The Calgary Flames have made too many foolish mistakes the past few years.
Turning Matthew Lombardi and a first-round draft choice into Ales Kotalik for the next two seasons at US$3 million each year is a biggie.
The ill-fated Brad Stuart trade, who came with Wayne Primeau for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew, is another. Not only did Stuart leave via free agency, the problem was compounded when Primeau had to be dealt to Toronto with a second-round draft choice to get rid of the contract GM Darryl Sutter signed him to.
The list could go on and on.
Dealing Jarome Iginla after this disappointing season would be the biggest folly of them all. Itís the type of move which could backfire in the same manner as the infamous
Doug Gilmour deal, which eventually crippled the organization for several years.
Iginla, who has a no-trade clause, said Wednesday he doesnít want to go.
ďI want to be part of the solution, and I donít think weíre that far (off),Ē he said.
ďItís tough today and I know thereís going to be lots of talk, but from my point of view, I want to be here not just because itís comfortable or itís a nice city or the fans are into it. Itís also because I think we can win.I know itís just words today and it feels very far (fetched) from the outside looking in, but thereís other organizations that turned it around pretty quickly and went with some little adjustments or big adjustments and got right back.
ďVancouver was out two years ago, and the last couple of years has been a strong team and moved up quickly. I believe we can do that.Ē
The Flames will have a better chance with Iginla than without him.
Although heís struggled to score this season ó 32 goals heading into Thursdayís clash with the Minnesota Wild, and none in the last nine games ó Iginla still remains the clubís biggest threat, and nobody waiting in the wings can replace his production.
(Besides, after watching the return for Dion Phaneuf and Olli Jokinen, can you trust Sutter will actually get more than just former 20-goal scorers in the US$3-million range and not actually high draft picks or prospects?)
By all means, Iginla is culpable in the teamís disappointing result, not just for his sub-par scoring in crunch time. He needs to evolve his game ó play more up-tempo, drive to the net and be more defensive minded.
Sure, he needs more offensive help, but Iginla has to remember heís the engine who drives the train, and itís too easy for those around to take shortcuts if they see him doing it.
By that token, head coach Brent Sutter needs to adapt, too. He insists there arenít handcuffs on his teamís offensive abilities, but itís obvious that hasnít sunk into the playersí heads.
As well, he must foster a more positive environment.
Should Iginla, who has a no-movement clause, decide he wants out, the club may not have a choice.
With his 33rd birthday this summer, Iginla may opt for a move if the club wants to go with a scorched-earth approach to rebuilding ó which would most likely result in finishing near the bottom of the standings.
Yes, these next two games could be his last in a Flames uniform.
Didnít sound like it.
ďI hope to be part of the solution and believe I can be, and I believe I will be,Ē he said. ďWeíre fortunate to have the fans we have and the organization to be as committed to winning as they are.
ďA lot of people are upset and should be. Weíre upset as players ... As far as changes, every year thereís always changes and we canít control that. Our control is on the ice to be the best we can be, and we didnít get it done.Ē