Above the 49: A look at the top contenders for Jarome Iginla

The end of the Jarome Iginla era in Calgary appears to be closer with news breaking over the weekend that the Flames' captain has submitted a list of four teams that he would be willing to go to in a trade.

While it's not a given Iginla gets moved to one of the four teams on his list - namely the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings or Chicago Blackhawks - or that he gets dealt at all before the NHL's trade deadline of 3 p.m. ET on April 3, there are more than a handful of reasons why the teams rumored to be on Iginla's wish list will want to make a big push to add the former Hart Trophy runner-up to their lineup.

Here's a look at why Iginla will or won't end up with one of the four teams in a week's time:


Why he will end up there:

The Penguins are clearly in "Stanley Cup or bust" mode, which they showed this past week by bringing in a couple of big-name impending unrestricted free agents in forward Brenden Morrow and defenseman Douglas Murray. What's scary is despite those additions, and the presence of a number of cap-heavy players including the likes of Crosby, Malkin and Neal, they still have enough cap room to add even someone with Iginla's hefty price tag.

Iginla was a linemate of Crosby's on Team Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and the two combined for arguably the most famous goal in Canadian international hockey history, so there's a natural fit and pre- existing chemistry as well.

Iginla would give Crosby a legitimate scoring forward to work on his right side, not to mention a right-handed shot which is something the Penguins are lacking in their top six.

Why he won't end up there:

The only reason the Penguins might shy away from a deal would be if they deemed the price tag to be too high.

The Pens have already moved a significant number of assets in order to land the aforementioned Morrow and Murray, but the price tag for those players should pale in comparison to what Iginla would cost.

The Penguins still have their own first-round pick this season plus a couple of additional third-round picks they've acquired along the way, but they may need to part with some more significant assets, such as a roster player or top prospect, to land Calgary's captain.


Why he will end up there:

The Bruins fancy themselves, as they should, as being a top contender for the Cup this season and after watching the Penguins make their big moves this past week, they'll likely feel a need to respond in kind.

Iginla's playing style, when he's at the top of his game, fits in perfectly with the Bruins' brash and aggressive approach. And while Iginla brings plenty of intangibles as well, including his leadership ability, the Bruins have enough grizzled veterans with postseason experience that they also can depend on, so they won't need to lean on Iginla to be the go-to guy game in and game out like he often is in Calgary. Instead, he can quietly go about his business of scoring and putting up points as part of helping the Bruins get back to the top of the mountain.

Why he won't end up there:

Knowing the price the Penguins paid for their rental players, and the desperation of the Bruins to match the moves, the Flames can really try to gouge the Bruins in their Iginla negotiations to the point that Boston might opt to look elsewhere.

The Bruins not only have a full complement of draft picks to deal with in 2013, but they have a number of prospects who would be enticing for a rebuilding team like the Flames, including goaltender Malcolm Subban, a player whom Calgary would have high interest in, especially if Miikka Kiprusoff were to be on his way out as well.

If the Bruins aren't willing to pony up in a big way for Iginla, the Flames might just decide to take their business elsewhere.


Why he will end up there:

Adding a player like Iginla to their roster might just be the spark the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have been playing some of their best hockey lately since their sluggish start, need to put them over the top again this year.

The strongest link to the Kings for Iginla would be current Kings and former Flames head coach Darryl Sutter, who Iginla played some of his finest hockey under, particularly in the 2003-04 season when the two nearly led Calgary to their second Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The Kings are one of the top-scoring teams in the league, so fitting Iginla into that lineup without upsetting the chemistry would be a challenge. But if there's one person who can find a way to do just that, it would probably be Sutter.

Why he won't end up there:

Even though Iginla will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, the Flames aren't going to be gung-ho about trading him to a future division rival if there's a chance Iginla re-ups there in the summer. You'd have to figure any deal involving Iginla going to the Flames would have to include netminder Jonathan Bernier. The Kings are high on the 24-year-old Bernier as they see him as a potential NHL superstar in the near future, so they might not be too enamored with the idea of trading him away to a future division rival as well.

At the same time, while adding Iginla would be an increase in talent, they have a younger forward in their top six who essentially plays the exact same role in Dustin Brown.


Why he will end up there:

Given the Blackhawks' embarrassing riches of talented forwards up front, adding Iginla would be like icing on a very sweet cake.

While Chicago will want to be very careful about messing up the chemistry that they have already, they could certainly use a proven power forward with a right-handed shot, which is something they're missing as far as their top-six forward group is concerned.

From a personality standpoint, the affable Iginla also should be able to fit in seamlessly into a group that features a number of his former Canadian Olympic teammates such as Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

Why he won't end up there:

The Flames might be hesitant to deal with the Blackhawks for the same reason they don't want deal with the Kings. Although they won't be divisional foes next season, they will still be conference foes in 2013-14.

The Blackhawks also don't have what the Flames ought to be most interested in at this point, which is a young, top prospect (or perhaps even NHL-ready) netminder who can step in relatively soon and be the heir apparent to Kiprusoff.

And when you consider that any potential draft picks the Blackhawks will be offering up will be of the late-round variety, the Flames might be demanding roster players in return, which is something the Blackhawks might be shy to offer for the aforementioned reason of not wanting to tinker with the chemistry that they have developed that has made them the best team in hockey this season.