Tonight the Calgary Flames play head to head with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The rumours surrounding the future of Jarome Iginla as a member of the Calgary Flames make this game a little more interesting than your average epic Flames/Blue Jackets showdown.
Over the next two weeks the Flames and Iginla will receive some very tempting offers that will greatly affect the future of both the franchise and Jarome. With the Flames preparing for possible ‘Life After Iginla’ they can look at the Columbus Blue Jackets for some guidance.
Last summer the Jackets dealt Rick Nash, their long time franchise guy and team captain to the New York Rangers. The Circumstances of the Nash deal were different than the potential Iginla trade but one comparison is the same. Both scenarios represent a changing of the guard. The Flames will have to answer the same question Columbus did less than a year ago - Are we ready for life after the franchise player?
For the Blue Jackets life has been okay. Trading Nash allowed them to acquire depth and free up cap space. After a slow start to the season which can be attributed to roster turnover and no pre-season games, the Jackets are doing well. They have earned points in eleven straight and sit only two points out of the Western Conference playoffs.
If the Flames are considering a trade to move their long time captain and franchise leading scorer they can look at the Blue Jackets to see that it’s not the end of the world. Of course, it is not entirely up to Calgary management. Iginla has full say in where he gets traded or if he gets traded at all.
Gone are the days when a player spent the duration of his career with one NHL organization. In a perfect world it would be ideal for the Flames and Iginla to stay together. The reality is, Iginla isn’t getting any younger and trading him could do wonders for the future of the Flames organization if they get a good return. They could attain assets that will help them become a playoff team again, something they haven’t been since 2008-09.
As for Iginla, the choice is not easy. He has built a family and life in Calgary. It's terrifying to pick up and move away from the city you've called your home the duration of your adult life. He has to weigh that fear against the possibility of joining a team with a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Iginla has accomplished almost everything in his career, but winning the Cup has escaped him thus far. He came close in 2004 when the Flames played for the Stanley Cup only to lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning in one of the most entertaining Finals of the decade.
Tonight’s game will be worth watching for two reasons. It could be one of Iginla’s last appearances in a Flames’ uniform and the Jackets will look to push their points streak to twelve games.