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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Jarome Iginla said he found out about a month ago the Calgary Flames were looking to deal him if the return was right.
Early Thursday morning, the 35-year-old Iginla was shipped to the Pens for a first round pick and two college prospects.
Iginla said he believed there were a couple of teams bidding for his services.
“I guess I had some choice in Pittsburgh and I think that you know, you get an opportunity as a player to go and play on a team with the two best players in the world and a team on a roll like they’re on and the success they’ve had. As a player, I wanted that opportunity and I’m thrilled and I’m thankful that they’ve given me the opportunity,” Iginla said.
Iginla started his pro career in Calgary in April of 1996 and has been there ever since, amassing 525 goals and 1,095 points.
Iginla admits he has mixed emotions about leaving Calgary.
“I’d love to get my first crack at one and Pittsburgh is a great organization and they have [General Manager Ray Shero] and they got the two best players in the world in Crosby and Malkin. The firepower and the group and the chemistry that they have is – I look forward to just going and trying to find and they let me know where I can help out or fit in do my best to play hard and to try to help win,” Iginla said.
Throughout the press conference, Iginla reiterated that he really wanted to win a Stanley Cup during his time in Calgary and felt they had the pieces to at least make the playoffs. However, he recognized and understood that the team was in a rebuilding mode.
“We had a late night in Colorado we got back and so got up pretty late. By the time I’d gotten up he [agent Don Meehan] and [Calgary Flames General Manager Jay Feaster] had already spoken about possible places and really I believe there were a few teams – three teams that were kind of making some final pitches or whatever and trying to work out something that works for everybody on both sides,” Iginla said.
The Boston Bruins also made a strong pitch to get Iginla.
“They’re both amazing cities, very successful organizations and great teams,” Iginla said. “When it comes to the choice that I had as to one or the other, it’s really hard as a player to pass up an opportunity to play on a team with Sid and Malkin and the roll that they are on.”
As Iginla wrapped up the press conference, those in attendance gave him a round of applause, which may tell you all you need to know about how well-respected he is and the type of player the Penguins are getting.
Listen to what else Iginla had to say about the trade here: