Published on February 5th, 2013 | by James Conley0
Iginla to Pens Trade Scenario Hinges on NHL Sign-and-Trade
Elliotte Friedman’s ’30 Thoughts’ series is one of the best hockey columns going. Tuesday, Friedman dropped an Easter egg in the middle of his latest column, one which starts with the Flyers’ injury-riddled roster and ends with the Penguins and a potential smash trade.
I was asked on Calgary 960 Radio about the Flyers being interested in Jarome Iginla. The big question is, ‘Would Iginla be interested in them?’ If he goes anywhere, he’s going to take a run at the Stanley Cup. Ninety-nine years out of 100, Philadelphia is in that race. This just might be a case of awful timing for both of them. You can see the opening in the Penguins lineup, though.
Iginla-to-Pens has been a thing since he and Sidney Crosby played on a line in Canada’s gold-medal-winning Olympic team in Vancouver in 2010. Each year, Iginla remains in Calgary despite perennial underperformance by his club due to the same bevy of reasons. Family planted in Alberta. Team captain. Has never played for another franchise.
Iginla is 35 now, and may no longer be the elite scorer he was in the past. While acquiring him is not outside the Pens’ capabilities (he’s in the final year of his contract and Pittsburgh has about $10 million in cap space for the 2013 season), it’ll still take a sizable return to pry the Flames captain from his home, should he waive his no-trade clause.
The Penguins have the assets to trade for almost any player in the NHL. What they’d be willing to part with to acquire Iginla is one part of the equation. However, if the oft-rumored deal is ever going to take place, it’ll depend much more on the final draft of the new NHL collective bargaining agreement than on any draft pick and player package Pittsburgh could offer Calgary in return.
As of now, there is no CBA. The NHL and NHLPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in January to get the season rolling. It’s a 25-page document that outlines all the major plot points of the pending CBA, but it isn’t the document in its final form. The league, the players union and their mercenary armies of lawyerin-types have until February 16 to finalize the document that will guide the NHL as a business for the next decade.
Could sign-and-trade deals be part of the next CBA?
Sign-and-trades allow two clubs to agree in principle on a deal, which is only completed once the player to be traded signs a contract extension with the team he is leaving. They’ve been discussed as a possible measure to increase trade activity and allow teams further options to navigate a shrinking salary cap ceiling in the coming seasons. Gary Bettman and Bill Daly have been noncommittal on the idea of the move, one that is often used to help facilitate transactions in the NBA.
Sign-and-Trades. Teams are prohibited from signing a free agent pursuant to an agreement that the player will later be traded to another team unless the free agent being signed is the team’s own free agent. In addition, these “sign-and-trades” are permitted only if the contract is for three or more years (the first season of the contract must be fully guaranteed).
Basketball has its version of sign-and-trade deals, and the NHL certainly likes to follow in that league’s footsteps. Should the new CBA allow sign-and-trades to happen, it would be a big step in the direction of getting Iginla to Pittsburgh.
Penguins GM Ray Shero got burned badly when free agent Marian Hossa held the team hostage in 2008, and since then Shero has made a point of working with known assets and with as much control as possible. It’s unlikely the Penguins would surrender a good deal to acquire Iginla if they couldn’t first guarantee that he would remain in Pittsburgh for more than the stretch run of a lockout-shortened season.
When the NHL finally completes the terms of the new CBA, teams will know exactly how much flexibility they’ll have to make moves under the reduced salary cap in 2014.
That, more than anything, will determine whether the Penguins are legitimate suitors for Iginla or not.
Image Vancity Allie @ flickr