Jarome Iginla’s had a little bit of help in choosing to sign with the Colorado Avalanche this summer.
According to L.A. Lariviere of TVA Sports (link in French), former Calgary Flames and soon-to-be Avalanche teammate Alex Tanguay helped convince Iginla Denver was the place to be. Here’s a poorly translated quote from the story:
“A week before, Joe Sakic (vice-president of hockey operations) called me,” Tanguay said. “He asked me Jarome’s phone number. They asked me to call him to sell the merits of Colorado. It was not difficult!”
Tanguay and Iginla were teammates in Calgary for two seasons from 2006-2008 and they worked together as part of a dynamic top line with Daymond Langkow. In Colorado, they figure to be more the veteran leaders on a team that’s relatively young and talented.
Iginla’s three-year, $16 million contract after coming off a 30-goal season with the Boston Bruins puts him in a bigger position to help out right away. Tanguay, on the other hand, dealt with injury trouble last season and played just 16 games.
Getting to play alongside Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O’Reilly, and Gabriel Landeskog probably had a lot to do with Tanguay’s sales pitch. Having Patrick Roy as coach and Sakic running the show doesn’t hurt either.
When you look up and down the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster, it’s one oozing with talent. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook.
While we’ve talked about how goalie is one weakness for them, another one is hidden in plain view. They need a solid No. 2 center.
Last season they used Kane and Sharp up the middle to try and balance out their highly talented top two lines and while Kane got a shot to stay there, it ultimately ended with a thud. Both Kane and Sharp are clearly more comfortable on the wing.
Dave Bolland is a guy who excels as a center but he’s a third line guy with his defensive ability. When you consider the rumor involving Bolland being dangled to Vancouver for Roberto Luongo, the one thing stopping that from making total sense is the gaping hole in the middle it would leave for the Blackhawks.
When you look at Chicago’s farm system, there’s one guy with the potential to maybe help on the second line in Brandon Pirri, but he still needs more AHL seasoning.
Without much help left in free agency (Daymond Langkow? Jason Arnott?) the Blackhawks might have to swing a deal if they’re going to improve the second line center spot. With how Stan Bowman has played it cool in the past, don’t expect a big shakeup.
The New York Rangers have again dipped into the free agency pool, signing former Phoenix Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt to a two-year, $3.1 million deal.
The contract has an average annual value of $1.55 million, a nice bump over the $1 million Pyatt made annually on his last deal.
The 30-year-old had spent the last three seasons in the desert, highlighted by a 2010-11 campaign that saw him score 18 goals and average 15:30 of ice time. Pyatt seemed to fall out of favor last year though, as his goal production was cut in half and his average time on ice dropped to 12:19 per game.
Originally drafted eighth overall in 1999, Pyatt has spent time with the Islanders, Sabres, Canucks and Coyotes during his 11-year career.
The most curious development might not be what this signing means for the Rangers, but rather the Coyotes. Phoenix has now seen Pyatt, Ray Whitney (Dallas) and Adrian Aucoin (Columbus) leave the organization and has yet to come to terms with captain Shane Doan, center Daymond Langkow and defenseman Michal Rozsival.
As it stands, the Coyotes only have 18 players under contract and are nearly $14 million shy of the salary cap floor.