As part of its 2017 All-Star festivities (and the league’s 100th anniversary), the National Hockey League has unveiled their NHL 100 list – a listing of the 100 greatest players of the NHL’s first 100 years.
Several prominent NHL legends are on the list. Not on the list? Calgary Flames all-time leading scorer and long-time team captain Jarome Iginla.
Let’s get this out of the way first: choosing 100 NHL players and singling them out as the best is tough. The process was likely going to be criticized even if the list was perfect. Because of the craziness of the list-making process, there was some concern that he wouldn’t make it. He wasn’t on TSN’s Top 67 Since 1967 list.
But c’mon, no Iginla on the list basically invalidates the list entirely.
He’s 34th in points in league history. He’s 16th in goals in league history, despite playing in the Dead Puck Era. The 15 guys ahead of him include 12 Hockey Hall of Famers along with Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne and Dave Andreychuk – all future Hall of Famers.
Iginla has had 12 30+ goal seasons – 11 in a row, only interrupted by a lockout that shortened a season – and five seasons where he had 20 (but couldn’t hit 30). He’s not amazing now, but he was really good for a long time in an era that seemed to conspire against good players with a lack of obstruction rules and ever-growing goalie equipment. How many highlight sequences of Iginla during his prime involved him doing cool stuff with a defenseman draped all over him or with somebody water-skiing behind him?
Finally, let’s remember – as people who had to watch this team growing up – that the Flames were pretty lousy for a good chunk of Iginla’s career. He played for a great chunk of his prime with a team whose scoring depth began and ended with him. Just imagine what he could have done with a half-decent supporting cast? He was a leading contender for several NHL awards between 2001-02 and 2008-09, and was a pretty damn good player before and after that peak period.
To quote Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski: “What he accomplished in his era is nothing short of extraordinary.”
Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Jaromir Jagr are the active players to make the NHL100 list.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) January 28, 2017
Iginla’s not one of the top 100 NHLers in history? All due respect to the fine people that put it together, but any list of the best in NHL history that doesn’t include Iginla should be put right into the shredder.