The talk of the day yesterday surrounded the Edmonton Oilers and veteran free agent Jarome Iginla. Rumor circulated on social media that the sides were talking and could be close, and fans of course reacted in many different ways. It appeared, to me at least, that many are in favor of signing the former Calgary legend. I, however, am not one of those people.
Iginla had a horrible season last year in Colorado, registering only 8-10-18 in 61 games. He looked old, slow and almost incapable offensively. For one of the NHL’s best goal scorers, it was a season to forget. He was so bad in Colorado that the Avs basically gave him away at the deadline to the Kings.
Credit to Iginla, he looked much better in LA than he did in Colorado. With the Kings, Iginla looked rejuvenated and posted 6-3-9 in 19 games. While the offense slowly began to comeback for Iginla, the major issues in his game were still there to my eye. He was still losing speed and couldn’t handle a large role with the club.
If Edmonton signed Iginla, he wouldn’t be playing a major role with the club. The Oilers have their top-tier players set and only need help in a few areas up front. Second line right wing is the major issue and it could be filled by Iginla in theory. At this point in time, I’m not sure he has enough left in the tank to fill that role however.
Three or four years ago, I would have been all in favor of signing Iginla to a contract. Now? I’m not at all convinced that he would be worth a roster spot for the Oilers. I also highly doubt he would be willing to sign for the minimum, and I wouldn’t take up what is left of the cap to bring in a player like Iginla at his current age.
Sure, he’s a sexy name and it would be an awesome story, but the Oilers probably shouldn’t sign Iginla or invite him to training camp. He simply doesn’t have enough left in the tank to warrant it.
There Are Other Options:
The Oilers were reportedly interested in Shane Doan before he retired, and now with the Iginla rumors it signals something to me. It signals that the Oilers aren’t exactly comfortable with their right wing depth and they would like to add some more competition there. I tend to agree with that being the right move.
If they are intent on that, there are plenty of other options out there. I think it’s crazy that both Jaromir Jagr and Thomas Vanek are unsigned. Jagr is still a very competent middle-six forward, while Vanek registered 17-31-48 in 68 games with the Red Wings and Panthers last season.
While Jagr would be a cool addition, I’m pushing very hard for Vanek right now. He wasn’t great in Florida, but he thrived in Detroit and I believe could post strong numbers on a line with Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Leon Draisaitl. He’s 33 and would likely come at a cheaper rate than Jagr or Iginla.
P.A. Parenteau, Alex Chiasson and Brian Gionta are all right wingers currently on the market who could be PTO targets. I’d be in favor of looking at guys like that before looking at Iginla.