It’s been three weeks since the Pittsburgh Penguins season has come to an end and news surrounding the team has mostly ground to a halt and will likely remain that way until a new front office staff is hired and the offseason can move forward.
To pass the time until then, I’m brining back the Remembering a Penguins Moment series that began last summer for times just like these when content is needed but the usual well of content has run dry for the time being.
Before jumping back in time to look back on our latest memorable moment from Penguins history, here is quick recap of the moments we have highlighted so far:
Chris Kunitz blows a big chance at possibly the worst time.
Mario and Jagr team up to bury the Chicago Blackhawks.
Nicklas Backstrom, who never played for the Penguins, scores for the Penguins.
Now that everyone is caught up let’s move on to our latest jump back in time, the night the Penguins traded for future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla.
It was late March 2013 and the lockout shortened season was rapidly approaching its trade deadline. The Penguins were on a season long tear that had them atop the Eastern Conference standings and looking like Stanley Cup favorites.
Even with an already loaded roster, Ray Shero was not going to sit on his laurels and let others improve while doing nothing. Shero had already added Brenden Morrow to the mix but was still in search of the one missing piece.
Shero found that one missing piece but not without a little drama unfolding in the hours beforehand and with most Penguins fans having gone to bed thinking the Iginla dream was out of reach.
As the clock approached midnight on March 27th, all signs pointed to the Boston Bruins being the team to acquire Iginla from the Calgary Flames with one NHL insider tweeting out the trade with Boston and Calgary was finalized.
#Confirmed ....where it all started. pic.twitter.com/ATkTqvlXiP— not Aaron Ward (@NotAaronWardTSN) April 24, 2014
The Athletic actually did a written history on all the Iginla drama earlier this year that you can read at the link with a subscription.
Spoiler: Ward was wrong and subsequently reprimanded for prematurely reporting the trade that wasn’t.
When word got out that the Flames and Bruins had in fact not reached a deal, Ray Shero swooped in and stole Iginla right out from under the Bruins, finalizing the deal in the early hours of March 28th to bring Iginla to Pittsburgh.
Per The Athletic that includes a Jeff Zatkoff cameo:
Meanwhile, after Shero and Feaster restarted trade talks, they came to an agreement in the wee hours of the morning on March 28. All that was left was the trade call with the league. Those responsibilities fell to then-Pens assistant general manager Jason Botterill, who was driving a call-up — AHL goaltender Jeff Zatkoff — from the team’s minor league affiliate in Wilkes-Barre to Pittsburgh, a four-and-a-half-hour drive.
“I’m in the car and Ray’s telling me the details of the trade,” Botterill said. “I’m telling the player beside me. ‘Hey, just so you’re aware you better not be telling anybody about this right now.’”
With Iginla officially a Penguin, the plan was to slot him alongside Sidney Crosby on the top line, hopefully to pick up where they left off three years earlier as teammates at the 2010 Winter Olympics where they won gold together.
That plan was quickly torn to shreds when Crosby took a puck to the face in Iginla’s first game as a Penguin, breaking his jaw and sidelining him until the playoffs.
Ultimately the Iginla plan didn’t lead to a Stanley Cup that season as the Bruins exacted revenge for the whole trade ordeal by sweeping the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final to advance to the Stanley Cup. They also were eventually able to add Iginla, signing him as a free agent that summer.
In the end, the Iginla experiment failed and to this day jokes are still made about the gross mismanagement of the situation mostly from Dan Bylsma insisting on playing Iginla on his off wing.
Though there is no Stanley Cup to memorialize his time with the Penguins, the Iginla trade story still remains one of the best stories of this Penguins era.