Jarome Iginla picks B’s this time
Surprise of free agency

Saturday, July 6, 2013 PrintEmail Comments (16)
Stephen Harris
The Bruins tried very hard to acquire Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames before the NHL’s April 3 trading deadline and believed they had a deal, only to see the right winger exercise his prerogative and opt to be dealt instead to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

How’d that work out for Iginla? Not too well, as he and the Penguins made it as far as the Eastern Conference finals, where they were swept by the team he snubbed, the Bruins. The Penguins scored just two goals in four games and Iginla didn’t have a point in the series.

But the B’s intention during that initial effort to acquire the future Hall of Famer was to try and re-sign him when he attained unrestricted free agency. And in one of the biggest shockers of Day 1 of the free agent frenzy, the Bruins yesterday signed the 36-year-old Iginla to a bonus-laden, one-year contract worth up to $6 million.

The B’s said the deal includes a $1.8 million base salary, a games-played bonus worth $3.7 million and a $500,000 goal-scoring/team playoff performance bonus.

Help was needed on the right wing after the team lost Nathan Horton (signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets yesterday as a free agent), Tyler Seguin (traded Thursday to the Dallas Stars) and Jaromir Jagr (free agent). So the Bruins added Iginla, apparently ignoring the fact his offensive play, skating, backchecking and compete level in the playoff series were unimpressive while hoping he’ll return to the form of 2011-12, when he posted 32 goals and 35 assists for the Flames. For his 16-year career, Iginla has 530 goals and 576 assists in 1,232 games.

In adding Iginla and Loui Ericksson (acquired in the Seguin trade), the B’s likely fill out their top two lines, with one of the newcomers joining David Krejci and Milan Lucic, and the other playing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

When the Bruins completed their sweep of Pittsburgh, Iginla said he didn’t regret his decision on the trade.

“I’m very fortunate to get the chance to come to (Pittsburgh) and you want this opportunity,” Iginla said. “You want an opportunity to be in the conference finals and have a chance to win and we had that chance. The Bruins played very well. They’re a very good team. I was fortunate to have that choice and when you make it, you definitely believe in the guys here and we played some great hockey up until this last series. I don’t know what the answer is, but I didn’t get anything going for the group. It stings not playing well in this last series. These four games I just didn’t play very well.”

The Bruins also announced four other far less significant signings, all likely depth players for the organization: Goalie Chad Johnson, forwards Bobby Robins and Nick Johnson and defenseman Mike Moore.

Earlier in the day, the Bruins were just spectators. You’d never know that the salary cap is going down next year from the spending spree that went on. In the first five hours of free agency alone, 49 players were signed to deals worth in excess of $359 million.