Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stunner: Pens acquire Jarome Iginla from Calgary for almost nothing

By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)

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?


  1. You can't even fully appreciate how crazy this all was unless you were up to actually see the posts go up on Puck Daddy, etc, that actually said Boston. And then to see the new ones go up a few minutes later.

    Shero just trolled the city of Boston at an unprecedented level - stopping Boston from getting Iggy is probably more important than actually getting him ourselves. And I've decided Sid is like the damn Pied Piper of hockey players.

    As far as the lines - I cringe a little at the idea, but I actually think Duper goes to the 3rd line. I can't see both Iginla and Morrow playing their off wings to allow Dupuis to keep his spot. I wouldn't have a problem with Morrow on the third line - but Iginla came to play with Sid. Period. And he's Jerome Iginla, so they are going to let him. Perhaps they try Duper with Geno and let Morrow play on the 3rd line. If not, 24-16-9 would be a hell of a 3rd line.

    1. Iginla is a RW and Kunitz and Neal are LWs, right?

      I just think that at this point in their careers, and how they fit on this team, Dupuis is a better player than Morrow and knows his role when skating with Sid and/or Geno. Kunitz can stay with Sid and Neal can stay with Malkin. Whether Iginla goes with Crosby or Malkin shouldn't matter (on paper). And Dupuis can fit with the others.

      The only thing I think should be off the table is splitting Kunitz and Crosby. Kunitz will perform with whoever he plays with, but statistically speaking, Crosby puts up HUGE numbers when playing with Kunitz. His best seasons (at least goal-wise) are all since he's been skating Kunitz.

    2. Perhaps - I wouldn't put anything out of the realm of possibility. I don't really think they'll move Neal back to the left, seeing as he's always been on the right in Pittsburgh. But who knows?

      I don't doubt your assessment of Dupuis/Morrow, but everyone needs to fit too. That's why I said maybe Dupuis plays with Geno, as he's always switched back and forth. I also don't know how comfortable Morrow is on the right side. If he is, then perhaps that's how things sort out.

  2. Just so you know, Hockey's Future uses a 2 tiered rating system. The number represents the percieved maximum value of the prospect and the letter represents the prospects' likelihood of achieving that maximum value.

    1. Good to know. So basically, there's a "C" chance that these guys hit their maximum potential? Which is only a 7 out of 10 anyway?

  3. Correct. Although I have never seen a prospect on there with “A" designation so a “B" or “C" isn't bad. I do agree that this trade raping is very reminiscent to the jagr for beech, sivek and lupochuck deal. On snotty note, i think morrow should be a 3rd line player at thIs point in his career. Too slow to be a top 2 liner, but we will see what the mad genius has cooked up.

    1. I don't think that's snotty at all. A terrific 3rd liner is exactly what Morrow is right now.

    2. I meant to say on ANOTHER note, damn Iphone autocorrect

    3. Sounds more and more like that's the plan, moving Cooke and Neal to the other side:


      I couldn't see Iginla on the 3rd line - and he shouldn't be. Sounds like Cooke is comfortable on the right (which I wasn't really considering). Given Bylsma's hints today - I think this is what we see. And it seems to make as much sense as anything.

    4. I want to see the lines Brandy suggested with Vitale as the 3rd man on the fourth line.

    5. Agreed. Cooke will play wherever. He doesn't really have a skill set that requires him to be on one side or the other.

      I'm not sure who I'd prefer for that last spot between Bennett, Jeffrey, Glass or Vitale. Ok, I definitely don't prefer Glass. But I THINK it will be Joe Vitale because of faceoffs. And management seems to have a soft spot for him at least as much as they do for Jeffrey and/or Glass.

  4. Although I have never seen a prospect on there with “A" designation so a “B" or “C" isn't bad. I do agree that this trade raping is very reminiscent to the jagr for beech, sivek and lupochuck deal. On snotty note, i think morrow should be a 3rd line player at thIs point in his career. Too slow to be a top 2 liner, but we will see what the mad genius has cooked up.