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Tij Iginla talks the Flames, the NHL Draft and his excitement for what is yet to come from Las Vegas

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Photo credit:Steve Dunsmoor/Kelowna Rockets
Jeff Middleton
26 days ago
This article is brought to you by bet365.
The 2024 NHL Draft is upon us, and the Calgary Flames will have plenty of interesting prospects to choose from when they select ninth overall and 28th overall in the event’s first round.
It feels as if since the Flames were eliminated from playoff contention, it has been “draft mode” for plenty of fans and media. Why wouldn’t it be? While this class hasn’t been dubbed one with a super high ceiling for its players like 2023 was, there are some names to keep an eye out for, and one of those players has a connection to the Flames via his father, which everyone has read ad nauseum about: Tij Iginla.
We here at FlamesNation already did a prospect profile for Iginla, so I won’t repeat what has already been written (or at least try not to), but with the prospects all in Las Vegas getting prepared for the biggest day of their hockey careers to this point, it also means we get to hear from them and what their thoughts are before the festivities. Iginla was asked plenty of different questions on a range of topics, the most general one being his overall feelings before the draft and if it has really “sunk in” yet that he’s at this juncture.
“It still feels a little bit off, but I think the night before or the day before, I’ll start to get a little bit nervous, and it will probably be harder to sleep that night,” Iginla said, via Flames TV. “It’s so hard to know where you’re going, so just trust that everything will work out.”
It’s hard to say that is a surprising answer from an 18-year-old kid about to take his first steps into his future with plenty of uncontrollable variables in the way. But following that, he was asked a little later in his availability about more Flames-specific topics, and some of the responses he delivered were as typical as one would expect from a smart, composed, and media-trained kid like this pretty generic response when asked about being drafted to the Flames specifically.
“I think it would be cool to go to the Flames, but at the same time, every team in the NHL would be great to go to, so I’m just excited,” Iginla said.
Short, sweet, and to the point without much other detail, just like you’re taught.
Iginla was also asked about his interviews with the Flames and how those went, considering the connections to the people in the management room. A brief story of his time with Craig Conroy and his family on Christmas Eve in his combined meeting with Calgary gave everyone a brief chuckle.
“I met with [the Flames] at the combine, and it was good,” Iginla said. “I knew [Craig] Conroy growing up quite a bit, and we always used to go to his house on Christmas Eve, so he had some good little get-togethers there. It was just kind of funny going into the combine interview, and he’s asking me questions, and I’m thinking back to when I was a little kid when we’d do the Santa Tracker in his house in the basement. Just kind of a funny connection there, but it’s been good.”
And, even though it was a while ago and hard to remember the experience fully, Iginla was asked what he remembered most about Calgary while he was watching his dad build a Hall of Fame career that drew the respect of fans, media, players, and management teams all across the NHL.
“It was a long time ago,” Iginla said. “I lived there until I was six years old, but it was a lot of fun. They had good hockey and a good city, and I think the fanbase is super passionate. It would be cool to get to play there.”
Finally, it felt like an inevitability, but Iginla was asked straight up about his thoughts on the comparisons between him and his dad, to which he gave a very mature response for someone going through a whirlwind of emotions.
“I don’t think I make too much of [the comparisons],” Iginla said. “Obviously, we’re two different players, and I guess that’s for [the media] to look at and make your comparisons and things like that. But I just try to focus on my game and be the best player I can be.
Even if Iginla isn’t on the board when the Flames are on the clock, it’s good to know that any NHL team will be drafting a very mature player and a very mature person for his age if they select him. If he’s on the board at ninth overall (given the variation in all of the mock drafts being posted, who knows what could happen), it will be interesting to see if the Flames select him or if they go a different route. Nonetheless, there are lots of decisions to be made, and both Iginlas are factors.

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