Iginla loves moves

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:21 PM ET

Jarome Iginla celebrated his 33rd birthday with his family.

The Calgary Flames captain figures Darryl Sutter provided a couple of presents for him.

Iginla couldn’t contain his excitement about Calgary signing centre Olli Jokinen and left-winger Alex Tanguay on the first day of free agency.

“I think we could have two of the best bargains in free agency,” Iginla said. “The moves today, I truly, truly believe we’ll have more offence. You can see we have proven scorers.”

Proven scorers who are coming off disappointing seasons.

Jokinen was traded away from Calgary five months earlier, and most fans were happy to see him depart.

Over a season split between Calgary and the New York Rangers, he compiled 15 goals and 50 points, nothing close to the expectations heaped upon Jokinen when he was acquired at the 2009 trade deadline.

Tanguay, who spent two seasons with the Flames but was dealt to Montreal in the summer of 2008, netted just 10 goals and 37 points with Tampa Bay last season.

“It’s brave to come back. I don’t know if I would have done it,” Iginla said of his boomerang teammates. “The easy thing for them, and the team, would have been to go the other way.

“It’s a big compliment to the organization, to the team and to the city they both came back and wanted to come back, because they could have tried to get more money somewhere else.”

Jokinen signed a two-year, US$6-million contract. Tanguay inked a one-year, US$1.7-million pact.

Iginla admitted he told GM Darryl Sutter he’d love to bring Tanguay back, believing the winger’s passing abilities have been sorely missed.

“He’s one of the most talented players I’ve played with. His passing ability is second to none,” Iginla said. “We have a good group of forwards, guys who can score or go to the front of the net, but I think we needed a little more creativity.

“Think of how he’ll help our powerplay. It’s hard to be the halfwall guy and pass through guys’ legs to make the plays. Alex can do that, and I think our powerplay will benenfit from that.”

Sutter asked Iginla earlier in the day what he thought about bringing back Jokinen.

The captain said the thought of adding a pure passer such as Tanguay makes it all work.

“I think (Jokinen) felt pressure to distribute the puck to the wings all the time,” Iginla said. “If you can add a guy like Tangs — and I don’t know if we’re all going to play as a line — but (Jokinen) won’t have to pass so often and will play his game.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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