By Allan Muir
Jarome Iginla has played his last game for the Calgary Flames.
The team announced that its captain would be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.
Iginla has played 441 consecutive games for the Flames, so a scratch tonight makes sense only if a trade is on the horizon.
Meanwhile in Providence, Boston’s top farm team has scratched two prospects: Jordan Caron and Alex Khokhlachev. Another potential trade chip, defenseman Matt Bartkowski, was scratched from Boston’s game against Montreal.
Something may be imminent.
UPDATE 6: In an absolutely shocking turn of events, Calgary GM Jay Feaster has just confirmed that Jarome Iginla has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In return for the 35-year-old veteran, the Flames receive Pittsburgh’s 2013 first-round selection and prospects Ben Hanowski and Kenny Agostino.
Hanowski, a 6-2, 198 right wing with the St. Cloud State Huskies, was the 63rd overall pick in 2009. Agostino is a 6-1, 200 left wing with the Yale Bulldogs. He was selected 140th overall in 2010.
Both players are fair prospects, but hardly blue-chippers. An NHL scout just told SI.com that “they’re probably top-10 in Pittsburgh’s system, but at the bottom of the top-10.”
Somehow Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero has managed to acquire Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray without having to sacrifice any of his top-five prospects. Absolutely remarkable job on his part.
Jay Feaster, from his press conference: “Our pro scouts feel very strongly about these players … they fit our criteria for hockey sense and they have good skill level.”
Not sure anyone is buying that, though. Though his hands were tied by Iginla’s four-team list of trade options, it’s hard to believe Feaster had two teams battling it out tonight for Iginla’s services and this was all he was able to snag. The question now is, if this was all that was on the table, why pull the trigger tonight? Why not wait and hope that desperation on Boston’s part would push up the price?
Iginla will have a farewell press conference Thursday morning at 10:30 local time in Calgary.
UPDATE 5: Multiple sources say deal is complete. Package going to Calgary not yet confirmed, but believed to be a 2013 first rounder, Alexander Khokhlachev and Matt Bartkowski. If that’s the case, it’s certainly less than what Jay Feaster originally wanted in return for his captain, but a reasonable deal for a 35-year-old on an expiring contract. First round is deep this year, so there should be a good player available when Boston’s pick comes up. Koko is a dynamic playmaking center with second line potential. Bartkowski is an NHL-ready third pairing defenseman.
More to come.
UPDATE 4: Looks like we’ll be waiting until the morning for this to be official. Makes sense. The B’s will want to maximize the PR impact of this deal.
Word out of Boston's camp is it's too late to make an announcement of this magnitude. Expects pressers in morning. Bring tissues Calgary.—
Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) March 28, 2013
UPDATE 3: John Shannon Sportsnet with this info:
Kevin Dupont of the Boston Globe added this:
Status quo here at Garden. No announcements. Saw Bartkowski leave for the night, and was NOT lugging his equipment bag.—
Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) March 28, 2013
There is some speculation that the delay may be a result of Boston working out an extension of Iginla’s contract. His current deal expires at the end of this season, at which point he would be an unrestricted free agent.
UPDATE 2: A source on-scene reports Iginla has left the Saddledome.
UPDATE: George Johnson of the Calgary Herald with some speculation:
The two kids – Bartkowski and Khoklachev, plus a first-rounder – for Iginla. That's the scuttlebutt.—
George Johnson (@GeorgejohnsonCH) March 28, 2013
Make of this what you will: Bruins scout was overheard at an NHL rink tonight saying Iginla deal is 100 percent done & he's going to Boston—
Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 28, 2013