Colorado Avalanche: Saying Goodbye to Jarome Iginla

Nov 14, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Colorado Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla (12) before the game against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Colorado Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla (12) before the game against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Colorado Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla is heading to the LA Kings for a chance to play in the post-season one more time.

The Colorado Avalanche traded Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings for a conditional fourth round draft pick in the 2018 draft. The condition is apparently that either the Kings make the playoffs or that Iginla re-signs with the team next season. Otherwise LA retains their draft pick.

The Kings are currently one point out of the final wild card spot in the west.

The Colorado Avalanche also retain half of Iginla’s salary. Jarome is set to become an unrestricted agent at the conclusion of this season.

Reaction to the return for the trade is a mixed bag among Avalanche fans. Some are incensed that Colorado may get nothing in return for him while having to retain half his salary (which equates to about half a million dollars for the remainder of the season). Most are philosophical that Iginla was unlikely to have ever received a big return since he’s 39 and having the worst season of an otherwise stellar career.

All of us are happy that Iginla is going to at least get a shot at playing in the playoffs. Hey, the last time the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup, they made the playoffs last minute as the eighth seed.

Anyway, whatever you think of the trade value, or Iginla’s contributions to this team, you have to respect the man and the player. And everyone does.

The Colorado Avalanche twitter summed it up beautifully:

Iginla is a future Hall of Famer, and he achieved the milestones while skating for the Avs.

Funnily enough, one of those milestones was his 600th goal — which he scored against his new team, the Kings:

Denver Post writer Mike Chambers is a big fan of Iginla’s:

Fellow Denver Post writer Terry Frei has high praise:

More from Mile High Sticking

That’s saying a lot since Frei has been writing for the Post for decades.

I remember when we first got news that Jarome Iginla was coming to Colorado. Personally, I was still stinging a little from Paul Stastny leaving. My first thought then was “We traded him for a future Hall of Famer!”

Now, I know we didn’t actually trade Stastny for Iginla, but that’s kind of how it worked out.

Jarome has always been an ambassador to the fans and a true class act. I think he also did pretty well with mentoring the younger players. My personal favorite was when he taught youngster Nathan MacKinnon to fight:

Iginla is the quintessential power forward. And no matter his age, he’s always been ready to throw down for a teammate. Indeed, Iginla’s penultimate fight for Colorado — though technically not labeled such — came after Alexei Emelin laid an unnecessarily big hit on Avs forward Joe Colborne during that 10-1 spanking:

His final fight in burgundy and blue was even more meaningful. He did a former Av, Cody McLeod, a solid by agreeing to drop the gloves so Cody could prove his heart to his new team:

One of my personal favorite fights came against the Winnipeg Jets. The 37-year-old Iginla faced off with then-21-year-old Adam Lowry. The young pup looked dazzled that he was getting his butt beat by a personal hero:

Naturally, the future Hall of Famer didn’t provide simple goon services for the Colorado Avalanche. He played a total of 225 games (never missing a single one due to injury or illness) for the Avs. He scored 59 goals and earned 65 assists for a total of 124 points.

Here’s Iginla’s final goal for Colorado:

One thing I’ve said about Iginla is he seems to be a calming influence. When you hear him talk and watch his face — whether it’s smiling or frowning — he makes you feel better. What’s more, he’s been one of the best players for taking time to meet with fans.

Next: Importance of Giving Iggy his Shot

The Iginla Experiment didn’t go how we’d planned. Or how he’d planned. When he joined the group, it was right after the golden Why Not Us season when we thought we were a contending team. Turns out we’re in full rebuild, and that’s not the space for an aging veteran chasing his first Stanley Cup.

Once the playoffs start — and please, hockey gods, let the Kings be in it — I’m rooting for Los Angeles. Jarome Iginla deserves that respect from us. Best of luck, Iggy.