With both Calgary and Philadelphia struggling, the long-rumoured swap of stars has come up again.
Iginla is 29 years old. He had one superstar-level season in 01-02 with 52 goals and 96 points. Aside from that year he has been as consistent as it gets in recent years:
99-00: 77 GP, 29 G, 63 PTS
00-01: 77 GP, 31 G, 71 PTS
02-03: 75 GP, 35 G, 67 PTS
03-04: 81 GP, 41 G, 73 PTS
05-06: 82 GP, 35 G, 67 PTS
He is the face of the Flames and the leader on and off the ice. He was outstanding in the playoffs when the Flames went to the finals (13 G, 22 PTS) and scored 5 goals in 7 games during their first round loss last year.
Gagne is 26 years old. He has also had one superstar-level season which was last year where he put up 47 goals and 79 points. Prior to last year his performance had slipped after improving each of his first three years:
99-00: 80 GP, 20 G, 48 PTS
00-01: 69 GP, 27 G, 59 PTS
01-02: 79 GP, 33 G, 66 PTS
02-03: 46 GP, 9 G, 27 PTS
03-04: 80 GP, 24 G, 45 PTS
Personally I don't think this swap would make sense for Calgary, no matter who else would be included in the deal. Gagne is a talented young player but his best season was playing with Peter Forsberg. Iginla on the other hand has not played with an elite Center and had his best year playing with Craig Conroy.
The Flames have scored just 31 goals in 11 games and Iginla has had 7 of them (23%). Including his asssists into the equation he has been in on 42% of their goals. More impressive is the fact that only two of Iginla's points have come on the powerplay. Iginla has been in on exactly HALF of Calgary's even-strength goals.
What Calgary needs is somebody to play with Iginla, not somebody to replace him. The Flames have an elite goaltender, a strong defence and some good depth players. It's time to add another top line player who can help Iginla to carry the load. Conroy would be a good start addition but I think they need more. And if they are willing to move Regehr (which has been the rumour) as part of a package, they should be able to land a very good player or an even-better rental player.
Some potential options could include:
* Scott Gomez
* Erik Cole
* Martin Straka
* Peter Forsberg
* Shane Doan
* Mike Comrie
* Mats Sundin
* Joe Sakic
* Joe Nieuwendyk & Gary Roberts
As for Philadelphia, I posted yesterday that their chances of making the post-season are unlikely in my opinion. If I were them I'd look to trade Forsberg and any other to-be-UFAs who have some value. They need to make the determination whether Gagne can be that player that they build the franchise around. From there they should add as many young players as possible and then when the summer hits they will have substantial cap room to make some noise in the off-season.