Colorado Avalanche: Giving Iginla His Shot

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Jarome Iginla is hoping to finish his career a champion.  Its up to Joe Sakic to make sure he gets his shot.

Jarome Iginla took a huge risk by signing with the Colorado Avalanche as a free agent in July of 2014.

Yes, $16 million and a three year deal including a no-movement clause were also important factors.  Especially for an aging player with a family to consider.

However, knowing this would likely be the last contract of his career, Iginla’s primary personal concern undoubtedly was on joining a team he believed had a realistic chance of winning the Stanley Cup.

Undoubtedly, Iginla would’ve liked to stay in Boston where he played the 2013-14 season and made it two the conference semi-finals.  However, salary cap issues prevented Iginla and the Bruins from working something out.

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This led Iginla to the Colorado Avalanche, a young and seemingly up-and-coming contender that had just won the Central Division and was surely poised for deep playoff runs down the line.

Of course, we know this never happened, and as Iginla’s play quickly declined, so did the promising future of the Colorado Avalanche.

Now Iginla is likely anxiously awaiting the March 1 trade deadline that will determine if he will have one more chance at winning the elusive Stanley Cup.

For Iginla, not only has his game slowed down remarkably in the last two seasons, but the NHL as a whole has embraced a youth movement, placing the young and quick over the old and experienced.

Unfortunately, this means that Iginla, his $5.3 million cap hit and his eight goals and ten assists in 60 games this season may have trouble finding a new home by Wednesday.

As the deadline approaches quickly, Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic certainly will be kept busy on the phones trying to improve this horrible team.  Amidst the stress and chaos, it should be imperative that Sakic pay Iginla special attention.

Iginla’s decision to sign with the Avalanche in 2014 showed confidence in the young team, bringing them both a new level of credibility as well as an opportunity to learn from a future Hall of Famer.

Unfortunately, Iginla will not command the demand he would hope for this deadline, however, it’s up to Sakic to repay Iginla’s decision to take a risk on the Avalanche by finding him a place on a true Stanley Cup contender.

Because of his age, speed and poor stat line, it will be easy for contending teams to pass by Iginla as the deadline comes.  Of course, this is understandable, but that doesn’t mean a deal can’t be worked out.

In fact, I believe Sakic should be willing to entirely give up on receiving a meaningful return for Iginla if it means getting him a chance to win the Cup.

In the spirit of honor, tradition and sportmanship that mark hockey, unlike any other sport, Sakic needs to make it a mission to move Iginla.

This doesn’t mean shipping him to a wild card team or a team on the bubble, rather this means convincing a GM from the likes Washington, Pittsburgh or Chicago to add Iginla to there roster.

If this means the Avs receive no return for Iginla, or have to retain 100% of his salary, or take on an unwanted player in return, Sakic needs to do it.

As the Colorado Avalanche suffer through a horrible season, giving Iginla a true chance at winning would be a move that would give new purpose and life to this season, reminding the hockey world what matters most about this sport.

Currently, Iginla holds the record for most games by an active player without winning the Cup with 1,534.  This is an incredible stat and record that produces anxiety and frustration for fans as well as for Iginla.

In context, Ray Bourque played 1612 before finally getting his name on the Cup.

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For a player who is universally respected and admired by the hockey universe for his accomplishments on the ice and his unblemishable character, few would disagree that Iginla doesn’t deserve his name on the Stanley Cup.

As Wednesday approaches quickly, we can all hope that Iginla get’s the chance he deserves and that the hockey gods, through Joe Sakic intercede on his behalf.