Should the Islanders Trade for Jarome Iginla?
With the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs coming to a close in the next month, free agency and trade rumors will take on a life of their own as teams will try to improve through the two aforementioned avenues. After staying relatively quiet in the free agent market the last couple of years, the New York Islanders could use the addition of a player via a trade. (VancityAllie/Flickr)
One of those players could be Jarome Iginla, and the Islanders should consider targeting the right winger for a number of reasons.
Since Iginla's contract will expire once the 2012-2013 season is completed, the move could backfire on the Isles if the winger chooses to pursue free agency during the 2013 off-season. However, a deal to get Iginla could drastically improve the Islanders' offense and give the team a bit more than a bonafide scoring threat and rugged veteran. Acquiring Iginla could show other free agents that the Islanders are serious about taking their rebuild to another level and are trying to surround John Tavares with some established talent.
Iginla might not be the youngest winger anymore, but he is still a leader with too much offensive potential to simply write off. The move might cost the Islanders a couple of assets in addition to their first round pick, but the Flames might just be a good partner for the Isles if the team (Calgary) is looking to get younger. Many rumors have been abound as to whether the Flames will embark on a rebuild after they failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2012, and the Isles could suit virtually any need that the Flames have. Ryan Strome, Nino Niederreiter, and Calvin de Haan might be off limits for now, but the Isles' system is stocked with prospects that any NHL team would be willing to take a gamble on.
Taking on Iginla's contract wouldn't hurt the Islanders either as the team has remained at the cap floor over the past couple of seasons. Acquiring Iginla would only help the Isles get to the cap floor and could even help the franchise with some free agent signings. After reportedly failing to sign big-ticket free agents such as Dan Hamhuis, Christian Ehrhoff, and Zybnek Michalek, a trade for Iginla would undoubtedly give some free agent d-men a second thought before snubbing an offer from Garth Snow. Players such as Jason Garrison will be hitting the free agent wire come July 1st, and the Isles' defense would only benefit from such a signing.
It might be foolish to think that the Islanders would do a complete 180 degree turn and be a playoff competitor overnight, but the addition of the two aforementioned players would have a significant impact on the team. Not only would the addition of Iginla and Garrison add some much needed depth to the Islanders, it would allow the Isles to create some mismatches against opponents, especially in a tightly packed Eastern Conference. Adding Iginla and Garrison might be a tall order to fill, but both of the players fit the Isles' needs on offense and defense. Keeping Iginla past 2013 might be another hard task to accomplish as the veteran forward most likely wants another shot at the Stanley Cup before he retires, but if the team's nucleus works hard and shows the winger some improvement, then it would not be out of the realm of possibility for Iginla to ink an extension.
Trading for Iginla just so he can jump ship after a year would be a blow to the Isles, especially if it wound up costing the team some valuable prospects. However, by trading for Iginla, the Isles would set the tone for the organization's next step in the rebuild. As cliché as it may be, Rome was not built in a day, and it is very hard to turn a 14th place team into a Stanley Cup champion with two acquisitions. While there may be many intangibles associated with making such moves, the Islanders must realize that the clock is ticking and that free agents won't simply line up at the gates to play with developing players. If the Islanders want to take their rebuilding process to the next level, then they must show their fans and the rest of the NHL that they are ready to step out from beneath the cap floor and commit to established players that will produce and improve the team.