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Not a new notion, but different timing: what about Iginla for the Leafs, now? (How about throwing in Kiprusoff?)

Before someone reminds me that this is hardly a new idea, let me just set the table a bit differently today….

I realize there has been talk, in the past, of the Maple Leafs acquiring Jarome Iginla. (At least I think there has…maybe not so much this season?  Or maybe I’m just making things up…)  But regardless, I think it's worthy of discussion- now. Because things are different now than they were at any time in the last two seasons.  And everyone involved in this possible Calgary-Toronto discussion is in a brave, new world heading into the 2012-’13 NHL season.

The Flames are coming off (like our beloved Maple Leafs) yet another atrocious (well, not atrocious, maybe, but certainly not successful, despite outstanding goalkeeping…) non-playoff season.  Their GM, Jay Feaster, surely will hire his own man behind the bench this summer, as the lengthy, sibling-filled Sutter era seems poised to come to an un-satisfying end for all concerned.  Feaster needs and wants to make his mark as the guy in charge.  Flame fans have seen a team that came painfully close to a Cup not that many years ago age not so gracefully.  It is, by modern standards, an old, over-priced roster in need of an infusion of young talent.  Goaltending (Kiprusoff) they have largely had; leadership they’ve certainly had, at least on paper.  Experience?  Tons of that, too.

Success, though, not so much.

Closer to home the Leafs are building what most fans still hope is a young, talented core, with more emerging talent on the way via the now well-stocked and improved pipeline.  But we don’t have certainty in terms of our goaltending (unless you believe Reimer, Scrivens or one of the other kids can handle the load next season), we don’t have leadership and we don’t have veteran experience.

It would just seem logical for these two teams to get together to the mutual benefit of both franchises.  As in, we’ll take your two “old”, expensive guys who haven’t been able to lead you to the playoffs, and you take some of our young talent that just may develop better with you than they have with us.

Feaster is no hockey fool.  He was part of building a very nice team in Tampa, and won a Cup in a market that, well, doesn’t really need a hockey team, but, what can I say.  They’re there.  The guy won there and while it was Rick Dudley (I am mis-remembering this one?) or someone else who set the table for him, Feaster, like Burke did years later in Anaheim, closed the deal.  So the guy knows, we presume, how to add pieces to a hockey club.

While I’m not a numbers guy, as regular visitors here will attest, my understanding is that Iginla has a year left on his current contract.  He is scheduled to make 7 million next season.  (I love how we throw staggering numbers out there like it's nothing…you know, three million for this guy, six million for that guy…)  For his part, Kiprusoff has two more years on his deal, worth less than 6 million a year.  I would guess Kipper has two more good years in him, but don’t hold me to that.

So while these guys are costly, don’t they provide at least some of what we are yearning for in Leaf universe?  Experience, leadership—and goaltending.

I well realize some wonder (even question) if Iginla is a big-time leader.  Heck, we lived through that debate with Mats Sundin here for years.  We’re used to it.  But Mats sure was a fine player, as Jarome has been for ages in Calgary.  Is Iginla tired, a step slower, worn down after years of fighting, taking a beating, etc.?


All the more reason to consider a guy like him, as long as we all know we aren’t getting the Iginla of 8 years ago.  (And who knows, maybe he’d sign here for reasonable money next summer?)  But he is a player that, if we set realistic expectations, say 20-24 goals a season, and hope he stays healthy and we didn’t over play him, could really contribute here.  Maybe even be a bit of a, dare I say it, Gary Roberts?

Kiprusoff would (if this guy can’t play goal in Toronto, well I don’t know who we’ll ever find…) surely be able to provide us with some short-term quality goaltending, as long as we don’t jump overboard every time he has a lousy game, as all goalies do.

Again, if we have more modest expectations—like him playing really well half the time, just "OK" a quarter of the time and sieve-like the rest of the time, we can handle it.

Now, I’m not a cap guy, so I gather we would have to move people and salary to make this work.  In light of the Phaneuf trade, I don’t see Calgary being prepared to take more fourth-line guys for two (albeit aging) stars.  So we would have to cough up something of substance, something that will give Calgary fans hope and the franchise itself some value.

