On December 20, 1995, just a mere 165 days after selecting Jarome Iginla in the 1995 NHL Draft, the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames made a deal that would change both franchises’ respective histories.
The Flames had been struggling to sign their star and Captain, Joe Nieuwendyk to a new contract. The Flames and Nieuwendyk had reached an impass and things weren’t going anywhere. Calgary offered Nieuwendyk a 3 year deal after an arbitrator awarded him a 1 year $1.85 million dollar deal, but he declined. So, with Nieuwendyk on the sidelines as the season was heading towards Christmas, the Flames traded their 4 time all star and Stanley Cup Champion to Dallas for some kid named Jarome Iginla and Corey Millen. Did the trade work out? I think the answer would be a resounding “yes.” Let’s look at each player (not including Millen who only played 92 games after the trade) below and you can make your own conclusions.
-20 year NHL veteran (1996-2017)
-1554 Games Played
-1300 points (625G 675A)
-81 NHL Playoff Games
-68 NHL Playoff Points (37G 31A)
-12 hat tricks
-6 time NHL All Star
-Art Ross Trophy (x1), Maurice Richard Trophy (x2)
-Played for Calgary (16 seasons), Pittsburgh Penguins (13 games), Boston Bruins (1 season), Colorado Avalanche (3 seasons), LA Kings (19 games)
-20 year NHL veteran (1986-2006)
-1257 Games Played
-1126 points (564G 562A)
-158 NHL Playoff Games
-116 NHL Playoff Points (66G 50A)
-14 hat tricks
-4 time NHL All Star
-Calder Memorial Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy
-3 time Stanley Cup Champion (Calgary 1989, Dallas 1999, NJ 2003)
-Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee (2011)
-Played for Calgary Flames (9 seasons), Dallas Stars (7 seasons), Florida Panthers (2 seasons), NJ Devils (2 seasons), Toronto Maple Leafs (1 season)
As you can see, the trade worked out well for both players and initially both teams. While Iginla never won that elusive Stanley Cup in his career, he has most certainly crafted himself a Hall of Fame career. He was the face of a franchise for 16 seasons and should no doubt have his number retired by the Flames (Nieuwendyk was retired as a Forever Flame). Like most players in search of their “holy grail” Iginla bounced around at the end of his career, getting his best/last Stanley Cup shot (outside of 2004) with the Boston Bruins in 2013-14.
The Dallas Stars immediately benefited from getting Nieuwendyk from Calgary and he from Dallas. The future HoF’er would sign a 5 year, $11.85 million dollar contract with Dallas, getting the years and money he was looking for. Within 4 years of being dealt, Nieuwendyk won his second Stanley Cup with the Stars and would win the Conn Smythe Trophy during their 1999 Stanley Cup Championship season. He would collect his final Stanley Cup with the NJ Devils in 2003, despite not playing in the finals due to a hip injury.
Deciding who had the better career is like choosing between your favorite child. Nieuwendyk was instrumental in the Flames wining their first and only Stanley Cup in 1989. The trade was hard for me (I was 19 at the time) because Nieuwendyk was one of my favorite Flames players. However, getting Jarome Iginla was one of the best, if not best moves (maybe a little short of trading Jim Craig to Boston for picks, one that became Mike Vernon) the Flames have ever made. Iginla became a fan favourite, a star in the community and the face of the Calgary Flames. Sure, he never got that Stanley Cup, but Iggy served the Flames for 16 seasons and almost by himself, carried the Flames to and through the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals.
Whatever your view on the trade, it can’t be forgotten that the 1989 Flames were a crumbling dynasty with major cogs from that machine being shed one after another. Nieuwendyk was one of those cogs and dealing him got Calgary a player they could rally around for years to come. I just wish the Flames were able to put the kind of talent together that Nieuwendyk played with during the Iginla years. It’s pretty scary to think what Iggy would have done with a little more talent playing beside him.
Who got the better of the Jarome Iginla/Joe Nieuwendyk trade?
This poll is closed
Push, they both did well.