WILMINGTON, Mass. — Jarome Iginla and the Boston Bruins have gotten the most out of their relationship. Enough, in fact, that it makes sense to extend that relationship beyond this year, but some bigger work must be done first.
Iginla has been wonderful in his first season with the Bruins, and there are rumblings that both sides would like to agree on an extension to his contract, which runs out after this season.
Iginla, who’ll turn 37 this summer, was asked about those reports Tuesday, after he was named the NHL’s first star for the month of March.
“It’s been a great experience for myself and my family,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to have gotten a chance to be here this year. … Hopefully everything works out. But at the same time, I know the best thing that I can do and try to keep focus on is now and enjoy this now, the run we’re on and getting ready for playoffs. That’s where the most focus is.”
The Bruins also sound willing to wait until after the season to finalize something.
“It’s something we’ll discuss after the completion of our games,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said last week on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “He’s been good for us. He’s a guy we’d like to keep.”
Iginla, who leads the Bruins with 30 goals and ranks second with 61 points, has been a big reason Boston has run away with the Atlantic Division and is challenging for the Presidents’ Trophy. The Bruins are on the short list of legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, with the playoffs right around the corner.
“I do feel fortunate to have gotten to experience that this year,” Iginla said. “I knew it was a very good team that I was joining. Playing against them, the core, the group of guys that are here, you just hope that you fit in. The guys have been great and making all of us new guys feel part of it.”
Reaching a deal might be a little more complicated this time. Last summer, Iginla signed a team-friendly contract that came with a salary-cap hit of just $1.8 million but included incentives that reportedly would make the deal worth up to $6 million. There’s no doubt Iginla’s base guaranteed salary and cap hit would increase after such a productive season, but it seems there’s a deal to be made at some point.
That point likely is down the road — a road that Iginla hopes ends with him hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time.