Our poor Calgary Flames.
I'm now on the side that a rebuild in the very near future is inevitable. This year, or next, what's the difference? They aren't contenders. This is an aging team of mostly past-their-prime/underachieving/overpaid vets. I don't see it magically getting better. (But I'd love to be wrong).
I also no longer believe the mythical trade for a 1st line center is turning this boat around. It'll just prolong the sinking a year or so. Even if we could get one of them, would Richards or Spezza or Carter or whoever suddenly change everything we've seen the past few years?
After writing this, I'm sure they'll win 5 games in a row just to make me look foolish. But I'm almost just as sure they'll go on another lengthy crash of 5 to 10 games later on to counter it, as they have the past couple years. These guys are incredibly inconsistent and fragile and have been for a long time.
You can talk about firing Sutter, but that doesn't change the need to rebuild - just who is in charge of it. Feaster isn't turning this mess around overnight. It's gonna take years. Brodie and Wahl and Erixon and Niemz and the rest aren't immediately making us contenders next year.
I'm certainly tired of blaming coaches and systems. At some point, you have to accept that players just can't get the job done.
So the big question then becomes, do we rebuild with or without Iginla?
(Note that I am not blaming Iginla for the team's situation. As with most everyone else, I love the player and the character he brings. But if you commit to a rebuild...)
You can argue that he should retire a Flame, but if we rebuild, why would he even want to stay? Wouldn't he like a shot on a contender? Would he really want to spend the last years of his career on a basement-dwelling rebuilding team? I suppose only he can answer that, but I have trouble believing he wouldn't want to try and win elsewhere.
I've heard the argument that we need Iggy to attract and sign free agents...but that's gonna end someday, one way or the other. If we need him that bad for that reason, we're in trouble in the long run anyway.
From the organization's standpoint, once you commit to rebuild, Iggy becomes a fairly valuable commodity. You should get whatever picks and prospects you can get for him. You do the same with Kipper and Regehr and most everyone else. You clean house, keep the younger players, and stock up on youth and picks.
If Iggy wants to stay, even through a rebuild, I suppose you honor his wishes...and hope he doesn't leave for another team once his contract is up, leaving us with nothing, ala Sundin. Hopefully, you raise his jersey to the rafters at the end.
But, simply, once a rebuild is started, it really makes no sense for either party for Iginla to remain a Flame. It doesn't benefit either side. The only argument I buy at all is for Iggy to be a mentor, but I'm not sure that's enough of a reason.
All that said, I can't imagine how difficult it would be to see Iginla in another jersey.