The Penguins are all in for a Stanley Cup.
In the past four days, Pittsburgh has added three new faces to the lineup to gear up for a title run. First Brenden Morrow from Dallas, then Douglas Murray from San Jose. The latest addition, and arguably the biggest prize of all, is Calgary’s Jarome Iginla.
“We talked to (Flames general manager) Jay (Feaster) and said if you’re going to move Iginla we would be interested,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. “Over the last day or so it became apparent they were going to move him. We started getting into more names and scenarios.
At 1:25 a.m. Eastern standard time the Flames and Penguins announced the trade of Iginla to Pittsburgh in exchange for prospects Ben Hanowski, Kenny Agostino and a 2013 first-round pick.
“The first-round pick was very important to them,” Shero said. “They ended up with two good college prospects. That’s the price of Jarome Iginla. That’s what you have to do. That’s what we did.”
And just like that, Iginla became a Pittsburgh Penguin.
“I talked to (Iginla) after the fact. He agreed to waive (his no-trade clause) and come to Pittsburgh,” Shero said. “It was a big change after 16 years in Calgary so I’m sure it will be quite emotional. He said he was excited to come to Pittsburgh.”
Iginla, 35, played the last 16 seasons in a Flame uniform – many wearing the “C” as captain. He’s a seven-time NHL All-Star and a 500-goal and 1,000-point scorer. Iginla, who has won two Olympic gold medals, is a two-time 50-goal scorer that has 11 straight 30-goal seasons.
“He brings a lot of different elements, ability to play with good players, play in tough areas, good leadership,” Shero said. “He wants to win. 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.”
What Iginla’s role will be with the Penguins and whom he’ll play with hasn’t been figured out yet. However, Shero said Iginla is willing to do whatever it takes to win.
“He said he would help any way he could, didn’t care about role or who he was playing with,” Shero said. “He’ll accept any role that’s asked of him by coaches or teammates.
“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.”
Iginla has nine goals and 22 points in 31 games in the current season. But Shero is hoping Iginla will follow in the footsteps of past older veterans that have come to Pittsburgh in trades and finds a new spark in his game.
“Jarome Iginla is 35 years old. He’s not 45,” Shero said. “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.”
Iginla also has an impressive trophy collection: Art Ross (scoring champion, 2001-02); Lester B. Pearson (outstanding players as voted by peers, 2001-02); two Rocket Richards (goal-scoring champion, 2001-02, ‘03-04), King Clancey (2003-04) and Mark Messier Leader Award (2008-09).
One thing Iginla is missing is a Stanley Cup and that’s the reason he chose to come to Pittsburgh.
Shero has put together the pieces to win that Cup. Now it’s up to the players to take care of business.
“The team on paper doesn’t mean too much,” Shero said. “We have to do it on the ice.”