Sometimes the best deals are the ones that do not get completed. And over the next couple of seasons Bruins fans may come to know that not getting Jarome Iginla may have been the luckiest of outcomes for the B’s.

The fact is that general manager Peter Chiarelli’s Plan B player, Jaromir Jagr, has delivered more to the Bruins than Iginla has to the Pittsburgh Penguins — Iginla’s preferred destination, as he snubbed the B’s.

Jagr was clearly the best and most dangerous player in the B’s disappointing 4-2 loss to the 14th-place Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night — the ’Canes winning for the second time in their last 16 games. In six games with his new team, the sturdy and creative Jagr has 1-6-7 totals; in seven games as a Penguin, Iginla has 1-3-4.

But the analysis of the B’s trade/non-trade goes far beyond a half-dozen games. The Bruins acquired Jagr from Dallas for a modest price: grinder Lane MacDermid, junior prospect Cody Payne and a conditional draft pick.

Getting Iginla would have cost much, much more, with defenseman Matt Bartkowski going to Calgary, along with talented young Russian forward Alexander Khokhlachev and a pick.

To have given up Bartkowski and Khokhlachev for a guy, Iginla, who might have been a Bruin for six weeks could have turned out to be excruciating for B’s fans. Chiarelli was willing to pay such a high price, of course, in the hope Iginla might be the catalyst to a Stanley Cup.

Either way, given the Bruins’ shoddy play, winning the Cup doesn’t seem very likely. At a time of year when they should be rounding into peak form for the intense and demanding challenges of the postseason, the B’s are showing little of the speed, talent, intensity and cohesion of years past. Maybe the imminent return of Patrice Bergeron, perhaps as soon as tonight, will inspire a dramatic upgrade. It better. But the short-term absence of one or two players doesn’t explain a subpar season.