Just tossing names out there, how would you feel if we sent them Reimer, Schenn and a promising young Marlie forward?  (If I “name names”, people will be upset, because everyone seems to love Kadri, Colborne, Ashton, and the current juniors the Leaf have already drafted.  You generally have give something to get something, though…)

To reiterate a point I’ve made many times:  I love Reimer, his attitude and everything about him except for the fact that he had an unfortunate setback this season and, like most young goalies, has things he needs to work on.  And I’ve often cautioned here against trading young defensemen.  But clearly something seems amiss with Schenn and the organization. (And aren’t these both western Canadian kids?  They’d be popular in Calgary, for sure…)

To be clear, you know this is not a rumor site.  That’s not my thing and I don't suggest this as anything other than a discussion point for this particular forum.  We’ve all opined on what the Leafs “need”, and I’m simply suggesting the two Flame veterans would provide some of what’s missing here.  Would it ensure success?  Heck, I have no idea.  Tampa Bay couldn’t win this year with Stamkos, Lecavalier and St. Louis (maybe they would have been fine if they still had Richards…) and Anaheim is not a good team even though they have stars like Bobby Ryan and Getzlaf.   So who knows?

We’ve got lots of time to debate the merits of any potential moves.  But it’s going to be, hockey-wise, a very long and potentially dull spring (63 days ‘till the draft, …62…61…) so why not start the discussion?


  1. All sorts of rumors that Gustavasson is being resigned to a long term deal:

  2. Would that be our friends at PPP having fun with us on April 1?

  3. This is exactly the type of deal I wouldn't do. If he were 5 years younger maybe but not now. As you said Iginla is older, slower and I'm not sure he has too many good years left in him. Typicaly power forwards start to break down in the early to mid thirties which is where Iginla is at. I suspect that we will start to see him getting injured more and taking longer to recover. I kinda see this as the Owen Nolan trade all over, if we had got him a couple of years earlier it could have been the difference instead he was hurt most of his time here. Once these power guys hit a certain age it is all diminishing returns.

    Kiprusoff on the other hand I really like. A true number one for reasonable dollars at 2 years. This buys the Leafs time until the goalie situation sorts itself out. Either Riemer, Scrivens or even one of the other guys could then be properly groomed to be the number one guy in 2 years. This would be a good idea im my humble opinion. This is a trade where I would sacrifice some of the young talent for in a heartbeat.

  4. Thanks Willbur. I understand your point, obviously, on Iginla. I was just wondering if he might provide something for the young guys on the team.

    As for Kipper, I guess we'll see if it's possible/realistic. Calgary needs to re-build, so you have to believe that may be a place they'd would start, in terms of acquiring young assets...

  5. I agree with Wilbur but I doubt that Kiprusoff will be made available. If Feaster is rebuilding with youngsters, doesn't he need a top notch goaltender to cover for the inevitable mistakes? To keep their young team from losing confidence? Sounds remarkably similar to what we have been saying is the Leafs' problem. I suspect Feaster would not want to go that route - he's seen the result in Leafland!

  6. Very good point're likely right.

    Again, I was just tossing a conversation-starter out there....


  7. You know what I was wrong to compare the Nolan trade for one with Iginla. When the Leafs traded for Nolan it was in the context of 100 point seasons and deep playoff runs.

    The Leafs are no wheres close to that level today. Yes Iginla does indeed have the very qualities we need. Unfortuantely, he costs to much and wouldn't even help them make the playoffs.

    I understand the Nolan trade and would do it again. If the Leafs had made the playoffs this year and were poised to make a big break through next year I would make the Iginla trade. They aren't and it would cost to much for no gain. Right player wrong time. Much like the trade for Kessel, right player wrong time.

  8. I would (and I think I've posted on this subject here a couple of times before) do the Nolan trade again, too, Willbur. Leaf fans so often use that trade by Quinn as an example of "selling the future", but Brad Boyes turned out to be the centrepiece of that deal, and he's since played for like five different NHL teams, so he has not been a huge-difference-maker in his career, despite a couple of nice offensive seasons.

    I would always "go for it" to get a Nolan type of gritty veteran (I'll never forget a particular playoff series when he was healthy and with the Sharks. He just willed them to a tough win in a lengthy playoff series...) who could hit and score, for a shot at winning a Cup...just like the Bruins did with Kaberle last year. When you're that close, and the Leafs were back then, you don't "wait for the future", at least in my mind.

    Thanks Willbur. I always respect your perspective.

  9. On another note, meritocracy has gone astray once again.

    Joe Colborne called up on an emergency basis. 0 goals and 2 assists in 19 games.

  10. "as long as we don’t jump overboard every time he has a lousy game"
    Unfortunately, that seems to be a tall order for Leaf fans.

