It finally happened. Jarome Iginla has been traded, ending his storied 16-year career with the Calgary Flames. He now will call Pittsburgh home.
Wait, Pittsburgh? Wasn't Boston the team that everyone assumed would be landing the forward as of late Wednesday night? Surprise! The Pittsburgh Penguins, you know, the team that already made headlines by obtaining Brenden Morrow from Dallas and Douglas Murray from San Jose, now adds another piece in Iginla in a shocking late-night trade.
Pittsburgh is sending Ben Hanowski, Kenny Agostino and a 2013 first-round draft pick to Calgary in exchange for the veteran, as reported by the team's site.
It seems as if every year Iginla's name is mentioned as the league approaches the trade deadline, but this time the rumors actually came to fruition. Well, sort of. These rumors persisted for weeks, with all signs pointing to "Iginla to Boston" as of late Wednesday night. In a stunner, it's the Penguins claiming Iginla, adding to their incredibly impressive offense.
Most analysts and experts selected the Penguins as the team to beat in the East. In fact, many had them as the NHL's best team. The club's additions prior to Iginla signaled that the team was going to make a serious push for the Cup in 2013. Now through their addition of Iginla, it's clear the motto is now "Cup or bust" in Pittsburgh.
What are we supposed to talk about at the deadline now that the persistent "Iginla is leaving Calgary" rumor has finally rode its course? That's tough to analyze. It's safe to predict that the deadline won't pack the punch, or the surprise of this late-night deal.
Iginla is leaving behind an enormous legacy in Calgary. He appeared in 1,219 games for the Flames, scoring 525 goals and 570 assists (1,095). Unfortunately, despite his massive legacy with the Flames, Iginla has never been able to hoist the NHL's ultimate prize. The Flames have made the playoffs just five times during Iginla's tenure, the last appearance taking place in 2008-09.
The Iginla trade is pretty similar to the Ray Bourque trade back in 1999-00 when the struggling Boston Bruins dealt the face of their franchise to a contender, Colorado, so that the veteran would have a shot at hoisting the Cup before hanging up his skates.
Now it's finally time for the Flames to start rebuilding, and that starts by trading Iginla. Did they start off on the right foot with the package they received for their prized asset? That's highly debateable, but early reports indicate that Pittsburgh appears to have won this trade.
We'll have to take some time, get some sleep and analyze this deal further in the near future.