The Calgary Flames have lucked out. Ideal market conditions exist for them to get a solid return on their franchise player.
Analysts have been lamenting the need to trade Jarome Iginla for years now but Jarome himself has always been in the drivers seat on it. In fact due to his long tenure with the Flames, having seen several GMs come and go, he likely sits directly with the Owners and discusses the team's direction as well as his own.
He has that kind of pull.
From a pure hockey analysis perspective the Flames would have ideally traded Iginla 2-3 years ago but Jarome himself was likely one of the last people in Calgary to finally sober up from the high of the 2004 run to the Cup Final. Jarome never stopped believing that his Calgary Flames could do it again, if they could just make the playoffs, he knew he had Kipper behind him.
The face of a franchise, the greatest player in its history, the beloved son of the City of Calgary (well technically he was born in Edmonton but that is just another little sweet footnote in the Battle of Alberta) an ambassador not just of a hockey team but also a entire city.
Prior to this deadline a trade Iginla conversation was a heated debate. Usually a cool hockey analyst vs a passionate fan. No longer, now the whole fan base is ready for the trade, anticipating it, wherever he goes that team will suddenly see its support swell by a million Flames fans, all who will be cheering along side them for their Cup win for their beloved son.
Rather than rehashing the latest Twitter gossip, lets step back and look at market conditions. Something I think is going to factor heavily in this trade and has been over-looked. Lets also step into the mindset of GMs who sit on elite teams, they think differently because for them it is all about the "now", all about the Cup.
Most analysts have a tendency to love to pour over the prospects and draft picks and nuances down the road. There is no down the road for GMs who are going for the Cup, it is all about the right now.
That is why so many are shocked at deadline deals that strike everyone as overpays. They really aren't because they are the moves that take an already elite team over the top to the Cup and that is why they are made.
It is simply market value and final tactics for the ultimate goal, the Cup.
Just last year there was a little pause out there as the Kings went for Jeff Carter with a 1st and Jack Johnson. The Blue Jackets were over a barrel with Carter demanding the trade and many thought the Kings could have got him for less considering it was known Carter was demanding to be traded.
Same with the Philly trade made earlier for Mike Richards. Schenn, Simmonds and a 2nd, that one down the road may start to look bad for the Kings, if Schenn emerges as the player many anticipate him to be but really is either trade an overpay?
The Kings have the Cup.
It is the mindset of GMs on elite teams to pay top dollar to take their team over the top.
It is Carpe Diem Deadline Day.
Hossa signed for the Hawks and the moves made to solidify that Cup winning Hawk team that year. It happens every year because GMs are close and they need to make the final tweaks to seal the deal and the oft neglected other aspect in their thinking, is the addition by subtraction.
Not only do they add the player to their roster but they keep him from their fellow Cup Contenders.
There is a trade way back in Flames history that some in the NHL call one of the worst trades ever made. It is the young Brett Hull / Steve Bozak for Rob Ramage / Rick Wamsley (a decent back-up goalie) trade. Snarky and quick witted analysts laugh at the Flames on this one.
They traded a young elite player who went on to score 700+ goals and play 11 seasons for the Blues for a older proven top 4 D and average back-up Goalie. What a fleecing right?
Well, fact of the matter is the Calgary Flames of the late 80s were a top team staring into a dynasty Oilers team and needed to get over the top to win the Cup. They paid a high price but they got themselves a key player they needed to fill out their top 4 D and guess what, they won the 1989 Stanley Cup.
The Blues meanwhile sure got themselves a young elite player all right and the next 11 seasons Brett Hull spent with them did not result in a Cup. In fact the St. Louis Blues despite a long history of very good teams at certain points in time have never won a single Stanley Cup.
Their GMs have never sealed the deal. Will current version of the rising Blues break this pattern or are they doomed to repeat their franchise history but not having a Carpe Diem GM at the deadline?
Really, tell me who won that 80s Blues / Flames Hull trade?
If you are all about the leaves on the trees, the Blues clearly won it. The best player was clearly Hull and he went on to give them 11 seasons of elite performance.
If you step back and look at the forest and ask yourself what is it all really about? Is it about piling up elite young stars who thrill the fans night after night, over the years or is it about getting your teams name immortalized on Lord Stanley?
