Colorado Avalanche: Is Jarome Iginla on the Way Out?

The Colorado Avalanche and Jarome Iginla may part ways over the summer, which would be beneficial for both parties.

In the midst of the Colorado Avalanche’s recent collapse, with Gabriel Landeskog suspended and both top centers Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon out with knee injuries, I noticed a definite lack of Jarome Iginla interviews.

Now, our 23-year-old captain, Landeskog, frequently comes under fire for not being an adequate leader — especially as he took a suspension right as the team needed him most. However, I rarely see criticism of 38-year-old Iginla’s leadership, despite his being the Colorado Avalanche’s alternate captain and a future Hall of Famer to boot.

Yet during a time when his team needed him most — with the top three young guns out and the Avalanche’s season hanging by a thread — it was radio silence from Iginla. I don’t know what his demeanor in the locker room was, but I’m guessing by the Avalanche’s collapse to first the Philadelphia Flyers (blown third period lead) then the rival Minnesota Wild (shut out), he couldn’t have been that effective.

He’s been more vocal recently to the media, and it highlights his leadership value. Here’s a recent post-practice interview from Iginla:

It’s not so much what he says — Jarome Iginla just has a calming demeanor. If he’s speaking to nervous players, I imagine them feeling better after listening to him.

We all know Jarome Iginla is likely to retire after next year’s contract. He, like so many other greats before him, would like one last chance at the Stanley Cup. When he came to the Colorado Avalanche two seasons ago, he probably thought the exciting young team was a good shot at that dream.

The reality is the Avalanche are still a team for the future. They will become Stanley Cup contenders again, but it won’t be next season. Therefore, Iginla’s not on the right team if that’s still a priority for him.

Iginla is a smart man. I’m sure he realized that at some point during the season — perhaps around the Stadium Series collapse. I don’t want to say he checked out, but he certainly didn’t appear to be checked in.

Recently we all celebrated Jarome Iginla’s making 20 goals for the 17th time in his career. He’s second only to Jaromir Jagr for active players. What everyone has been too respectful to point out is that 15 of those 17 times he’s gone on to score 30+ goals in the season. The only other time he didn’t do so was last season, for the Colorado Avalanche.

And with three games left of a season in which he played all the games, and only 20 goals to his name — well, it’s unlikely he’s going to make that 30-goal mark for Colorado.

I don’t expect to see Jarome Iginla in burgundy and blue next season. No disrespect to the very talented man — it just hasn’t been the right fit. He needs a team that’s ready to make a deep run at the Stanley Cup next season — someone like the Washington Capitals or Anaheim Ducks. The Colorado Avalanche aren’t going to be there for at least a couple more years, though we all expect them to make the playoffs next season.

Colorado probably won’t get much return for a player in the final year of his NHL career — probably just a draft pick. However, trading Iginla does free up $5.5 million of cap space and makes a roster spot for a young player of the future. It also frees up the alternate captaincy for one of the young core — I highly expect Erik Johnson would wear that letter next season.

So, as great as it’s been having the future Hall of Famer on the team, this is probably a good time for him to pursue his last chance at a Stanley Cup with another team.