The Edmonton Oilers have traded forward prospect Tobias Rieder to the Phoenix Coyotes for forward prospect Kale Kessy. As an NHL observer, this is essentially an extremely minor trade, with little-to-no immediate impact on either organisation involved. As an Edmonton fan however, this trade is unbearable.
Look, I completely understand the sentiment that many have about size in athletes. Everything else being equal – skating ability, shot, puck skills, defensive awareness, offensive ability – of course you would take the 6’5″ guy ahead of the 5’10” guy. But these two players aren’t equal. In my mind, from what I have seen and read, it isn’t even close. Read more
Massive news yesterday, as the Calgary Flames announced the trade of perennial All-Star, team captain and beloved member of the Calgary community Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins. A trade had been suspected for the last couple of weeks, and indeed the last couple of years as Iginla has gotten older and the Flames have been less competitive.
Iginla has been a superstar in the league for at least the last 12 years, but was a quality young player from the moment he stepped into the league in 1996. Originally drafted by the Dallas Stars but never playing a game for them as he was traded to Calgary in exchange for Calgary favourite Joe Nieuwendyk, the trade worked out well for both teams, as the Stars got their veteran scorer who helped lead them to the Cup in 1999, and the Flames got a young power forward who would become the face of the franchise for over a decade and a half. Iginla would go on to score 525 goals and 1095 points in 1219 games for the Flames, win 2 Rocket Richard Trophies (most goals), one Art Ross Trophy (most points), one Lester Pearson Award (players’ player of the year), one King Clancy Memorial Trophy (leadership and humanitarian contributions), one Mark Messier Leadership Award (leadership recognition). He also made the NHL All-Rookie Team, the 1st All-Star Team 3 times and the 2nd All-Star Team once, and played in 6 All-Star Games.
That’s a quality player, and a great captain. This will be a huge loss for the team and the community, but the Calgary Flames are a team who for the last few seasons have been trying to stop the inevitable – that is, that they need to ship out their aging veteran players and rebuild, with a more long-term goal than simply trying to scrape into the playoffs. Trading Iginla signals the start of a rebuild process; whether it will be a long protracted one like Edmonton, or an attempted quick turn-around like Philadelphia in 2007, it remains to be seen. It is in their best interests though, no matter how much losing someone of Iginla’s calibre hurts.
As per NHL.com, the Phoenix Coyotes have signed young defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a 6 year contract extension worth $5.5m per year.
To get the Swede at such a low price point is fantastic – at just 21 years old, he’s already far and away the best defender on the team, and indeed one of the best in the league. He’s second on the entire Coyotes team in points with 17 (3 goals), is a +8, and leads the team in time on ice at just over 25 minutes a game. AT TWENTY-ONE! That’s Norris Trophy stuff, folks, and I would bet money he not only gets nominated this year, but wins more than one during what should be a great career.
Great signing by the Desert Dogs.
As per NHL.com, the NHL Board of Governors has approved the plan put together by the NHL and the NHLPA to realign the divisions of the National Hockey League.
Realignment was attempted by the NHL last year, following the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, but the NHLPA blocked the proposed plans – though this was seen by many as more of a preemptive strike on the NHL by the Players Association in the events that lead to the 2012/13 lockout, than any actual opposition to the realignment. The power to say “no” to Gary Bettman basically inspired that decision.