September 24, 2013

2013-14 Bruins Player Preview: Jarome Iginla

By Benjamin Woodward


Jarome Iginla skates against the Washington Capitals during the preseason game on Sept. 23 at TD Garden. Iginla's arrival in Boston comes with plenty of attention - will it come with some goals? (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Jarome Iginla #12 | Right Wing

HEIGHT: 6-foot-1 WEIGHT: 210 SHOOTS: Right

BORN: July 1, 1977 – Edmonton, AB, Canada

DRAFT: 1995 – 1st round (11th Overall) by the Dallas Stars

CONTRACT STATUS: Signed through 2013-14 ($6.00 million maximum cap hit)

2012-13 STATISTICS: 14 goals, 19 assists, 33 points, minus-5 in 44 games

LOOKING BACK ON 2013

After his name was consistently the focus of countless trade rumors throughout the previous two years, Calgary captain Jarome Iginla returned to the Flames for a sixteenth NHL season in 2012-13. However, in what had to have been one of the more difficult campaigns of the veteran right wing’s career, the wheels began to completely fall off for the Flames, as they plummeted to the bottom of the NHL standings. Mid-season, Calgary general manager Jay Feaster reluctantly decided that it was finally time for his team to cut ties with its longtime locker room leader.

Of course, we in Boston are all quite aware of Iginla’s decision at the deadline and how it impacted the Bruins, as well as the Penguins. What is frequently overlooked, though, in analyzing Iginla’s oft-criticized performance down the stretch in Pittsburgh, is the combined difficulty of adjusting to a new system, switching to a new position (left wing), and constantly being moved around the lineup. Despite all this, Iginla was still able to produce four goals and add eight assists for a total of 12 points in 15 playoff contests.

FIVE FACTS

1) In 16 seasons with the Calgary Flames, Iginla scored over 520 goals and appeared in more than 1,200 games. However, one of the most little known facts about Iginla is that he was actually drafted, back in 1995, by the Dallas Stars organization. Later that year, he was sent to Calgary in a deal that brought talented forward Joe Nieuwendyk back to Dallas.

2) Before reaching the NHL, Iginla honed his craft in the Western Hockey League, one of Canada’s top junior programs, while skating for the Kamloops (B.C.) Blazers. In two seasons with the club, Iginla led his team to back-to-back Memorial Cup championships in 1994 and 1995, and was named WHL Player of the Year in 1996. Iginla and former Bruin Mark Recchi, a Kamloops native, are now part of the team’s ownership group.

3) In addition to his many NHL accolades, Iginla is also one of the most decorated Olympic athletes in Canadian history. He has represented Canada three times at the Olympics, twice helping his team capture the gold medal (2002, 2010). Iginla was also part of championship-winning Canadian teams at the 1996 World Juniors, 1997 World Championships, and 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

4) Speaking of the 1996 World Juniors, Iginla was the leading scorer in that tournament, collecting a total of 12 points and helping Canada capture the championship. 1996 was, of course, the last year the World Junior Tournament was held in Boston, as games were played throughout Massachusetts. Other notable NHL alumni who participated in the tournament include former Bruins’ forwards Marco Sturm and Sergei Samsonov.

5) As a 16-year veteran and longtime team captain, Iginla is without a doubt one of the most well-respected players in the entire NHL. Known for his humility, generosity, and easy-going personality, Iginla has participated in many charitable endeavors throughout his hockey career. Perhaps the most notable is the Jarome Iginla Hockey School, located in Calgary, which he operates as a nonprofit organization and donates all of the proceeds to the Diabetes Research Organization.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2013-14

As was speculated since the day he signed in Boston, Iginla has spent the entire 2013 preseason skating on the B’s top line, alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Preseason statistics must obviously be taken with a grain of salt, but the early chemistry shown between No. 12 and his new centerman has to put a big smile on the face of Boston GM Peter Chiarelli. Thus far, in three preseason contests, Iginla has scored three goals and added one assist, giving him a total of four points, the most of any forward on the Bruins’ roster.

With 165 career man-advantage goals under his belt, Iginla will be relied upon as a major part of Boston’s revamped power-play. With monstrous Zdeno Chara apparently shifting into a net-front role on the man-advantage, it looks like Iginla will probably be posted up high in the left slot, where the team can best take advantage of his excellent wrist shot.

PREDICTION FOR 2013-14

There are two key factors that play into why Iginla should be much more of an impact player in Boston than he ever was in Pittsburgh last spring. The first is simple: Iginla was brought to the Hub as part of the Bruins’ reconstruction of their right wing position. Here, he won’t have to worry about learning to play the left side again, and can return to focusing on his natural position .

The second is lineup stability – something that’s been absent from the veteran’s career (at no fault of his own) for most of the last decade. In Calgary, it was a constant search for a legitimate enough No. 1 center to pair with a superstar like Iginla. Upon his arrival in Pittsburgh, many expected Iggy to be riding shotgun with former Olympic linemate Sidney Crosby as the Pens made their playoff push. However, that never really materialized, as Iginla would see action on each of Pittsburgh’s top three lines.

In Boston, he will finally have the chance to play consistently alongside one of the most creative and talented centers in the league in David Krejci. Couple that with the additional space in the offensive zone created by hulking winger Milan Lucic skating on the opposite wing, and you’ve got the recipe for a complete career revitalization for Iginla in 2013-14.

PREDICTION: 33 goals, 24 assists, 57 points, plus-19 in 75 games.

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