It is an almost daily occurrence that I receive texts, tweets, and other messages from friends and acquaintances as to the fate of Jarome Iginla. I don’t make a habit of spewing my opinion to everyone that asks me about this because nothing has been confirmed by the Flames organization or by Jarome himself. This is the first time I have ever said what is truly in my heart and mind about the rumours surrounding one of my favourite players in the NHL.
I was one of the die-hards who wouldn’t even consider the idea of a rebuild, instead I held onto the nostalgia of 2004 and the glory of the Red Mile. As the Flames quietly slipped into oblivion over the past few seasons, I have come to my senses and tossed aside the nostalgia in favour of doing what is right for the team. It’s obvious by now that the Flames need to rebuild.
No one else on the team is more deserving of the best of the NHL than Jarome Iginla. He has stood the test of time on our team, and he has proven himself to be one of the greatest players the NHL has ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Some have said that Iggy’s time to shine is over, but I don’t agree. I think that Jarome needs his chance to shine again, and a rebuild is the only way for him to be able to show his true potential again. Whether it’s time for Iginla to go or whether he decides to stay, I want what’s best for him.
Jarome deserves a cup. If the time comes that it is announced that Jarome is leaving Calgary, I hope he will go to either Chicago (West) or Pittsburgh (East). In Chicago, Jarome could flourish as a veteran on such a young team. The younger players could help him achieve the success that has eluded him for a couple seasons now in Calgary. He would be an asset to any team, including the Blackhawks, because he has the experience and skill to show to a team of younger players. In Pittsburgh, Jarome and Sidney could do a lot of good in the NHL. With Crosby being on the road to point-streaking utopia, Iginla and Sid could be one heck of a force to be reckoned with. They would both bring out the best in each other. Jarome needs new players to help him achieve what he rightfully deserves.
On the other hand, Jarome’s a franchise player, and he’s been the face of the Calgary Flames for a long time. He has clearly stated that he does not want to go anywhere else. The only other option for Iginla to live out his potential as a player is to rebuild the entire Flames team but keep the captain. This would be the long-term solution because it would take a lot longer to re-establish a team that needs to be stripped down to their bare bones and rebuilt from the ground up. Iginla, if he stays, will not see a cup this year, and possibly not next year either.
Ultimately, it’s up to Iginla and the Flames to decide what to do. As a long-time fan, and a supporter of Jarome during his entire career, it was hard for me to accept the idea of him leaving the team. But, if he does, I know that it will be in his best interest. Whether he stays or whether he goes, I will always be a fan of Jarome Iginla because he is the essence of what a great hockey player should be. The NHL is lucky to have him.