What would Iggy fetch?

Jarome Iginla. (Al Charest/QMI Agency)

Jarome Iginla. (Al Charest/QMI Agency)

Eric Francis, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:18 PM ET

CALGARY - As the debate heats up over whether Jarome Iginla should be traded to accelerate a rebuild, one of the biggest questions that needs to be asked is simple: What is the captain’s worth?

The Calgary Flames owners have a pretty good idea what he means to the club financially and otherwise.

But how much is he worth on the NHL’s open market?

If Flames GM Jay Feaster were to start shopping the 34-year-old Calgary icon this summer, what could he expect in return for the most important player in club history?

A poll of more than a dozen NHL GMs and executives found there would, in fact, be plenty of interest in the 11-time 30-goal scorer and the returns would be significant.

That said, there were several complicating factors in their minds, limiting the number of suitors and how much they’d be willing to pay.

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles could be the league’s pending labour strife stemming from the imminent expiry of the current collective bargaining agreement. With one year left on his contract at US$7 million, a team trading for Iginla would risk trading away important assets and getting nothing in return if the season is cancelled like it was in 2004-05 due to a lockout. He’d then be a 36-year-old unrestricted free agent.

“I wouldn’t take him unless I could get him to extend his contract first,” said one GM, who insisted on remaining anonymous as such talk would clearly be tampering.

“If that would be possible, then he’s worth a top-six forward and a first-round pick.”

Under the current CBA, teams could agree to a trade pending the possibility of a contract extension.

“Only a contender would want him, and they are all near the (salary) cap,” said another GM. “Jay would need to take back dough. He could get a good, established player and a first-round pick.”

One veteran GM, who pointed out “It just takes one GM to make a deal,” said he’d give up a first-rounder and a prospect.

Many made note of the fact Iginla turns 35 this summer and, obviously, isn’t worth nearly what he would have been … say … two years ago.

“He’s slowing down, but he can still shoot with the best of ’em,” said one executive, who said he could see a team offering the Flames a second-line forward, a top prospect and a first or second rounder. “That or two of your top prospects. Problem is, if you extend his deal past age 35 for more than a year and he gets hurt, then you’re on the hook for all of it.”

As per the CBA, when a player age 35 or older signs a multi-year contract, his average salary is counted against the team’s cap every year of the contract even if the player retires before the contract is up. Furthermore, such a player can’t be wiped from the cap if he’s buried in the minors.

Several executives suggested the summer wouldn’t be the best time to trade Iginla with players such as Zach Parise, Rick Nash and Ryan Suter also expected to be available. That said, it was also noted that because the price for a much younger Nash would be higher via trade (the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for three or four players), perhaps Iginla would be a nice fit for several teams losing out on the bidding for Nash via trade or others via unrestricted free agency.

The consensus among all the respondents is that Iginla could land the Flames a first-round pick and a top-six forward and/or a top young prospect.

Would it be enough for the Flames to consider moving its most prolific and popular player of all-time? Or is all of this moot as the club continues to believe Iginla can be part of the solution by staying?

Perhaps knowing what may be out there in exchange for Iginla will help the club choose a path that will require No. 12’s buy-in either way.

With that in mind, Feaster can rest assured there will be no charge for this service.


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