Iginla to the Blackhawks?

jarome-iginla-featuredThis past weekend, Jarome Iginla made a list of 4 teams that he would accept a trade to if the Flames decide to part ways with their captain. The 4 teams on that list, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, are Boston, Chicago, L.A., and Pittsburgh. All 4 teams are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. With Pittsburgh’s acquisition of Brendan Morrow yesterday, one would have to assume that they are no longer going to be trying to trade for Iginla, shortening that list to just 3 teams now. So now the question becomes, what jersey will Iginla be wearing come 2 weeks from now?

The NHL trade deadline is April 3rd, and Jarome Iginla is probably the biggest name being mentioned in trade talks. Assuming that the Penguins are done trading after acquiring Morrow, that leaves us with either Boston, Chicago, or L.A. as possible destinations for Iginla. Being the Blackhawks fan that I am, let’s take a look at what it would take for the Hawks to get Iginla.

Calgary has made it clear that they want at least one first round pick, plus a couple prospects, and/or a current player off an NHL roster in return for Jarome Iginla. Not many teams would be willing to give up that much for a 35 year old player who is in the last year of his contract. However, Iginla is the type of player that could really help a team win the Stanley Cup. In the case of the Blackhawks, he is exactly what they need: a big, physical forward who can score goals.

Going based off what Calgary wants in return for Jarome, the Hawks would probably need to trade away a first round pick, two top prospects, and a player off their current roster. It is rumored that the Flames want Brandon Saad as part of a deal with the Hawks, but that simply won’t happen. My guess is that if the Hawks really do go hard after Iginla, they would be offering something like Brandon Pirri, Mark McNeil/Jimmy Hayes/Jeremy Morin, and a guy like Stalberg or Frolik off their current NHL roster, as well as a future first round draft pick. Odds are that Calgary would lobby hard for Stalberg over Frolik in this deal.

Keep in mind that Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell are both unrestricted free agents after this season, and the Hawks may not be able to re-sign both of them. That makes trading Stalberg a little easier to get over. As much as I don’t want to see Stalberg get traded, I think it would be worth it for Iginla in return.

So what would Jarome Iginla do for the Hawks?

Right now, arguably the biggest weakness of the Blackhawks is their lack of size and physicality. This was made evident in last year’s playoffs and against some bigger teams jarome-iginla-jamie-benn-2010-12-23-21-40-23like the Ducks this year. Iginla is big guy (6’1″, 210 lbs.) and isn’t afraid to hit people. He has often been regarded as one of the tougher guys in the league over the past decade. The Blackhawks could really use a big, physical forward who can contribute on the offensive end. Right now they have some bigger guys like Bickell and Bollig, but neither one is really considered a dual threat. If you place Iginla on one of the top two lines of the Blackhawks, he is going to bring some much needed physical play to the top of that lineup.

Along with his physicality, Iginla is a great locker room presence. He has been the captain of the Flames since 2003 and knows how to be a leader. Not that the Hawks need another leader (they have plenty), but it couldn’t hurt.

Some people question whether or not Iginla could be effective in the Blackhawks lineup because of their team speed, and Iginla’s lack thereof. The Hawks style of play revolves around their team speed and getting out on fast breaks and odd-man rushes. Jarome Iginla is more of a net-front presence (which the Hawks lack) who is much more effective in a half ice style of game. What I mean by that is Iginla is not going to be beating opposing players up and down the ice. Instead, he is much more effective in offensive zone play. He parks himself in front of the net, screens the goalie, and cleans up the rebounds. In a way, he is pretty similar to what Dustin Byfuglien was with the Hawks during their Stanley Cup run.

If the Hawks were to get Iginla, here is what their lines might look like (minus Stalberg):

Saad-Toews-Hossa

Kane-Sharp-Iginla

Bickell-Bolland-Shaw

Frolik-Kruger-Carcillo/Bollig/Mayers

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Quenneville put Sharp back at the number 2 center position like he did when they won the Cup 3 years ago. Some say Kane might move to that spot, but I completely disagree with that. As you can see though, Iginla would instantly make the Hawks a better team and a much tougher team in terms of physicality (and offense for that matter).

This trade is a long ways off from happening, but it is not unrealistic. If I were Stan Bowman, I would do everything I could to complete this trade without hurting the Hawks’ future. For the time being, however, all we can do is hope and speculate.

The deadline is just over a week away, so stay tuned.

 

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