DENVER (AP) Jarome Iginla’s teammates are rooting for him to pack his bags and leave town.
Nothing personal, of course, they just want the charismatic Colorado Avalanche forward to be traded for what might be his final shot at a Stanley Cup title.
The 39-year-old Iginla is receptive to any sort of deal ahead of the March 1 NHL trade deadline. He’s even spoken with general manager Joe Sakic about the situation, since the Avs are well out of the playoff picture.
Article continues below ...
Iginla has only seven goals in the final season of his three-year deal. He’s uncertain how much longer he will play.
”Iggy wants one last shot at the playoffs. Everybody in this dressing room, around the league, feels the same way,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said. ”We’d love to see somebody like that win.”
Granted, Iginla’s probably not the first player teams inquire about when they place a call to the last-place Avalanche. That would be Landeskog or Matt Duchene.
But the Avalanche have a recent history of moving players to help them out – like when the team dealt Cody McLeod to Nashville last month.
”If he’s traded and has a chance to make a Cup run, he’s going to bring an amazing amount of experience to whatever team he’s traded to,” Duchene said. ”I’m hoping he can win a Stanley Cup this year. It would be pretty amazing to see that.”
This has been a trying season for an Avalanche team expecting big things even with the sudden departure of coach Patrick Roy in August. Their longest win streak is two games and they’re a league-worst 7-20-2 at home.
Grumbling, though, is far from Iginla’s style.
”Even when things are not going his way, he’s trying new things to find something that works,” Landeskog said. ”That goes to show what kind of determination he has.”
Iginla hasn’t given trade possibilities all that much thought. It’s wasted energy for something out of his control. He’s only been traded once near the deadline – when he went from Calgary to Pittsburgh on March 28, 2013.
”From my point of view, it’s nice to just focus on games, enjoy that part, enjoy competing,” said Iginla, a first-round pick by Dallas in 1995 before being shipped to Calgary that December. ”I might not be moving at the deadline. I don’t know.
”I’ve enjoyed it here and enjoyed the different relationships and getting to know the guys. It’s a great city. Lots of positives. We’ll see what happens.”
Iginla is currently 14th in league history for most games played (1,532), 16th in goals scored (618), 34th in points (1,289) and eighth in game-winners (97).
What’s more, he’s had 17 seasons with 20 or more goals, played in numerous All-Star Games and won two Olympic gold medals for Team Canada.
The only thing missing from his resume is a Stanley Cup title. He got close with the Flames in 2003-04, when they lost to Tampa Bay in Game 7.
”It would be awesome to have that final feather in his cap,” said Duchene, who lockers right next to Iginla at the practice facility. ”It’s cool to see the thirst and hunger he has for the game and for scoring goals. He’s like a little kid like that. I love to see it. I’m like that. I hope I’m still like that at his age.”
To think, Iginla wanted to follow in the footsteps of his childhood idol, Grant Fuhr, and become a goaltender. As a youngster, Iginla even got goalie pads one year for Christmas.
”I thought I really loved it,” Iginla said. ”Then, we’re crushing teams and you’re stopping only six shots. I was like, `No.’ That was the end of that dream. I wanted to be in the action.”
He always has been, too. For how much longer, that’s difficult to say.
”Whether it’s this year, next year, I don’t know,” Iginla said. ”But we all want to be part of the playoffs.”
NOTES: Defenseman Erik Johnson said he plans to play Saturday against Buffalo as he returns from a broken leg that’s sidelined him since early December. … F Rene Bourque (head) won’t travel with the team to Nashville for a game Thursday night.