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We All Know Iggy Is Finished, But What My Book Presupposes Is… Maybe He Isn’t?

Let’s state right at the top that the case for Jarome Iginla is a stretch. No one’s denying that. We should also state right at the top that we’re extremely biased, because we’ve started talking about getting Iginla to the Hawks about five minutes after we started this blog in 2008. Collectively, he’s probably our favorite non-Hawks in this era, and though he might not have anything left we’d still run out and buy 12 #12 Hawks jerseys were he to arrive. And while the Hawks have bent over backwards to make various nincompoops and nitwits seem like genuinely good guys, Iggy is one. So that’s all out of the way.

The case for Iggy starts with the fact that the trade market for wingers is absolute dog vomit. Moving beyond Iggy as far as players that will be free agents in the summer, we see names such as Patrick Sharp (not sure he can see straight and the Hawks would never, ever do this after all that), Brooks Laich (old and bad), Alex Burrows (Jesus God no, and the Canucks think they’re in it anyway), Drew Stafford (he has two goals. One for Martin, Two for Martin!), Brian Gionta ok we have to stop now my eyes are bleeding now. These are not answers.

So let’s see if we can’t make the case for Iggy, even though the cap numbers are a nightmare.

The numbers for Iginla are obviously not pretty. Five goals, nine points in 37 games. And the underlying numbers aren’t much prettier. 48.9 Corsi %, 41.1 xGF%, 40.5 scoring-chance percentage. Yikes. Everything’s dwindling on the individual level, too. Goals per 60 at evens a career low 0.40. Attempts per 60 a low 9.5. Shooting percentage cratering to 6.9%. Individual expected goals for per 60 down to 0.51 and ok I have to stop now because my eyes are bleeding again.

Let’s try and explain at least some of this away. Iggy has spent most of this season playing with John Mitchell and Blake Comeau. Mitchell is a fine foot soldier, a decent enough checking center. He’s not a playmaker by any means. Blake Comeau has been an oxygen bag for most of his career. At this point, Iggy needs help and these are not the two to provide it. That doesn’t explain it all away, but we can safely say this doesn’t help.

It’s only 87 minutes of time so far this year, but when Iggy has gotten to skate with Matt Duchene his Corsi jumps to 53% and together their goals-per-60 jump to 2.87, when Iggy is at 1.75 overall. So maybe?

When you look at Iggy’s numbers relative to the smoldering mess that is the Avalanche, things look a little more encouraging. His Corsi number is +3.61 over the team-rate (not much of a claim, admittedly), his relative shot-rate is +3.7%, his relative goals-percentage is +9%, the only downside being his relative xGF% is -1.8%. Iggy hasn’t been helped by the Avs shooting below 6% when he’s on the ice, but he’s not doing much to help that as this is not the machine that got to the net whenever he damn pleased. Four years ago, when Iggy was traded to Pittsburgh, his average shot distance was 24.6 feet away. Now it’s 30.5. He’s basically a stationary sniper.

Moreover, the Hawks don’t really have the pass first center to really maximize his game. If only they had one instead of shipping the one they had TO FUCKING CAROLINA FOR ABSOLUTELY GODDAMN NOTHING… .sorry, that got away from me there. Toews isn’t pass-first, though he can make a fist of it, and Anisimov certainly isn’t. The way to maximize Iggy would be to put him on the other side of Kane, but he’s never played the left side. Putting him on the other side of Panarin would basically have two guys who want to do the same thing, just one who does it much faster. Not that Iggy couldn’t make it work on the left side if he had to. Hell, Patrick Sharp got very rich floating around a lot of the time waiting for Kane to hit his tape.

The Hawks would need the Avs to swallow the entire 50% allowed of Iggy’s $5 mildo salary, and still lose some things off the roster. I’m sure they’d love to get Desjardins in a box marked “anywhere but here,” and that would be just enough. They’d probably have to toss in Forsling and one other prospect to make it worth while for the Avs. Whether you’d do that or not is based on whether you think this is the last chance the Hawks will have to win a Cup or not.

Ok so it’s not much of a case, but I did the best I could.