Negotiating lessons from the Jerome Iginla trade

As any hockey fan now knows, after almost 17 seasons with the Calgary Flames, Jerome Iginla has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In return, the Flames didn’t receive what would be considered adequate value for a player of Iginla’s stature and ability. But the Flames general manager was not in a strong negotiating position with other teams.

Iginla had a “no move” clause in his contract, which meant that he could veto any trade. This also meant that Iginla could provide a list of teams where he would agree to be traded. No doubt it was a very short list. And Iginla was an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, meaning that the team he was traded to might only have him for the remainder of this season. This is not an ideal situation for the Flames GM to be in.

But, there are some things he could do to strengthen his negotiating position:

  • Have a clear understanding of the teams where Iginla would agree to play and use that as leverage to increase what he got in return.
  • Negotiate for additional players that would become part of the deal if the team Iginla goes to wins the Stanley Cup and/or is able to sign him to a contract beyond this year.
  • Be prepared to walk away from any and all deals.
  • Wait until the trade deadline to create a sense of urgency for Iginla.
  • Ensure there were no leaks in communication, or leak incorrect information, to try to even the playing field.

Negotiations are always difficult, especially when one party has a clear advantage over the other. But there are always strategies you can implement to try and give yourself an advantage.