At age 36 and heading into his 17th NHL season, it was fair to wonder how much that right wing Jarome Iginla had left in the tank. Through 67 games with the Bruins in the 2013-14 season, now the conversation has turned to, "When will Boston GM Peter Chiarelli give Iginla a contract extension - during this season or in the summer?"
The future Hall of Famer has been that good, putting up the second most points (23 goals, 30 assists) on a team that looks destined for another deep run at the Stanley Cup. He is also plus-25 with 40 penalty minutes, four power-play goals and four game-winning goals, showing you the variety of skills and toughness that he possesses. Ironically enough, their main competition in the Eastern Conference is Pittsburgh, the team that Iginla chose to go to at the trade deadline last season.
After a 4-1 win over Florida earlier this month, the always smiling and positive Iginla talked about his rapid acclimation to a new club.
“I’m fortunate to be here and have this opportunity," Iginla said. "It is a great group of guys that are very tight. I’m thrilled to play for the Bruins, it's fun.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a player in the NHL this spring that will be more motivated than Iginla. A Stanley Cup is one of the only things to elude him in a storied career that’s included an NHL goal-scoring and points title, six All-Star game appearances, two gold medals with Team Canada at the Olympics, having been captain of the Flames and owning Calgary's franchise scoring title.
Since training camp, Iginla has been on Boston’s top line with David Krejci (16 goals, 40 assists) and Milan Lucic (20 goals, 28 assists). They are the top three scorers for the Bruins this season and they’ve formed one of the top lines in the NHL.
“Krejci has been good all year,” noted Iginla. “He’s so easy to play with ... It is a different approach here and style of pressure. It’s a lot less stressful than being in Calgary.”
Lucic and Krejci for years have been known to often coast during the regular season, only to turn it up a notch in the playoffs. It is no surprise that in their first year with the diligent Iginla that they have both had their most consistent campaigns.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate