Los Angeles Kings Should Consider Jarome Iginla Trade

Dec 16, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter (rear right) gestures on the bench against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Kings won 1-0 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 16, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter (rear right) gestures on the bench against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Kings won 1-0 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

There has been a lot of buzz recently about whether Jarome Iginla will be moved by the Colorado Avalanche before the trade deadline. One of the teams in need of his services is the Los Angeles Kings.

Scott Burnside of ESPN has an interesting piece about which seemingly available player would fit best for each team looking to make a move, and Iginla was his pick for the Kings.

Los Angeles is in a very fascinating position right now in regards to whether or not they’ll be buyers or sellers before the March 1 deadline.

Luckily it’s still over a month away, but the Kings have a lot to prove in the next month. Their performance over that span will likely dictate how they approach the deadline.

What’s unfortunate is that it now appears like Jonathan Quick won’t return before the trade deadline, and Tyler Toffoli still has an undetermined return date.

The Kings aren’t going to have a fully healthy lineup before the deadline, so it’ll be impossible to fully assess where they are as a team before either becoming a buyer or seller.

If they hover within reaching distance of a wildcard spot as the deadline approaches, GM Dean Lombardi could be tempted to add a reinforcement of some kind.

This team has struggled to score goals this season, ranking just 22nd in the league in goals per game.

Jeff Carter has 24 goals, Tanner Pearson has 15 goals, and no other player on the roster has more than 8 goals.

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This is a gritty, defensive oriented team. They rank 1st in the league in both fewest shots allowed on goal per game as well as hits per game.

Peter Budaj has played well in net during the absence of Jonathan Quick. This team’s biggest need is goal scoring.

Iginla had 22 goals in 82 games last season for the Avalanche, but has just 6 goals in 46 games this season at 39 years old. 

Although the physical tools have certainly declined, he still possess valuable leadership skills and scoring savvy to help a team down the stretch.

Iginla is in the final season of his contract, and is due about $5.3 million this season. The Kings are under the salary cap by slightly less than $2 million.

The Avalanche have about $1.5 million of cap space currently, and if they could get another team to take on the Iginla salary, that’s a little under 7 million they could conceivably absorb in acquired contracts.

In order for the deal to work, the Kings would have to send around $3.5 million in salaries to the Avalanche.

A team is never forced to deal with one team exclusively, or even at all for that matter. The logistics of an Iginla trade to the Kings not only have to make sense economically, but the Kings also have to outbid the other teams wanting an aging legend to help push them over the edge.

How much would the Kings be willing to realistically give up for a 39 year old who’s nearing the end of a brilliant career?

Matt Greene makes $2.5 million and is often scratched. He could have been packaged with a guy like Nick Shore or Devin Setoguchi, but Greene is out with a back injury right now and it’s not clear when he’ll be healthy enough to return.

If not Greene, maybe you’d send Tom Gilbert, who makes $1.4 and is often scratched, and package him a trio like Shore, Setoguchi, and Jeff Zatkoff.

Whether Colorado would have any interest in that deal is dubious, but it’s really difficult for a team like the Kings to give up valuable assets for a 39 year old set to be a free agent with 6 goals this season. Maybe added draft picks would entice the Avalanche.

It’s always hard to speculate on trades like this involving a market that hasn’t yet materialized. The Avalanche are said to be wanting a 3rd or 4th round draft pick, but if current NHL contracts are required to satisfy salary cap figures, the Aves would need to weigh their options on what players they’d immediately receive for Iginla.

The other matter is that Iginla would have to waive his no-trade clause. He essentially has to approve of the franchise he’d be sent to.

Darryl Sutter was his head coach in Calgary when the Flames went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, so maybe Iginla would want to come to Los Angeles to try to hoist his first Cup with the coach he came so close to obtaining it with 13 seasons ago.

The Kings have won 2 of the past 5 Stanley Cups. They have a winning culture, and presumably could do damage in the playoffs if they’re able to squeak in. Iginla would certainly help in that capacity.

But there’s also the strong possibility that a team with a better record than the Kings proposes a deal to the Avalanche, and Iginla would rather go to a team that seemingly has a better chance of winning a Cup as things stand right now.

It’ll be interesting to see how Colorado handles the Iginla sweepstakes. Will they put more of an emphasis on getting a decent return for Iginla? Or sending Iginla to his prioritized destination instead?

It’ll have to be some combination of both due to that no-trade clause, but how far in either direction the pendulum swings will be crucial.

Suppose Team A and Team B get Iginla to waive his no-trade clause, but he’d rather go to Team A while Team B offers Colorado the better package. What do they do?

The Avalanche have been so abysmal this season that they really have no incentive to keep Iginla, but they still have to pursue a course of action that is in the best interest of the franchise.

The humanitarian argument is that Iginla is a legendary player, and this is his last chance to win a Cup. The Avalanche should oblige him and send him off wherever he chooses to go amongst interested teams, even if they can’t get the best deal for themselves in return.

The Kings don’t have the farm system that other teams boast right now, and it’s going to be really interesting what the market ends up being for Iginla.

Yes he’s a legendary power forward, but he’s also 39 years old. Teams should avoid paying too much for a name instead of what that name currently represents.

Next: Los Angeles Kings Get Bad News Regarding Jonathan Quick

Lombardi should proceed with caution, but still be awarded the benefit of the doubt because those 2 Stanley Cups he has won in Los Angeles. Iginla would be a nice addition for a modest price, but don’t panic and give up too much for a 39 year old.