Friday, October 28, 2005


Me Jarome, Big Tree

David Amber has a mildly interesting Q&A with Jarome Iginla at, and the opening caught my eye a bit:
On Dec. 19, 1995, the Calgary Flames traded away former playoff MVP and fan favorite Joe Nieuwendyk to the Dallas Stars for promising teenager Jarome Iginla. At the time, the move was heavily criticized by both fans and media in Calgary.

A decade later, it's a different story.

That's not exactly how I remember it, but I may be wrong.

Joe Nieuwendyk was a holdout RFA at the time, and there was definitely some controversy. On roughly the day the trade happened, I went to a home game vs. the Red Wings that the Flames lost to drop their record to 8-20-5. So the team was performing terribly, and every fan was mad either at the team, for not giving Joe whatever he wanted to get back on the ice, or at Joe, for being a greedy rich athlete etc. etc.

When the trade was made, considering how bad the Flames' record was, there was definitely some angst over the fact that Cory Millen was the only on-ice help we got. But the idea that it was a bad trade was dead within two weeks.

The timing was pretty incredible. On December 19th, Iginla was an 18-year-old #11 draft pick, which is surely a hit-or-miss. He had scored a point per game in his previous junior season. No one had any particular reason to believe that he was better than any other #11 pick, or that expectations should be higher.

Then the World Juniors started on Boxing Day in Boston, and 10 days later, everybody was ecstatic at what a fantastic prospect the Flames had picked up. And it just kept getting better: that junior season, he scored a goal per game, and over 2 points per game.

The Flames turned it around at the same time: they won a few over the Christmas break, then got Gary Roberts back from injury, which absolutely propelled them through the rest of the season. By the end of the year, they had gone from nearly dead last to 6th. Iginla joined the team for the last two games of their sweep at the hands of the Hawks (have I mentioned I hate Trent Yawney lately?), scoring an assist in the first game and a goal in the second.

I haven't heard a single grumble about the trade in the decade since.


...and...the Stars got exactly what they wanted: A talented veteran centerman who would fit in their system and score goals. Dallas won a cup and knew they were giving up a good future player to help them in the 'present. The trade worked out well for both clubs.

Jes has it right - the classic "both sides win" trade. Nieuwendyk won the Conn Smythe in 1999, don't forget.

Hey, I'm not denigrating Nieuwy in the slightest -- he's still one of my favourite players.

I agree with your assessment. I was pretty pumped about Iginla after his solid junior performance.

It was a trade that worked on both sides. Nieuwy had to go because of his holdout and Iginla was the best thing on offer. He was a pretty well regarded prospect at the time of the trade.

I remember folks were kind of cheering for his junior team to be eliminated from the playoffs because then he would be available to join the big team for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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