What just happened? I think that was the reaction of most hockey fans this morning when we found out that Iginla had been traded to the Penguins overnight. As of last night at midnight (CT), Iginla had been dealt to Boston according to TSN’s Aaron Ward. Many other writers and analysts on Twitter were reporting the same thing. After waiting all night to hear that the deal was official, I went to bed once I heard what Ward had to say. Wrong move on my part.
It was reported by numerous people all night last night that Iginla had been dealt to the Bruins in exchange for two prospects: Alexander Khokhlachev and Matt Bartkowski. Along with Iginla, both Khokhlachev and Bartkowski were late scratches from the lineup before their game last night. Understandably so, this led many people to believe that a deal with Calgary was done, or almost done. Apparently the latter is what was true.
As the night progressed, more and more people began saying that Iginla was a Bruin. Heck, even Claude Julien (Boston’s head coach) said in his postgame interview after last night’s loss that he pulled a few guys into his office before the game to notify them that they had acquired Iginla. It was still later in the night that Aaron Ward said the deal was “official.”
Then, around 1:30am (Eastern time I believe), Pittsburgh apparently made one last offer to Calgary for Iginla. The odd part is that Pittsburgh’s offer was not as good of an offer as the one the Bruins put together. Yet, Calgary at the last minute backed out of its talks with Boston and accepted the Penguins proposal. Calgary will receive prospects Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski, both still in college, as well as Pittsburgh’s first round draft pick in this summer’s draft.
So why would Calgary accept Pittsburgh’s offer? Well, it is being reported that Iginla wanted to be a Penguin all along during this whole process and that Calgary was trying to use the other 3 teams on Iginla’s “list” to get the Penguins to make a better offer. If the Flames made it look as though they were seriously considering trading Iginla to Boston, Chicago, or L.A., they were hoping that Pittsburgh would be forced to increase their offer. I’m not sure that that’s what actually ended up happening, but nonetheless, Iginla is a Penguin.
After trading for Brendan Morrow and Douglas Murray earlier this week and now trading for Jarome Iginla, I think it is safe to call the Penguins the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. That team is stacked. They got tougher, they got bigger, and they got more skilled (yes, that last part apparently was possible). Odds are that they will place Iginla on their second line with Evgeni Malkin who is a better center than anyone Iginla had ever played with in Calgary.
While I am definitely disappointed that my team, the Blackhawks, did not get Iginla, I can only imagine what Bruins fans are going through right now. The last 15 hours for those people have not been good, to say they least. First, they lose in a shootout to their biggest rival, the Canadiens (and lose their division lead), then they wake up this morning to find out that Iginla is a Penguin, not a Bruin. You want to talk about going from bad news to worse news…
It will be interesting to see which teams make moves to try and counter Pittsburgh, and not just in the Eastern Conference. No one will be able to make as many big moves as the Penguins, but teams like Boston and Chicago (among others) will be looking to improve their rosters between now and April 3rd, and they’ll have to if they want to beat Pittsburgh in a 7-game series.