Jumpin' On Jarome: Discussing Why the Hawks Should Get Iginla
For those of you who read my "You Know I'm Right" a few weeks ago, this is kind of beating a dead horse.
By now most of you know that Darren Dregger of TSN has reported that Jarome Iginla has submitted a list of teams he'd be willing to accept a trade to.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks (more recent reports have included the Detroit Red Wings on that list)
Since these reports came out, there has been a surge of anti-acquire Iginla chatter from Hawks fans on Twitter and the Blogosphere, for a mix of rationally compelling and simply idiotic reasons. What I'm going to do in this post is go through and refute every reason why the Hawks should not trade for Iginla.
"But Iginla is not a center"
I told a friend of mine who made this argument about getting Iginla that this is like trying to give him a night with Kate Upton and him complaining because he's more into brunettes right now.
True Iginla is not a center, but there's two main issues with this:
1. Iginla still makes the Hawks a much better team in other areas that compensates for their lack of centers/awfulness at faceoffs
2. While the Hawks' need is predominantly at center, there are no good centers who can win faceoffs available
What Iginla lacks by not being a center he makes up by being a pretty good hockey player. He's a dominant physical present at the top of the lineup, something the Hawks don't have (and haven't had since Byfuglien) He's a right-handed shot, another thing the Hawks are short of in the top-six. He can play a variety of spots on the powerplay. He can score. He can make plays. He brings a ton of leadership, character and desire to win.
I understand he's not a center. I understand the Hawks need a center who can win faceoffs. But tell me who's available for a top six role that can win faceoffs? Find me a top six center that a team would conceivably trade for that is above 50% at the dot. Do that and I'll never mention Iginla again.
Derek Roy? 47%. Sam Gagner? 42% Mike Riberio? 42%. Steve Ott? Not a top six player. Tyler Bozak? Leafs aren't dealing him. Zack Smith? Ottawa's not dealing him.
I'm still waiting guys...
I'm not denying that the Hawks need another center. I'm simply stating a very simple reality: there are no top six centers available, at least ones that can win faceoffs any better than Dave Bolland.
The next best situation is acquiring a player that helps you in other ways and mitigates the effects of being bad at faceoffs, which is good forechecking and puck possession when you do have the puck. Iginla helps in those areas.
"But Iginla is an aging veteran who's not good enough anymore/not enough gas in the tank"
Well I won't argue the empirical fact that humans age, I will dispute that its a big enough issue to deter the Hawks from trading for Iginla.
Let's do a little review of just who Iginla is. As probably one of the most dominating power forwards to ever play the game, Iginla has had a largely successful career that consists 524 career goals and 1094 career points in 1217 games, along with 11 consecutive 30+ goal seasons and 49 points in just 54 playoff games. Some of his accomplishments include, well, 5 gold medals (one WJC, one World Cup, one WC and two Olympic, where he had a pretty important assist in 2010) a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals and numerous All-Star appearances.
Don't forget most of his accomplishments in the NHL have come on pretty bad Flames teams on which he wasn't playing with premier players. I'm pretty sure he had 43 goals with Brendan Morrison as his center...
As for no gas left in the tank, he hasn't made the playoffs for 4 years so I think we can count on his legs being there in May and June.
"Hawks will have to break up their team to get him"
I spoke to someone on Twitter who said the Hawks would have to give up someone like Sharp or Seabrook to get Iginla.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The Flames know Jarome's value isn't as a much as it used to be. As a veteran rental, they know his value is likely limited to 2-3 pieces of decent but not astronomical value.
By most reports, the Flames are looking for two prospects and a high draft pick, a price that might scare most competitors away (it likely did with Pittsburgh) but the Hawks could afford.
I proposed Bryan Bickell, Brandon Pirri and a 1st round draft pick, a very plausible trade package. However I think we could conceivably see a trade package consisting of any prospect, with the exception of those currently playing with the Blackhawks, Teuvo Teravainen and Phillip Danault.
I think that's a price the Hawks could and should be willing to pay, considering how many draft (good) draft picks they've had in recent years. Selling a few pieces from the farm for a quality player won't be the end of the world.
"There's nowhere for Iginla to play on the Hawks"
The beauty of hockey lineups is that you can move players around, even into positions they normally don't play in!
Yes, Iginla is a right winger and the Hawks already have two right wingers that are supposedly really good at hockey. So my proposition was at left wing on the second line. He's a right handed shot which is well-suited for the left side and his hard forechecking and physical presence would be definitely be welcome on a second line that has struggled in those areas.
This, or some variation of this, then becomes your forward lineup:
Sharp - Toews - Hossa
Iginla - Bolland - Kane
Bickell - Shaw - Stalberg
Saad - Kruger - Frolik
Scary isn't it?
"The Hawks shouldn't give up so much for a rental player that won't be here long term"
Its simple guys: success often requires bold moves and calculated risks.
There's no question Iginla makes the Hawks' better and probably gives them arguably the best top six in the NHL. If the Hawks don't win the Cup, it all looks like a waste of assets. But if they win, and I think the likelihood of that becomes pretty high, its amazing how much people will forget. Just ask the Bruins about the Kaberle trade. No one in Boston cares.
Another very simple reason for acquiring him is that if you get him other teams can't. LA or Boston will likely be tough enough to beat as it is, nevermind if they get Iginla. So it also becomes a matter of preventing a quality player from going to their competition.
Pittsburgh is making bold moves out East, after acquiring Brendan Morrow yesterday and Douglas Murray today. They are a better team than they were 24 hours ago. And I don't believe this will be the last bold move we see the big contenders of the league make.
The Hawks can be bold and better their chances of getting back to the Stanley Cup Finals or can sit idly and watch other teams be bold and just hope they have what it takes when the time comes.
I don't know about you, but I'm all for being bold.