The Flames perennial leader in goals and points, Jarome Iginla is on pace for a measly 12 goals and 37 assists giving him a total of 49 points in the season. Is this just a lousy start for the notoriously slow starting Flames captain? Or is this something else?
It is widely believed that Iginla has had a history of starting slow and finally finding his groove in the month of November. Last year he managed to score 9 points in 12 games in the month of October out of which he got 3 points in one game. Following that he went on a tear to and had 20 points in the month of november out of which he found the back of the net 13 times.
The years prior to that though his slow start isn't so much of an issue. Iginla had 12 points in 10 games in 2008-09 and had 19 points in 12 games in 2007-08. Going back to 2003-04 though Iginla had only 6 points in 9 games and he ended up finishing with 73 points only
Throughout history the only seasons where his slow starts were an issue, he ended up scoring below a point a game at the end of the regular season.
The first part of that belief is not true, but is November actually Iginla's month? Looking at the stats from the last few years Iginla has managed to get 20,17,15 and 15 points. November, therefore historically, does seem to be a strong month for Iginla.
In a period of time when Iginla's name is amidst trade rumours, Is that something we can expect from the captain? Iginla is a streaky player who plays his best when aggravated and questioned. Eventhough he has been repeatedly question by Brent Sutter when his top players have been asked to perform, Iginla has been unable to do much in terms of scoring. Earlier in the season, Iginla seemed to be coasting which was a complete flip from his play in the off-season. In the last few games he seems more involved in the gameplay. Iginla is a player who needs to be involved in the gameplay physically in order to be effective and as the season is continuing he seems to be driving more to the net and going into the corners. These are signs that he could be turning things around soon.
Iginla is not the only star player who has hit a low in their career. Brad Richards had a couple of seasons wherein he was playing well beyond what his salary could justify. Following a change scenery he has bounced back had a 91 point campaign last year and is sitting at 18 points currently. Datsyuk as well, after a pair of 97 point campaigns hit a snag last season when he only scored 70 points though seems to have righted the ship so far this season and has 13 points in 11 games. Granted Iggy is older than these two and Datsyuk brings defensive play to the table as well, Iginla can certainly turn things around in the remaining 69 games.
When I mention players who have bounced back, there are also players who have continued their decline, (Cheechoo comes to mind) but Iginla has a lot more skill than these players to not be able to bounce back.
Iginla is indeed aging though 33 is not too old of an age. If he can get back to his physical play he can still be a dominating ppg player. As the years progress though, Iginla will have to change his game in order to suit his age. Something of the sort that Yzerman did towards the end of his career.
Trading Iginla is an option, but it could also end up biting us in the back when Iginla succeeds on another team.
Here is to hoping the flames bounce back against the aves and come back home with a 3-1 record on the current road trip.
GO FLAMES GO