One of the few teams at this point in the season virtually assured of becoming a trade deadline seller is the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche currently have the league’s worst record and rumors have already begun to circulate that they could attempt to move major core pieces as soon as this month. Even if they stay the course with their core group, yet again, it’s likely the club will still look to deal players with expiring contracts and/or complementary veteran assets. One of those pieces is Jarome Iginla, and according to Adrian Dater, one potential suitor for the longtime NHL star could be the Chicago Blackhawks.
Chicago boasts a potent top line consisting of Artem Anisimov, Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane. That trio has combined for 42 goals and 63 assists this season. The Hawks also have Jonathan Toews, one of the league’s top all-around centers, and terrific two-way winger Marian Hossa but have struggled in recent years to find another winger to fill out the line.
In his tweet, Dater indicates Iginla could function as a “replacement” for Hossa, but since the Slovakian winger is expected to be back in the lineup tomorrow, it’s unclear how, or even if, that would impact Chicago’s rumored interest in Iginla. It’s quite possible the Hawks would view the former Flames sniper as a player in need of a change-of-scenery and one who could contribute some big goals down the stretch and into the playoffs for a team with aspirations of capturing their fourth Stanley Cup in the last eight seasons.
Iginla is in the final season of a three-year deal with an AAV of $5.33MM and would qualify as a pure rental for any team looking to deal for him. After back-to-back strong seasons of 29 and 22 goals, the 39-year-old right wing has slumped to just five through 37 games this season for Colorado. However, a move to a playoff race, particularly if allowed to play with gifted offensive players like Toews and Hossa, could help rejuvenate the 20-year veteran.
The Blackhawks would have to figure out how to fit Iginla in under the salary cap as according to Cap Friendly, the team is slated to have just under $2MM in space at the deadline. They could certainly open up more room by reassigning a young player to the minor leagues and also could try to convince Colorado to take back salary by swapping a more valuable asset to the Avalanche in a hypothetical move.
Elsewhere in the Central Division:
- The St. Louis Blues are pushing for a renovation of the Scottrade Center and a recent proposal submitted to the city’s Board of Alderman seeks $67.5MM in taxpayer funds to help pay for it, as Mike Faulk and Koran Addo of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write. According to the proposal, the city’s contributions would come from sales tax already generated at the venue and with a 1% sales tax on Blues tickets. The team’s Chairman, Tom Stillman, argues the arena is outdated and the renovations are necessary not only to satisfy the Blues’ needs but to ensure other events, such as NCAA basketball tournament games, remain in St. Louis: “The Scottrade Center is no longer competitive,” said Blues Chairman Tom Stillman, adding that NCAA and concert promoters have warned that they will stop coming to St. Louis without upgrades to compete with facilities in Indianapolis, Kansas City, Nashville, Tenn., and elsewhere. The team and the city also plan to petition the state for money for the renovation but governor-elect Eric Greitens has previously opposed taxpayer funding for stadiums/arenas, calling it “welfare for millionaires.” Whether Greitens’ reluctance to allocate public funds for such a project could hinder or even halt renovation is unclear. Additionally, if renovations are not completed on the arena, it’s unknown if that would prompt ownership to pursue moving the team to another market.
- Nashville welcomed back Shea Weber for his first visit to the city as a member of the Montreal Canadiens last night. And while seeing the former team captain in a different sweater must have been bittersweet for many fans, particularly given Nashville’s struggles and P.K. Subban’s health issues, Adam Vingan of The Tennessean writes that ultimately the trade sending Weber to Montreal is one that shouldn’t be viewed with regret. Vingan argues that the reasons the trade was made last June still apply today. Simply put, Subban is younger and swifter than his counterpart and in four years, when Weber is 35 and likely well on the down-slope of his career, Subban will be 31 and likely still in his prime.