    Sorry for going on something of a tangent, but I find some of Leaf Nation's expectations regarding goaltending to be very frustrating. While I had predicted Rynnas' honeymoon period wouldn't last long, I wasn't expecting fans to throw him under the bus the very next game- especially not a game where he was absolutely hung out to dry by his teamates. Scrivens then has one good game against a lesser team (and more importantly, actually receives some support), and now he is the projected replacement for Reimer (professional scouting opinion does give Scrivens the advantage, but one game seems a bit premature). And then of course, there is Gustavsson, who despite having a grand total of about 3-4 bad games this season, has been written off as "trash" by most of the fanbase (interestingly, apparently a number of other teams are interested in our trash because they specifically feel his struggles are the result of "poor management from the coaching staff").

    I'm not entirely certain where I am going with this, other than a worry that without an adjustment of fan expectations, and- more importantly- without changes being made (either by coaching, or through moves by Burke) to the team's defensive play, the Leafs will continue to spend precious resources playing musical-goalies in the futile hope that maybe something will stick. Here's hoping that whatever veteran they bring in (whether Kiprusoff or otherwise) will have better success then the previous seven or so goalies we've gone through.

    (As a grass-is-always-greener sidenote: I was amused to find out recently that even Rangers fans like to complain about Lundqvist giving up "softies".­)

  11. You make great points, Alexandra.

    Interesting what you say about Lundqvist- remember when Carey Price was a hero, then a bum, in Montreal? They go back and forth on him regularly.

    Miller has been brilliant for the Sabres the past month, but earlier this season he was really struggling. And that has been his career. Great seasons, but some pretty mediocre years, too.

    Tim Thomas didn't really make the NHL until he was well into his 30s.

    We could go on and on. There are so many examples of goalies who looked brilliant (Steve Mason in Columbus, who I still think can be a good NHL goalie) in the early part of their career and then they levelled off. Or, they struggled early and then matured. It takes time- and patience, and good coaching...not "over-coaching" and poor goalie "management" like we've witnessed so often here in Toronto.

    Great post Alexandra. Thanks.

  12. Thanks for the update, cbh747. The only thing that maybe is the case (and I completely agree with you, by the's a head scratcher yet again...) is what Darryl, I think it was, said in the comments section of yesterday's "meritocracy" post- that they are trying to give him a shot in the arm before the Marlies start the playoffs...

    But the message it sends to other guys who are working hard...I just don't know. Maybe he deserves it (I'm not following the Marlies closely enough, I'd have to rely on those who see the Marlies play a lot...) but on the surface, is he really the most deserving guy?

  13. I think calling up Colborne is for 2 reasons. First they need a center if Grabovski can't play. That limits them to Dupius, Zigomanis, Kadri and Colborne. I think the Leafs consider Kadri to be better suited for a winger in the NHL. The other 2 have to clear waivers and I am a little fuzzy on the waiver rules after the deadline. Pretty sure they can ba claimed though. Also they may be thinking 3rd line checking with Bozak and Connolly in the 1, 2 slots and Colborne has some size. Finally it gives Carlyle a chance to see him.

  14. I__am__I said...Makes sense. (For a lot of fans, that may not address the issue of whether he has really earned it, but it is what is is at this point in the season...) Thanks.

  15. Iginla may not be the type of deal Burke should be going after (and really, what motivation would Calgary have to trade with Toronto after their last disaster). Trading anything of value for a 35+ winger making 7mil a year is always tough to justify. As an alternative, the Leafs should be all over Shane Doan if he makes it to free agency. He may not have the scoring pedigree he used to have, but hes still good for 20 goals a year, he can throw his weight around, and is the type of player that can help some of our younger forwards become true professionals. He comes with a lot of the same qualities as Iginla can provide, and may not cost anything to get.

  16. Fair point, the shawn. While Doan may be past his past best before date as well, he brings those nice qualities you mention.

    Iginla is pricey for the next year, and would cost assets, yes. I do think he would be a nice fit for a year or two, but at a more reasonable salary, yes.

    Thanks for that the shawn......

  17. I doubt Calgary would trade Kipper. He has two years left so he holds good value for the team.

    Trading Iggy is a poor choice (from a fan and management POV, think Sundin) because he holds soo much value to the community. I referenced Sundin but it would be worse in Calgary because they don't get the fan support that Toronto gets regardless how lousy they do.

    Now to the fun, assuming Iggy is available and Kipper is a no. Franson, Kadri and a prospect like Holzer, Mikus, or Gysbers.

    And if Iggy signs (or not) how about Thomas for a couple years when he becomes a UFA? I'm sure he would still like to be a starter rather than backing up Rask. (and he won't get heat for White House snubbing) .

  18. I think you're right, Skill2Envy, but I honestly think Iginla will be moved if they can find a taker. Just a hunch.

    I hadn't thought about Tim Thomas. I can't imagine Boston and Toronto trading yet again, but who knows!?