posted by Son of Flying Pig on 06/10/13 at 01:15 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

No.  I’d rather Holland settled on Dustin Penner than bring Iginla in.

Penner would be the last player I would want on the Wings Roster.  He has been in Coaches dog houses forever including Kings Sutter. Big out of shape body with no heart!

Lazy, overpaid! Please never Penner! JMO

Posted by OnlyWings on 06/10/13 at 01:52 PM ET

Alan's avatar

I’ll pass on Iginla every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. No thanks.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 06/10/13 at 02:09 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

No.  I’d rather Holland settled on Dustin Penner than bring Iginla in.
Posted by Son of Flying Pig on 06/10/13 at 02:15 PM ET

If you think Ericsson and Franzen drove/drive Wings fans crazy, wait until they get a load of Pancakes Penner.

Posted by Ajax19 on 06/10/13 at 02:39 PM ET

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To be clear, I wouldn’t re-sign Cleary for what he makes now.  I’d re-sign him for $2M, and frankly I would take Cleary at $2M 10 times out of 10 over Iginla at $3.5M.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/10/13 at 02:54 PM ET

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I can’t think of someone I would take Cleary over.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 02:59 PM ET

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We’re talking about the same guy, right?  The one who was second on the team in goals and points in the playoffs we just had, who plays hard every night, who can play on a scoring line or a checking line, and who’s apparently a vocal leader in the clubhouse?

This is the kind of guy you keep for veteran depth, leadership, and roster flexibility.  Now, personally I’d combine that with losing Sammy and Bertuzzi both, because I do grasp the concern about guys getting older and slower.  But Cleary’s the youngest of those guys, was the most useful this past year, is the most valuable on non-scoring lines, would probably be the cheapest (it mgiht be Bert), and has the longest consecutive association with the team.  That’s who I’d keep.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/10/13 at 03:09 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I can’t think of someone I would take Cleary over.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 03:59 PM ET

Bert?  Tootoo?  Samuelsson?

Posted by Primis on 06/10/13 at 03:16 PM ET

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Good for you, but if you think that he can just duplicate his playoff performance after an 82-game season next year, I’d say you have another thing coming.

He was possibly the worst forward on the team for the regular season and almost single-handedly dragged down the Datsyuk line.

The worst part is that Mike Babcock is retarded for him.  If they bring him back he won’t be playing on the fourth line, he’ll be on a top line because “did you see how he turned it up last year?”

We have a ton of leaders and a ton of heart on the team.  I’d prefer someone who’s not going to be a low spot among forwards for the regular season simply because of the hope tha he’ll be able to do anything in the playoffs.

And what’s the roster flexibility he brings?  He could either bring down a top line, break up the third line or not be able to keep up with the fourth line?

No thanks.  I’ll take a 30-goal scoring physical power forward over a broken down husk any day.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 03:16 PM ET

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Bert?  Tootoo?  Samuelsson?

You’re right.  I’d take Cleary over Samuelsson, but I’d take just about anyone over either of them.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 03:17 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Yes, but who knows what he would be on pace for in a regular season without trade rumours swirling around him and playing on a line centred by Pavel Datsyuk?

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 01:43 PM ET

I don’t know that Iginla has it in him to keep up with Datsyuk, or most 1st line centers and their icetime.  Seriously, that’s a concern.  If DET were to bring in Iginla, he can’t be considered a 1st line scoring wing.  You almost need him to be a 2nd line scoring wing and a PP guy.  Thus why I’m shying away on salaries $4m or over.

Posted by Primis on 06/10/13 at 03:26 PM ET

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Posted by Primis on 06/10/13 at 04:26 PM ET

You’re probably right.  If he were brought in it would probably be for the second line, and I definitely wouldn’t want him for $4M or over.

Like I said above, I wouldn’t mind getting him, but it would definitely not be my first choice.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 03:30 PM ET

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A 30-goal scoring physical power forward?  Like whom?

Iginla’s goal’s per game the last three years:

.52
.39
.32

On a 36-year old, that’s not a coincidence—that’s a trend.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/10/13 at 04:08 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

wouldn’t want him for $4M or over.

Make the offer and see where it goes, not like we’re gonna give up anything for him to say “no thanks”. Considering what the Pens gave up to get him, it’d almost be funny to pick him up on an affordable contract.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 06/10/13 at 04:08 PM ET

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A 30-goal scoring physical power forward?

Iginla.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 05:14 PM ET

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On a 36-year old, that’s not a coincidence—that’s a trend.

Great, except that you can throw out this year’s stats because Iginla is a notoriously slow starter so the fact that he only played a half a season means you can’t simply reliably conclude that his goals per game through 44 games is the same as it would be after 82.  That’s not a big enough sample size.

So all you really have are two sets of numbers, not a trend by any means.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/13 at 05:30 PM ET

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There’s no way that Iginla is halving his salary for next season. Someone will pay him $4-5 mil.

Posted by godblender on 06/10/13 at 06:00 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The last quote summarizes my feelings on the matter. I think somebody’s gonna give him the money he wants, and they might not be a “contender,” but they’ll be good enough for Iginla’s tastes. Either that or he’ll play for the Rangers raspberry

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/11/13 at 12:50 AM ET

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I have no doub teams will offer him more, I just think he’ll take playing for a real contender over making a little more money.  In the end though, it doesn’t much matter to me.

Posted by Garth on 06/11/13 at 06:40 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

Bert’s game hasn’t fallen off at all over the past three years.  He, like Sammy, was just hurt for pretty much all of this season.  Heck, it’s not terribly hard to make the case Bert’s 11-12 season was his best as a Wing.  It was certainly his most complete year as far as playing both sides of the ice well, and he was very similarly productive offensively to his first two.

I hate to agree with HD on anything, but I agree here.  However, Bert was hurt most of this year and he’s not getting any younger.  Hopefully this seasons was a great “Rest and Recuperate” season and he’ll be back flying next year.

$3.5 to Fil or $3.5 to Iggy?  I give it to Iggy.  But ONLY if he says he’ll go to Boston for $3.3 first.

Otherwise, if we don’t land Iggy, I’m not heart broken.  He’s still a hell of a player and I’d love to have him, but I don’t think we NEED him on this team.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 06/11/13 at 07:16 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.