Lanny retired as a Calgary Flame, the summer after the team won its first – and only – Stanley Cup. Theo retired a Flame after rejecting a contract by the team in a comeback bid that has been seen by many as a publicity stunt for his autobiography. Jarome Iginla was traded at this year’s deadline to the Los Angeles Kings from Colorado, reuniting with coach Darryl Sutter. The move was made to give Iginla one more chance at reaching the Stanley Cup finals in his career. The Calgary Flames have recently thrown a wrench into this trade.
Currently on an incredible run, the Flames continue to distance themselves from the Kings as well as other teams vying for one of two wildcard spots. The Kings are in mortal danger of missing the 2017 post-season dance while Calgary is threatening to overtake third in the Pacific from Anaheim.
Leading up to the trade deadline, social media was awash with wishful and hopeful fans wanting Calgary to bring Jarome back into the fold. As wonderful for the fans as this might have been, it would not have helped the team and in fact might have caused harm.
The current dynamic in the dressing room is the best this team has had since their unlikely run in the playoffs two years ago. While minor tweaks here and there wouldn’t – in fact didn’t – hurt their chemistry (Stone and Bartkowski), adding such a major name would definitely upset the balance of this team just learning to trust in themselves and each other.
Iginla is at the end of his career by this point and his best producing days on the ice are behind him. He’ll be hard-pressed to score 10 more goals this season, while Calgary has enough depth both on the main roster and in Stockton to more than beat that total on right wing. The team is currently averaging 2.67 goals per game this season. Admittedly this is on the low end of respectable but that stat is for the entire season: Since losing 5-1 against the Montreal Canadiens back in January, the team has gone 12-2-1, an incredible run. In that time, they’ve been scoring at an average clip of 3.2 GPG, a very respectable stat.
Had the Flames brought Iginla back into the fold, the biggest thing he would have provided, besides a disruption to the chemistry they have found and are solidifying, is nothing more than a distraction. He would have been the main focus of the fans and the media with the unfortunate effect of having an extra burden placed on his shoulders. Management and coaches would feel obligated to a point to place Jarome in a position to fail.
Iginla is now part of this team’s legacy, which is where he belongs. However, he should one day return as a Calgary Flame – by signing a one day contract with the club then announcing his retirement. It simply not worth tarnishing his legacy at this point in time.