Jarome Iginla knows a thing or two about what it’s like to be a professional hockey player in Calgary.
And the Calgary Flames legend, who is the franchise’s leader in goals, points and games played, dished out another assist for the club — depending on your perspective of the Milan Lucic for James Neal trade — last week.
With the deal between the Edmonton Oilers and Flames near completion, Edmonton’s general manager Ken Holland allowed his counterpart in Calgary, Brad Treliving, to reach out to Lucic in order to convince him to waive his no-movement clause and sell him on a fresh start in Calgary.
While Treliving sold Lucic on his on-ice fit with the club and his vision for the direction of the Flames, Iginla — who spent a year on the Boston Bruins with Lucic — pitched life at the gateway to the Rockies and Prairies.
“A lot of it too was the off-ice piece, living in Calgary, and Jarome and him are good friends, they played together in Boston, stayed in touch and, obviously, Jarome has a long history in Calgary,” said Treliving during an appearance on Prime Time Sports Monday.
“So they chatted and really it was more about lifestyle in Calgary, living in the city, what to expect as a player here, so Jarome was excellent with his time with us and really reaching out to a friend and answering some of the questions that he had relative to living in the market here.”
Whatever he said must’ve have done the trick as Lucic, as well as a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, was dealt to the Flames for Neal last Friday. Edmonton retained 12.5 per cent of the 31-year-old’s remaining contract in the exchange.
Treliving said he and Holland started exploring the possibility of a trade around the time of the NHL combine at the beginning of June.
“Probably with the contract term and the age of the players, you’re looking for a similar-type situation where somebody maybe needs a fresh start and a fresh look, and really that was the genesis of it,” said Treliving.
Lucic had a strong start to his tenure with the Oilers, recording 50 points in 82 games as Edmonton made the playoffs.
But he failed to repeat those results, topping out at 34 and 20 points in 2017-18 and ’18-19, respectively. He is heading into the fourth year of a seven-year, $42-million contract.
Neal also fell short of expectations in Calgary after the Flames made a big splash last summer, signing the 31-year-old to a five-year, $28.75 million deal. He scored just seven goals and 19 points across 63 games with the Flames in 2018-19.
“Whether we didn’t put him in the right positions, whether it just wasn’t a fit, for whatever reason. James is a good man, a good player, has been a good real player in this league for a long time,” said Treliving.
“But for whatever reason, it just didn’t fit here.”