Well, the Pittsburgh Penguins have officially acquired Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames. In exchange for the veteran’s experience the Penguins have traded their first round selection in the 2013 entry level draft and unsigned college prospects Ben Hanowski and Kenny Agostino.
Amid rumors and credited reporting, Jarome Iginla had initially been on his way to Boston. After a tough loss to the Canadiens, Boston fans were rejoicing in emphatic jubilance to have such a revered player help fix whatever ail their team. Twitter erupted with numerous reports on how the trade was won and how Boston has pulled into a virtual (paper champion) tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins after they had acquired Douglas Murray and Brenden Morrow earlier this week. The news started to shift very awkwardly late into the night as many started to report the details of the trade. The only thing missing was the press conference and that is what changed everything.
General Manager Jay Feaster took the podium and the rest is history. Pittsburgh had won a massive trade in acquiring Iginla. His leadership, grit, and skill set are tremendous. To try and put into words what this acquisition means is almost impossible. Iginla picked Pittsburgh, just as Morrow did and for the most part Murray.
In return for all of this veteran experience, all of which are only rentals; the Penguins have traded away a 2013 1st round pick, 2nd round pick, 5th round pick, a 2014 2nd/3rd round selection, and three prospects who are all considered pro level talents. It seems like a lot and yet it seems like nothing.
All of this is truly in part to the gift that keeps on giving, the trade of Jordan Staal. Last season the Penguins had two first round draft picks and with their selections (8th and 22nd) the Penguins selected top 15 talents Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot. They also received a high prospect defenseman in Brian Dumoulin and of course, Brandon Sutter. In trading Zbynek Michalek last summer, the Penguins received a mid level defensive prospect and a third round draft selection.
It was these trades that have allowed Pittsburgh to go all in this season. It was the success of last summers movements and drafting that created opportunity. It has been excellent drafting and scouting that has given Pittsburgh this opportunitty. They are without a draft selection in the first two rounds this season, but as it stands now the Penguins will be fine.
So what does the line up look like? This is a question that only Bylsma can truly answer. I would like to see Crosby play with Dupuis and Iginla on the top line. This will allow Kunitz to play on the second line with Malkin and Neal. While sacrificing some of the great scoring and chemistry between Crosby and Kunitz, the Malkin/Neal combination needs a strong defensive and fore-checking presence. This would balance out the great scoring of Malkin and Neal. The third line would then be the team’s official shut down line with Morrow/Sutter/Cooke. A line that pins a nasty match up speed, tenacity, and puck movement would be a top lines worst enemy. Finally, the Penguins have a combination of Tanner Glass, Craig Adams, and Joe Vitale/Tyler Kennedy/Dustin Jeffrey. Glass and Adams are key penalty killers that must remain in the lineup and the remaining will fight for time unless another trade is in the making. Beau Bennett will most likely be sent down to the AHL until the April 3rd deadline when the rosters expand.
“We are all in” Ray Shero