Is it time for the Flames to trade Kipper and Iginla?

There’s certainly no way the quintessential team player Iginla will ever demand a trade, so it falls squarely on the shoulders of Edwards, King and GM Jay Feaster to make the brave move of being the bad guys for a few months and taking the heat for ending the Iginla Era. Their images will suffer temporarily, but the team will be better for it.

Even then, it isn’t as if the dealing of Iginla (and Kiprusoff, who almost assuredly would want out once Iginla was moved) will be an instant cure-all for Calgary. As one former GM told, “Remember what Atlanta got for trading Marian Hossa: Colby Armstrong, Angelo Esposito and a first round draft pick.” In other words, the return for a star is not often going to be the foundation upon which your future is built. The pain will be felt in Calgary for years to come.

But there is really no choice for the Flames anymore. Iginla can be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Kiprusoff will gain his freedom a year after that. Off-season additions Jiri Hudler and Dennis Wideman aren’t making a measurable difference. Meanwhile, their scouting and development staff has not provided the Flames with enough up-and-coming young talent to offset their fading collection of veterans.

Look at the standings. The Flames are at the bottom of them not because of some cosmic injustice or cruel spate of injuries. They’re there because that was going to be their destiny the moment management decided to sprawl out and take comfort in the shade of a Calgary icon and not face the heat over the short term for the betterment of the franchise by moving that icon.

From this point on, the motto of every Calgary fan should be, “Free Iginla and free Kiprusoff.” If the Flames actually did so, they would free themselves from the shadows of the past and set a clear course for a change in fortunes.