Should the Devils enter the Jarome Iginla sweepstakes?

Pat Pickens

As we hit the end of the shortened NHL season’s first period, the word “trade” will quickly enter our vernacular.

For Devils fans — with Andrei Loktionov and Alex Ponikarovsky’s acquisitions– the trade word has already entered your lexicon. And though the trade deadline is still 45 days away, a blockbuster involving the Devils is not out of the question.

So here’s the question: should the Devils get in on the Jarome Iginla sweepstakes.

Jarome Iginla will likely be traded before the April 3 deadline. Will New Jersey get in the Iginla sweepstakes?

Jarome Iginla will likely be traded before the April 3 deadline. Will New Jersey get in the Iginla sweepstakes?

Are there more-pressing needs, in this observer’s opinion? Yes. New Jersey’s defense has been suspect, especially recently.

But logic tells you that Iginla will be moved this year. Calgary is wallowing away– presently in 12th place in the Western Conference with 13 points. Rumors insist Boston or Philadelphia are the front runners to land Calgary’s big, burly forward.

But if two or more Eastern Conference rivals are in talks to bring in Iginla, why wouldn’t New Jersey consider it? He’s a 35-year old power forward in the last year of a five-year, $35 million contract, making him a rental.

Ilya Kovalchuk could be moved back to his natural left-wing position, and Iginla could be a welcome addition to the top line with Zajac and Kovalchuk. That line’s gone through fits and starts while trying to replace Zach Parise.

An Iginla deal could take pressure off recently acquired Alex Ponikarovsky– he could be moved back to the fourth-line left wing slot, instead of playing on the top line. Plus, with Ryan Carter suffering an “upper-body injury” late in the second period Monday–  those in attendance fear it was a concussion — and Mattias Tedenby’s struggles, New Jersey is devoid of forwards.

Maybe Stefan Matteau has the hands and ability to fulfill that top-line wing spot, but that’s an awful lot to ask for an 18-year old– especially on a team that has Stanley Cup aspirations.

Iginla has a no-movement clause, and Calgary is reportedly looking for a draft-pick and a prospect in return. The Devils are lacking draft picks, but they certainly are not lacking prospects. Tedenby could use a change of scenery, and Josefson could as well.

And for those of you thinking this move is “un-Lou-like,” I’ll remind you of Doug Gilmour in 1996-97.

Pat Pickens is a New Jersey native and lifelong Devils fan. Follow him on Twitter here.