You can listen to our lunch-break podcast breaking down the Iginla trade in the player below, or by clicking here.
Like everyone else, we awoke to the news that the Pens had acquired Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames after spending much of last evening hearing that the Bruins were on the verge of landing the prized winger. This is an absolute stunner.
To get Iginla, the Pens gave up Bruce Gradkowski, Kenny Powers, and a first-round pick in the upcoming draft which, clearly, Ray Shero hopes is the 30th pick. I was prepared to say that this move meant Ray Shero not only went all-in but then topped that off by putting his testicles on the poker table. But giving up only those guys makes this more of WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!?!!?
Wait. Their names are Ben Hanowski and Kenny Agostino?
Hanowski is graded as a "C" prospect by Hockey's Future. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft. He's currently playing for St. Cloud State. He's 6th in scoring there with 29 points in 34 games. (As a point of comparison, when Crosby was 4 years out of the draft, he won the Cup).
Ken Agostino was a 5th round pick in 2010. He's graded as a "C" prospect. He is the leading scorer for Yale with 37 points in 33 games.
To recap: The Pens just got Jarome Iginla for Yale's best player, St. Cloud State's sixth best player, and a (hopefully) late first round pick.
Flames' GM Jay Feaster will get destroyed for this deal, but remember that Iginla had a no-trade clause. He must have really wanted to come to Pittsburgh, so much so that he didn't mind screwing the Flames over (at least compared to the rumored Boston offer) to get here.
You don't bring in a guy like Iginla and NOT give him a shot at the top-two lines which means there is an odd-man out somewhere. I think the most likely scenario is that Brenden Morrow drops to the third line with Sutter and Cooke, meaning Kennedy plays on the 4th line with Craig Adams and hopefully anyone but Tanner Glass. Based solely on name recognition, it seems crazy to keep Dupuis on the top lines over Morrow, but Dupuis has great chemistry with Crosby and Malkin, is familiar with the system, and is, oh yeah, better at scoring goals than Morrow at this point.
As for the first two lines, Bylsma now has unlimited options. He could give Iginla a shot with Crosby which was probably a big selling point to bring him here. That would move Dupuis to down to play with Malkin and Neal where he would undoubtedly do the same thing he does for Crosby -- forecheck like a crazy person and get pucks to the big guy. Or Iginla could play with Malkin and Neal, which seems almost unfair, although we should remember that sometimes chemistry trumps pedigree when it comes to a line being effective.
Either way, these seem like great problems for the Pens to have. We never really thought the Pens would be in on Iginla, especially after getting Brenden Morrow. But we also didn't think that either Iginla wanted to come to the Pens so badly or Jay Feaster was dumb enough to take two college kids back for Iginla.
This is a time for optimism, but it doesn't mean shit unless the Pens win the Stanley Cup. The Pens are on a 13-game winning streak without Iginla, Murray, or Morrow (for 12 of them). On paper, these guys make the Pens look incredible. But being Paper Champions doesn't matter. Being real champions is what matters.
|Isn't that right, Lee Flowers?|