Tij Iginla has made a name for himself becoming a top prospect ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft

Photo credit:Steve Dunsmoor/Kelowna Rockets
Raz Devraj
1 month ago
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If there is one name that can get Calgary Flames fans more excited than anything, it would have to be Iginla. A name that has deep roots throughout this team’s history. One of the first players to come to mind when you think of the Flames is Jarome Iginla. The 18th captain of this franchise and someone whose presence left a lasting impact on the city.
The 2012-13 season was the last time the name Iginla was seen on the back of the Flaming C. Fast forward 13 years and the chance for that to happen again and Jarome’s legacy to continue may be right around the corner as his son Tij Iginla is expected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming 2024 NHL Draft currently ranked as the ninth best North American skater.

Scouting report

Iginla is a 17-year-old Canadian forward listed at 6’0” and 185 pounds who plays both centre and left wing.
Over the past year, he has taken leaps forward in his game that has not only put him on the radar as a first-round draft pick this year but also one of the top prospects to come out of his draft as he continues to jump the rankings. 
Iginla made his WHL debut in 2022 with the Seattle Thunderbirds playing three games that season. He played another season with the Thunderbirds before he was traded to the Kelowna Rockets. 
Iginla’s point production took a major step forward this season with the Rockets where he sat at just over 1.3 points per game. 
Elite Prospects’ Draft Guide had this to say about the type of player Tij is:
Iginla’s first in every exchange. As he enters the boards with an opponent, he takes a step into their space to knock them off balance. He goes out of his way to initiate contact, even leaving the puck behind temporarily to intercept the opponent with a shoulder. In the rare instance he’s not first to the puck, he traps opponents feet to the boards or times a perfect stick lift.
In November, here’s how Dobber Prospects’ Luke Sweeney evaluated Iginla:
Though the scoring has dried up somewhat from his red-hot start, Tij Iginla still looks like an interesting prospect. Besides the name pedigree, Iginla is an easy player to root for. His habits away from the puck are a definite strength, from his frequent scanning, active stick, good forechecking routes and hard-nosed backchecking. Iginla’s best skills seem to be in slowing the play down to give him space or finding soft spots on the ice. He gets off the wall to the middle quickly, and can also drift into high-danger areas, and when paired with his lightning-quick snapshot, makes him a dangerous goal scorer. Though his skating isn’t elite, he’s got quickness, stability and mobility which helps him be a solid transition player, though they’re more useful off the cycle, where he is just as effective, solving problems and playing a possession game. Iginla might lack the high-end dynamism of some of the other WHLers in this class, but his combination of all-around skills and pro-level habits make him a good bet to be a contributing NHLer.
Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis had Iginla ranked number 11 in his May rankings update:
Score, score and score some more. That’s what he does best. Iginla is a solid distributor, don’t get me wrong. But with the puck on his stick, he’s a dangerous generator. He plays with good pace, and while he isn’t big, he’s physically strong. There’s top-six potential here for a guy who loves controlling the pace of play. It doesn’t hurt having his family’s pedigree, either. I know some really think he could go in the top five of the NHL Draft, but I don’t know if I see as much true star upside as some others. Regardless, he’ll be one heck of a player.
TSN’s Craig Button had Iginla jump from No.10 to No.4 in his May rankings and that is the highest Iginla has been ranked out of anyone:
“Tij drives play,” said Button. “He’s a difference maker. He makes teams better; he makes players around him better. He can play with any player. He’s so smart, IQ off the charts. And you know what? I think he’s only scratching the surface.”
When it comes to Iginla the overall consensus is that he’s a smart player who thinks the game at a high level. While he has a lethal shot and the ability to put the puck in the net at an elite level, his greatest strength is his game away from the puck. There isn’t one area that he is insanely strong in and there isn’t an area in which he is weak in. He’s got the all-around skill and good habits that help him play a smart and complete game which gives him the potential to be someone who will be able to contribute on an NHL roster. 

The numbers

Iginla had 47 goals and 84 points through 64 games played with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL this year. His 47 goals were tied for the sixth most out of any player in the WHL this season. 
Despite the Rockets being eliminated from the WHL playoffs in the second round by the Prince George Cougars, Iginla had nine goals and 15 points through 11 games played. His nine goals had him at sixth most goals out of any player in the postseason. 
Iginla also went on to play for Canada at the U18 World Championship where he helped his team win gold against Finland with six goals and 12 points through seven games played. He finished with the second most goals on Team Canada behind Gavin McKenna and fourth most out of any other player in the tournament. 

Availability and fit

For a Flames team that has struggled to put the puck in the net over the past couple of seasons, Iginla’s innate talent and ability to score goals looks really good right about now and could be a big step in the right direction as the Flames navigate through the rebuild. A player who can score but is also smart away from the puck and can be reliable in all areas of the ice is a player that any team would be looking to add. Iginla’s style of play could possibly be a perfect linemate for a playmaking forward like Jonathan Huberdeau who could use the extra assistance defensively. A young core of Zary, Pelletier, Coronato, and Iginla is bound to draw excitement for the future. 
Iginla is all over the place when you take a look at all of the rankings compiled by different scouts. The highest he is ranked is No.4 by Craig Button and the lowest he is ranked is No.23 by FC Hockey. That is a massive range and as of now other than being drafted in the first round there is no telling where he might end up. As the season progressed so did his name up the rankings. The Flames have the ninth overall pick so there is a somewhat of a good chance that he is still available when it comes time for general manager Craig Conroy to announce their selection. 
What a story it would be for the Flames to draft the son of Jarome. Yes, there would be pressure for the kid to perform but it would bring so much hype back to a team that is working to become relevant once again and who better than an Iginla to help lead this franchise back to being competitive.

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