File this one under extreme speculation if you like, but future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla, at the very least, is moving to Boston. Whether or not he’s playing for the Bruins in 2017-18 is another matter altogether, but the 39-year-old icon will be spending time in Boston one way or another, as he just purchased a $4.5MM home in the city. The six-bedroom house is located in Chestnut Hill, the home of the Boston College Eagles.
Now, this could simply mean that Iginla, an unrestricted free agent, enjoyed his time in Boston during the 2013-14 season and, facing a very real possibility that his career may be over, is investing a new place to spend his retirement years. Iginla did really like playing with the Bruins and would have liked to re-sign in Boston in 2014, but the Bruins did not have the cap space to meet his salary demands, due in part to the bonus overages from his incentive-laden $1.8MM contract from the year before.
However, it does seem strange that the Canadian winger, an Edmonton native who spent much of his career in his home province of Alberta with the Calgary Flames and the past three years in Colorado, would suddenly decide he wants to invest in real estate on the east coast. Could Iginla and the Bruins have a handshake agreement on giving the veteran scorer another shot at the Stanley Cup? It would seem to be a strange fit. After re-signing restricted free agents David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner this off-season, the Bruins will already have eight “top nine” forward under contract: Pastrnak, Spooner, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, David Backes, Frank Vatrano, and Matt Beleskey. That’s not even including many forwards who made their NHL debuts in 2016-17 and will be looking for regular roles next season, including Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik, Austin Czarnik, Danton Heinen, and Sean Kuraly, up-and-coming prospects Jake DeBrusk, Zach Senyshyn, Jesse Gabrielle, Ryan Fitzgerald, and (potentially) Anders Bjork, or fourth-line contributors with some top-nine upside in Riley Nash and Noel Acciari. Do they really need another forward, especially another big, slow body who fills a similar role to Backes and Beleskey? Probably not, but if Iginla is at the point in his career where he is willing to play for the veteran minimum just on the off chance that he can finally win that elusive Cup, the Bruins are a team that values veteran leadership and would be happy to help Iginla out.
Iginla scored just 14 goals this season and ended the year with only 27 points. However, just three years ago Iginla was a 30-goal scorer in Boston on his way to a 61-point campaign. Iginla and Krejci enjoyed playing together, as Krejci too had an excellent season with 69 points and a league-best +39 rating. The two would not necessarily play together again next season, but the possibility should not be ruled out. Iginla going back to Boston would be strange, and assuming it is happening based on a property transaction is certainly a reach, but stranger things have happened. Everyone in hockey wants Iginla to win a Cup. Why not return to the team he most recently found success with and city he really enjoyed playing in?