Jarome Iginla signs with Avalanche

After stints with both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins, veteran forward Jarome Iginla is heading back to the Western Conference, where he has spent the majority of his career as a Calgary Flame.

One of the biggest names of the 2014 free-agent class, Iginla inked a three-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the veteran confirmed.

The deal is worth a total of $16 million, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun. He will make $5.5 million in each of the first two years of the contract, and $5 million in the final year of the deal.

Iginla's signing adds another bona fide top-six forward to an already dynamic group of offensive talents in Colorado. Under first-year coach Patrick Roy and with the emergence of superstar rookie Nathan MacKinnon, the Avs staged a dramatic turnaround from the lockout-shortened 2013 season.

After finishing 29th in the NHL in 2013, the Avs took the Western Conference by storm, surprising many by clinching the Central Division title. They lost in the first round of the playoffs in a seven-game series to the Minnesota Wild.

Iginla arrives in Colorado after finishing last season with 30 goals and 61 points in 78 games for the Bruins. He also recorded five goals and seven points in 12 playoff games.

The 37-year-old winger expressed interest in re-signing with Boston, although the Bruins' lack of salary-cap space ultimately prompted Iginla to test free agency for the second consecutive summer.

"In the NHL it's hard to pick which team is going to win, but you want to be on a contender and I think at this stage of my career that is very important," Iginla told Sportsnet. "I know Boston, they have a great shot, a great team and they work very hard and they're committed. Unfortunately, it didn't end the way we wanted it to this year in Boston, but they'll be right back there and have a great shot again and I realize that. But it wasn't really a full option and Colorado, to me, is a young, dynamic team and they're just getting better."

Iginla earned about $6 million in salary in bonuses this past season for the Bruins after signing an incentive-laden deal.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli admitted he knew going into the offseason it would be tough to re-sign Iginla given the Bruins' cap situation.

"We kind of rolled out our lineup from the beginning of last summer to know that these are challenges we were going to have," Chiarelli said. "It was tough from the perspective of losing a player like that who can shoot, a right shot, and is obviously very experienced, a very good player, a Hall of Fame player. The year before we had a Hall of Fame player in [Jaromir] Jagr, a few years before we had a Hall of Fame player in [Mark] Recchi, so my point is we usually manage to rebound."

Chiarelli said he explored moves to create space for Iginla, but ultimately decided against them.

"At the end, I made a decision that I felt that there were moves I could've made that, at the end, I didn't want to make," Chiarelli said. "I thought it was to the betterment of the organization, to the team, not to do it and that's kind of where it stood. I also felt we could have done another deal [with Iginla] like we did last year and that was discussed."

Colorado also acquired veteran center Daniel Briere via trade with the Montreal Canadiens in a deal that sent P.A. Parenteau to the Habs. The club lost top center Paul Stastny on Tuesday when he signed with the St. Louis Blues as an unrestricted free agent.

ESPN.com's Katie Strang and ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald contributed to this report.