Rumor roundup: Iginla puts the Kings on his list, doesn't want to be a rental

Other than the two defeats, how did you enjoy LA? - Victor Decolongon

Jarome Iginla would likely only accept a trade to a contender, but once again, the salary cap presents a problem.

As the April 3rd NHL trade deadline approaches, the Iginla trade talk is picking up -- and the Kings are still among the teams said to be in the mix. Here are the latest rumor details.

Dreger on Iginla's list

Darren Dreger of TSN came out and had Los Angeles as one of only four teams Iginla is allegedly interested in:

Jarome Iginla has a no movement clause, so he controls where he goes. The Kings are the defending champs, and of course, there's the Sutter connection. But you get the sense that it's hard to confirm anything about this story if Calgary won't even admit that a rebuild is in their plans.

HNIC Hotstove: Will Iginla re-sign with his new team?

Hockey Night in Canada's Hotstove added more details last night (watch video here):

Elliotte Friedman: "The toughest thing about following this story is that nobody's talking on or off the record. The Flames aren't, Iginla isn't, his agent Don Meehan isn't. There's not a lot of information from the primary sources.

But what we believe is going on is that the process has begun to trade him, and that the list of teams is very small, and it's Stanley Cup contenders.

[...] If you ask around what the price is, it's good young players/prospects or first round picks."

Friedman stresses up front that everything about this Iginla rumor needs to be taken with a grain of salt. But the general line of speculation makes sense. Iginla is the team captain and the heart and soul of the Flames; he controls where he goes; and he'd opt for the best opportunity to win a Stanley Cup if he moves at all.

Kevin Weekes adds the most interesting detail: he thinks Iginla "does not want to be a rental player for a new team."

Cap space next season is still a problem

It might be more reassuring for GMs to know they wouldn't be forking over prime assets for 10-12 regular season games of Iginla plus the playoffs. However, since the cap is going down $6 million next season, this presents a different set of problems.

Even if Iginla takes significantly less than his current $7 million contract, contending teams will all be dealing with a tougher cap situation than usual. As we addressed before with the Gaborik rumor, the Kings will have to make some tough choices next season. The salary picture is especially murky on defense (is Willie Mitchell coming back? Does Rob Scuderi want to return?).

Could the Kings use more scoring depth right now? Sure. But Cup contenders by definition already have strong teams, so Iginla would be more of a luxury than a necessity. To top it off, the Kings' core is fairly young. Would Lombardi want to overhaul the roster to fit him in? Most of the core is locked up, but Brown will command a bigger contract in 2014-15.

Price tag would be high

Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune first reported the rumored price tag for the trade:

In addition to the cap space issue, the question remains: can the Kings afford to move those picks and prospects right now? They've been very active the last two trade deadlines, trading away two first round picks, but Lombardi was trying to address long term needs. Iginla at age 35 doesn't exactly fit that description, and those trades left them with a thinner prospect pool.

The Kings are definitely in win-now mode. When the rebuild is over, it's fine to sacrifice some of your future instead of hoarding picks. But if Lombardi hopes to make the Kings into a perennial contender, he can't go too far. Would a Muzzin or a Forbort be crucial down the line? Or are some prospects expendable because there won't be enough room for them all?

If Pittsburgh and Boston are in the hunt, it seems they would be able to make substantial offers. They still have their 2013 first round picks, and Pittsburgh has defense prospects galore. [UPDATE: Pittsburgh has apparently traded for Stars captain Brendan Morrow, so maybe they're out.]

What do you think? Is Iginla a good fit with the Kings this season and beyond? Would a trade be worth it, or should the Kings stand pat?

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