Late Wednesday evening Penguins general manager Ray Shero closed the deal on a trade that brought seven-time All-Star Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh. I had a chance to talk to Shero late that night following the blockbuster deal.
How did this trade come about? When did you and (Flames general manager Jay) Feaster start talking, how did it progress and how was it finalized?
The last couple weeks while getting in touch with teams I was talking to Jay and said if you’re ever going to move Iginla, we would be interested. They were trying to see what they would do. I talked to him at the GM meetings. We talked about scenarios if they moved him, what his timeframe was. We traded for Brenden (Morrow) and Doug (Murray), and I kept in touch for Jarome. Over the last day or so it became apparent they were going to move him. We started getting into more names. We talked before our game last night (against Montreal) and early this morning and throughout the day. We kept at it. The first-round pick was very important for them. We were prepared to do that for Jarome Iginla. We worked on a number different scenarios player-wise. Ended up with two good college prospects. That’s the price for Jarome Iginla. That’s what you have to do. That’s what we did.
Twitter seemed convinced that the Boston Bruins had landed Iginla. Were you following any of that or know about other teams vying for him?
I saw some of that. I never asked Calgary who was involved. I had no idea. It was just what I read or saw. It didn’t really matter what other teams are doing. You have to do what’s best for yourself and be prepared to pay what you’re willing to pay, not more or less. You try to do a fair deal with everybody.
Did you speak with Jarome to persuade him to waive his no-trade clause as you had with Brenden Morrow? If so, what did you say to convince him to join the Penguins and what else did you discuss?
I just talked to him after the fact. That was it. He agreed to waive and come to Pittsburgh. The trade conference call was done with the league. Everything was final. That was it. I talked to him a while ago after it. He said he was excited to come to Pittsburgh. He said he would help anyway he could, didn’t care about role or who he was playing with. He wants to help the team win and be a part of it. It was a big change after 16 years in Calgary so I’m sure it will be quite emotional. We have a month sort through the emotions, find some roles for guys, players accepting of those and playing good hockey. The team on paper doesn’t mean too much. We have to do it on the ice. Chemistry for a hockey team is very important.
What does a player like Iginla, even at his age, bring to a team like the Penguins that already has so many stars of its own?
He brings a lot of different elements, ability to play with good players, play in tough areas, good leadership. He wants to win. He’ll accept any role that’s asked of him by coaches or teammates. From the people I’ve talked to that have played with him talk about what a great teammate and person he is. My expectation is that he’ll be a really good fit in terms of the team and the guys that we have. Jarome Iginla is 35 years old. He’s not 45. He’s like a few other guys that have come here that seem to be rejuvenated playing with these younger players. That’s what we’re hoping for with the guys that we picked up. Hopefully, that will be the case.
Do you know where exactly he’ll fit in with the team? Who his linemates will be? Will he play on the power play? Any idea where to slot him?
That will be up to Dan (Bylsma). They have a month to work things out as far as where things go and what the fit might be. They may play with different players here and there and find that fit with what the roles are and who’s comfortable with whom. We have some time to sort through that and find those roles.
Is this it for the Penguins in regards to trades? Or are you continuing to talk and tweak the lineup that you have before next Wednesday’s trade deadline?
There is a week to go. We’ve done quite a bit and feel good about the team. Talked about this quite a bit with the chemistry of our team, we’re not looking to bring in a busload of players. We brought in three significant players for us, what we believe is a good fit for us. Back in ’09 we brought in (Chris) Kunitz, (Bill) Guerin and (Craig) Adams at the deadline. They found a way to fit in. I expect the same thing here. We’ll continue to talk to teams and see what teams are doing and what’s out there. We’re pretty good at this point. We’ll get everyone in and playing and see what next Wednesday brings us.