Headlining the trio of additions the Colorado Avalanche made at the end of June and beginning of July is future Hall of Fame forward Jarome Iginla. The longtime Calgary Flames star has had an illustrious NHL career in which he has scored 560 goals and 607 assists over 17 seasons. This is a guy who has AVERAGED more than 30 goals per season for 17 years! Even just last year he was able to light the lamp 30 times at 36 years old in his lone season with the Boston Bruins. While it is clear that Iginla is in the twilight of his career, he can still produce at a high level.
After being ousted in the opening round of the playoffs following a spectacular regular season, Colorado knew that they needed to add some experience to a roster that predominantly consisted of young players. Iginla not only has an enormous 1,310 games of NHL experience, but he has shown that he still commands a great deal of respect from opposing defenders. Even if this is the first full season since 1999-2000 in which Iginla comes up short of the 30 goal mark, a 25 goal season from a 37 year old would be nothing to sneeze at.
The most likely spot in the lineup for Iginla next season would probably be on the right wing alongside Nathan MacKinnon at center and captain Gabriel Landeskog on the left. Iginla would be replacing Paul Stastny who signed with the St. Louis Blues just hours before Iginla signed with Colorado. Stastny's departure should allow MacKinnon to move back to his natural center position and Iginla would fill the spot on the right. Presumably, the other line completing the top-6 for the Avalanche would be Ryan O'Reilly on the left, Matt Duchene at center and Alex Tanguay on the right. That assumes that O'Reilly will soon be resigned by Colorado.
Realistically, no one in Colorado is thinking Iginla will score 30 to 40 goals as he has regularly done for years. A gradual decline in production is to be expected from a player who just turned 37. But, as stated earlier, 25 goals or so from a player that age would be quite remarkable, and playing on a line with MacKinnon and Landeskog would make it impossible for Iginla to be given any extra attention from defenses. The combination of experience and skill that Iginla brings to Colorado should help the team in their quest to go deep into the playoffs for the first time in far too long.
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