However, the Flames are near the bottom of the Western Conference standings and in danger of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth straight season.
So is it time for the Flames to give the face of the franchise a facelift?
NHL.com examines the pros and cons to the Flames making Iginla available to move prior to the April 3, 2013 NHL Trade Deadline:
Position: Right wing
Statistics: 27 games, 7 goals, 13 assists, 20 points
Salary status: Iginla is in the final season of a five-year, $35 million contract and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Keep him: The Flames are 14th in the Western Conference standings, four points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot. The way the team persevered through the loss of goalie Miikka Kiprusoff showed resiliency. Mikael Backlund, the team's best young player, is back from a lower-body injury that cost him a month, which has provided the offense a nice boost. After winning three times in their first 10 games, the Flames are 8-8-1. A few bounces and some good health, with Iginla making his usual strong contributions, and the Flames could stay in the hunt for one of the final playoff spots. Iginla has played every one of his 1,215 NHL games in a Flames uniform, and that kind of loyalty could influence him to sign another contract with the team.
Move him: Iginla could be the prize of the trade market. The return value for the Flames in an Iginla deal could provide the building blocks for a full-scale rebuild and return to success. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins have been mentioned as the most prominent suitors, but any team looking to solidify its playoff position should be interested. It would be difficult from a public-relations standpoint to move Iginla -- as well as convince the longtime Calgary captain to waive his no-trade clause -- but the potential bounty for a return really is too much to pass on. In addition, failing to trade Iginla ahead of the deadline could allow him to leave in the summer as a free agent, with the Flames getting nothing in return.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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