Iginla a big loss for Bruins

Jarome Iginla will not return to Boston for the 2014-2015 season.

The veteran forward and future Hall of Famer has signed a three-year deal worth $16 million with the Colorado Avalanche, according to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun.

This is a big loss for the Bruins, but almost unavoidable given Boston’s salary cap constraints. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli wanted to re-sign Iginla. At season’s end, Iginla said he wanted to return to Boston because the Bruins are built to win another Stanley Cup. But when a team like the Avalanche offers that kind of security with salary and term, it’s a good move for Iginla.

The Bruins will miss his leadership both on and off the ice. He fit perfectly on Boston’s top line with his size, strength, physicality and scoring ability. Iginla’s linemates in Boston -- David Krejci and Milan Lucic -- enjoyed the most consistent seasons of their respective careers with Iginla on the right wing.

“I wish him all the best,” Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron wrote in a text message. “He’s been a great player for us last year and I learned a lot from him on and off the ice by the way he approaches the game.”