For me it isn't even a question, the Cup is what it is all about and Jarome knows it which is why he has cleared his trade this year.
The Mindset of the Cup Winning GM (No Cup, no Cred)
All about right now, all about the Cup, screw the future, screw the picks, screw the prospects, no one will even likely remember their names but everyone will remember the Cup win.
You can have a long history of good teams but who cares. Look at the Sharks, the Blues, the Sabres, they have all had not just good teams over the years but great teams but does anyone care? No Cup, no cred.
The tactics at the deadline as I mentioned before are two-fold. You want to over load on depth for the playoffs AND you want just as much to keep those potential players from your competition. Addition for your team and also subtraction from the other team, GM tactics at the deadline.
Their focus narrows, the good GMs, the ones who win Cups, they go for it.
The Pens are NOT out
A lot of fluff and puff out there in the blogging world and so forth that Shero and the Pens are out on Iginla. No way, Shero knows exactly what he is doing. He will sell the farm, heck he will bet the farm to put it into the more common cliche to get his Cup (Iginla is just a part of his equation)
Not only will he have the sickest depth in the NHL at that point, he will prevent his Bruin competition from getting better for THIS year. Shero is not building and he knows dynasties don't exist anymore but those Cup wins will never be forgotten.
If Shero gets Iginla he will have depth to protect from potential injuries and he will have on his hands for the short term probably the closest thing we will see to a mini-dynasty in the modern NHL. He will have a repeat Cup Contender on his hands. A team that can very seriously not only talk about a Cup this year but also next.
Two Cups, are you telling me Shero is out? No way.
You are never out until the deadline is over. When you go for the Cup, you go all out, you never stop until your team is piled as high as it can be and of course you overpay, the Cup is the point, not some really good team that doesn't quite have it all in place or sits around at the deadline and lets other elite teams improve.
Shero is not just looking for a final piece now, he is stocking spare final pieces to cover injuries and piling up depth. He is looking to lock up the 2013 Cup and planning to run for the 2014 Cup as well and that all makes sense for the level of team he is sitting on.
The 2013 Market
The Flames have really lucked out in this market. Shortened season, few real sellers, Morrow off the market now, multiple buyers interested, the Sellers dream situation of multiple bidders.
With multiple bidders it is pretty hard for Feaster to screw this up. He doesn't have to even counter because really all he has to do is let the Buyers auction up the price and I know Shero is in there and all in. The Bruins are under stress now and not only watching this year possibly slip away but also next with a Pens + Iginla team.
Are the Bruins still building? Protecting their Subban, Hamilton like they are golden boys who will bring them distant Cups in the next decade. If so, Chiarelli will not pay the price, if he does not have the laser focus of the right now, Carpe Diem GM going for the 2013 Cup Iginla will go to the Pens or elsewhere.
This is an ideal market for the Flames to trade, with one of the 4 candidate GMs, it really will come down to the GM with the biggest offer and the most intense "Cup Now" mindset. All 4 of these teams have recent Cups, which one really wants that 2nd Cup - the 2013 Cup?
Simple economics, scarce supply, high demand = high price and the price may shock the armchair analysts out there but when you want the Cup, you willingly overpay because you know that you are there, it isn't even just a final piece anymore to balance the team. It is depth, it is covering off playoff injuries and most importantly it is the final tactical move of keeping Iginla from your competition.
So what is the Iggy return?
Who knows? Last off-season I would have been happy with Iginla for a 1st and a strong prospect. Now? Well all these scenarios over at Flames Nations are fine with me and no Flames fan should be upset with any of these returns.
If the Flames get any more than the scenarios suggested in this article, well they are just flat out lucky that Iginla went on the market this season and ended up as the #1 target. If he had gotten mixed up in it last year with Nash or in Kovie's year, it certainly would have been less.
Fans of the team that acquires Iginla, should not be upset with the price paid either. It will be true market value at the deadline for a Cup focused GM. It doesn't matter what is on the farm, doesn't matter what the pick, prospect is, all that matter's to that buying GM is what is on the ice right now in the playoffs and that is how you win Cups.
The elite GMs know it and that is why they win Cups.