The Los Angeles Kings are finalizing a trade for Colorado Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun on Wednesday. The Avalanche will be receiving a conditional fourth round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, per LeBrun.
COL will retain 50 per cent of Iginla's salary.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 1, 2017
The deal is the latest in what has been a flurry of activity by Kings general manager Dean Lombardi as the NHL approaches the trade deadline at 3 PM ET on Wednesday.
He sent backup netminder Peter Budaj to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday as part of a package deal for Ben Bishop in an effort to sure up the goaltending position with Johnathan Quick’s recent return from a groin injury. Earlier on Wednesday, he sent forward Dwight King to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) March 1, 2017
Iginla joins Bishop as the second unrestricted free agent-to-be that’s joined the club in the past four days, Lombardi is stockpiling the team in an effort to make what he hopes will be a deep run in this year’s playoffs.
Iginla, 39, has played in 1535 NHL games and is in search of his first Stanley Cup as he approaches the twilight years of his career. His one and only trip to the Stanley Cup Final was in 2004 when he captained the Calgary Flames to play for the prize before falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a seven-game series.
That Flames team was lead by then-head coach Darryl Sutter, now the bench boss for the Kings, who are seeking their third Stanley Cup in six years after victories in 2012 and 2014.
The Kings are just one point behind the St. Louis Blues for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference playoff race with 19 games remaining in the regular season. They have battled through the long-term loss of Quick, who was lost during the opening game of the season and just returned to game action on Feb. 25.
With a healthy Quick and Bishop in net, it gives the Kings two of the league’s top goaltenders but the remaining issue leading up to the deadline has been a need for a top-six forward to help aid an offense that is averaging just 2.4 goals for per contest — 25th in the league.
Iginla has tallied just eight goals and 10 assists in 61 contests with the last-place Avalanche, but has compiled 51 goals and 55 assists in 164 games over the previous two seasons with the club.
Known as one of the league’s best leaders and a premier goal scorer in his prime, Iginla provides an instant veteran presence in the Kings’ locker room while also giving them some scoring punch that seemingly will improve playing with the offensive talents on the team’s roster. Iginla’s 619 goals are 16th all-time and second most among active players, behind only the Florida Panthers’ Jaromir Jagr, who is third all-time with 761 tallies.
The Kings host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center in what is expected to be Iginla’s debut with the club on Thursday.