The Penguins got Iginla?
(big thanks to ESPN for having that tweeted out)
I am pretty stunned. The Penguins went and got Brenden Morrow, the captain of the Dallas Stars, then go out and get another captain.
All Ray Shero had to do is give up their first round pick (likely to be one of the final picks) and the rights to unsigned draft choices Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski.
You read that right. That is all the Penguins gave up. No top prospect, no current NHL talent, that is it.
As we would all find out as the information comes in it turns out that the Bruins had a much better deal on the table for Iginla but since he had a no trade clause he said he wanted to go to Pittsburgh and thus making it nearly impossible for Calgary to get the best deal on the table. Ray Shero knew that.
Now that Iginla is on the team it is going to bring up a ton of expectations and it is now Stanley Cup champions or bust. Teams already came out on full force to beat a team that has some of the best talent in the NHL but to add guys like Morrow and Iginla they are like the kid that takes all the toys in the sand box. I mean can you still have fun in the sand box? Sure, but if you had the dump truck you could move the sand and pretend to build thing. OK, I am done. You get the point.
I am sure you all know about Iginla by now. He has spent his entire career in Calgary and he is as much that team as anything in their history and this had to be a tough time. Here is a quick look at his career:
Now, Iginla is no longer the 80-90 point guy that he was in his prime with the Flames but the best part about this is that he doesn't have to be. He doesn't have to be the guy here and the Penguins have a ridiculous amount of talent that can help him out. The other thing that gets brought up, but probably not enough, is that Iginla isn't just about goal scoring and points but he isn't afraid to grind it out and work for those loose pucks, but is something the Penguins love to do in order to take control of play.
Now, where is he going to play? Do you break up the first line? Does he play with James Neal and Evgeni Malkin? I have no idea. I can see it either way. If it were up to me I think I would pencil in Iginla with Malkin and Neal and keep the top line intact while dropping Morrow to the third line. I actually think that when the Penguins got Morrow they were hoping that he could be more of a third line guy if they could find a top six forward so this might have played right into their hands. I just don't touch the top line. Even on nights when the Penguins aren't playing well that first line is just on another level with puck possession and they create unlimited chances. Dan Bylsma doesn't always stick to lines so I would imagine things get mixed up a good bit the first few games but, like I said, I don't touch the first line. This will give Tyler Kennedy an opportunity to play on the fourth line where he can be very valuable and just make this team even stronger.
How about Ray Shero though. So far this season he gave up four draft picks, Joe Morrow, Agostino, and Hanowski and turned that into Iginla, Morrow, and Douglas Murray. Really no idea how he does this. Shero knew this team was close and even in the midst of a 13 game winning streak he goes out and gets two of the top targets in the trade market and only gave up one legit piece to land all of those. Bravo.
All this being said the Penguins don't win games on paper. They still have to go out and win the games on the ice and if you remember the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins you know that just stepping out on the ice doesn't mean you are going to win. The target is on the Penguins back now and while you might think this makes things easier, it doesn't. We will see how the Penguins handle the pressure the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
Who cares though. What a night. What a day. Great to be a fan of the Penguins right now.