A week before the 2013 NHL trading deadline, rumors began to circulate that the Boston Bruins had agreed to a deal with the Calgary Flames to acquire Jarome Iginla. In exchange for the future Hall of Famer, the Bruins would send defenseman Matt Bartkowski, winger Alexander Khokhlachev, and a 2013 first round draft pick to Calgary. After hours of waiting for the official confirmation, the news broke that the deal was off and the Pittsburgh Penguins had acquired Jarome Iginla for forwards Ben Hanowski and Kenneth Agostino, as well as a 2013 first round draft pick. At the time, Bruins fans were outraged that Iginla had spurned them for the Penguins, invoking his no-trade clause to choose his destination. Now, those same fans are riding high as their team stands out as the clear winner of the Jarome Iginla trade, despite not being involved in the actual transaction.
How Did the Bruins Recover?
Days after the Iginla deal had broken down, the Bruins front office re-grouped and acquired another future Hall of Famer, Jaromir Jagr, from the Dallas Stars. The price for Jagr was less prohibitive than that of the proposed Jarome Iginla deal, at least in terms of prospects. Essentially, the Bruins managed to fill the same spot with Jagr, while reducing their loss of capital. In the aftermath of the trade, the Bruins found themselves in the 2013 NHL playoffs. In the first round, they suffered injuries to two of their top six defensemen in Andrew Ference and Wade Redden, which forced Matt Bartkowski into action. He rose to the occasion, playing valuable minutes for the Bruins and contributing a goal in the pivotal game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs. After that series, the Bruins cruised past the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, finding themselves four wins away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. All that stood in their way was Jarome Iginla and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins went onto sweep the Penguins in convincing fashion, bringing Iginla’s tenure in Pittsburgh to an abrupt halt. To recap, the Bruins ended up in the playoffs, with Jagr and Bartkowski, instead of Jarome Iginla, and proceeded to eliminate Iginla’s team from the playoffs, en route to the Stanley Cup Finals. Due to their impressive performance in the playoffs, Jarome Iginla came calling as a free agent this summer, deciding to join the Boston Bruins on a one year deal. The final results of the collapsed Iginla deal for the Bruins:
- Acquired Jaromir Jagr as a rental for the playoff run
- Kept Matt Bartkowski, who contributed in the playoffs and is still in their defensive mix
- Kept Alexander Khokhlachev, who currently ranks among the organizations top five prospects
- Made a run to the Stanley Cup Finals, falling just short of the ultimate goal
- Signed Jarome Iginla, who is now playing on their top line
Aside from winning the Stanley Cup, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and his staff couldn’t have envisioned a better turnout.