How the Calgary Flames lost the Jarome Iginla trade
Prior to this week’s trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jarome Iginla had been a member of the Calgary Flames since 1996, and the team’s captain since 2003. To say he was the face of the franchise would be to do a disservice to his impact on the Flames and the city of Calgary. To a certain extent, he WAS the franchise. However, with the Flames wallowing in mediocrity this season and Iginla being at the point in his career where he wants a shot at a championship while he still can compete on an elite level, the organization and its star decided to part ways.
Iginla’s contract provided him with a full no-movement clause, so he had complete control over where he was willing to be traded to. Reports out of Calgary were that Iginla presented Flames GM Jay Feaster with a list of four teams he would accept a trade to: Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and Pittsburg Penguins. This gave Feaster a few options as far as finding a suitable trade partner and at least some leverage by playing these teams against one another to drive up the price.
According to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, he was told by Feaster that they had a deal for Iginla for a package consisting of 2 prospects and a 1st round pick. Hours went by without further communication and the prospects were scratched from their games that night to ensure that they would remain healthy when the trade went through. Sometime around midnight, Feaster contacted Chiarelli again and reneged on his prior statement, telling him that in fact Iginla was going to be traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
While no one outside the parties involved knows the events that lead to the demise of the Boston deal and the consummation of the Pittsburgh deal, it has been speculated that when Feaster spoke with Iginla’s camp after making the deal with Boston, Iginla made it clear to him that the four teams he’d be willing to be traded to had become one team: the Pittsburgh Penguins. It has been further speculated that Penguins GM Ray Shero was aware that he had become the only game in town as well, resulting in Feaster having almost no bargaining power at the negotiations.
While the package from the Penguins is similar in form to what Boston had offered (2 prospects and a 1st round pick), the quality of the players Calgary was getting in return were significantly less than what Boston was offering. If this is true, than Feaster had little choice but to accept whatever paltry offer the Penguins were willing to make for his captain. Iginla held all the cards in this situation and decided that his desire to play on the wing of two of the best centers in the world in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby was more important than allowing his GM to negotiate the best return in exchange for his services.
If the above scenario is generally how the Iginla trade played out, Feaster completely cut his own legs out from under him. All he had to do was have Iginla’s camp write out the four teams he would be willing to be traded to, and have them sign off on it and send it to him for him to sign as well. Then, if he came back to Iginla’s camp with the deal and Iginla got cold feet about going somewhere, he could show him that piece of paper and make the best deal for the team. Its been a rough season for Feaster out in Alberta, and this (alleged) blunder further implicates his actions as part of the problem in the Flames’ organization.
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