Top 50 Flames of All Time: #1 Jarome Iginla
Photo credit:Graphic by Mike Gould
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
For the past five decades, the Flames franchise has seen a lot of great players wear its jersey or make key contributions off the ice. But among the hundreds of individuals who represented the franchise, there’s one name that’s more synonymous with the club than anybody else: Jarome.
Jarome Iginla is the #1 Flame of All Time.
An Edmonton area product – he grew up in St. Albert, which is technically not Edmonton but basically Edmonton – Iginla impressed in youth hockey and ended up spending his major junior days with the Kamloops Blazers. Iginla was superb with the Blazers, helping them win a pair of Memorial Cups. His strong junior play led to him being selected 11th overall by Dallas in the 1995 NHL Draft, but his rights were traded to Calgary (along with Corey Millen) in exchange for Joe Nieuwendyk.
Iginla went pro at the end of the 1995-96 WHL season, joining the Flames and playing a pair of playoff games. He made the club out of camp in 1996 and never looked back. He started off as a reliable offensive player and he gradually built up his game from there. He scored 31 goals in 2000-01, then had a leap forward in 2001-02 with 52 goals and 96 points.
From that point on, Iginla was one of the best and most consistent scorers in the NHL; he was consistent before, but he found a new level in 2001-02 that he maintained for awhile. The elevation in his play also coincided with an elevation in his profile: he was a prominent figure in the 2002 Olympic men’s hockey team that won gold, was named Flames captain prior to the 2003-04 season, then led the Flames to within a win of a Stanley Cup. (He won a second gold medal in 2010, setting up a goal that a few people still remember fondly.)
The Flames never got back to 2004’s level of post-season success during Iginla’s tenure, but he was an offensive force that scored like clockwork in the regular season. He ended up as the Flames’ all-time leader in games played, points, goals and game-winning goals. He was also the longest-tenured captain in club history. And within the Calgary community, seemingly everybody has a “Jarome Iginla is so nice!” story, in part because he was as devoted to his off-ice community and charitable work as he was to being a fierce competitor on the ice.
During his Flames tenure, Iginla won the Art Ross Trophy, the Rocket Richard Trophy (twice), the Ted Lindsay Award, the NHL Foundation Player Award, the King Clancy Trophy, the Mark Messier Leadership Award, and he was a finalist for the Hart Trophy three times.
With the Flames likely to miss the playoffs and Iginla’s contract due to expire, he was traded to Pittsburgh prior to the 2013 trade deadline in exchange for college players Ken Agostino and Ben Hanowski and a late first-round pick. Iginla’s quest to finally win a Stanley Cup saw him make stops with Pittsburgh, Boston, Colorado and Los Angeles before he retired following the 2016-17 season.
Iginla was honoured by the Flames when his jersey number was retired in 2019. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2020. Iginla’s gotten into coaching since retiring, working with several of his children’s teams at the Rink Hockey Academy. Son Tij is currently playing with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, daughter Jade has represented Canada internationally and is currently playing at Brown University, while youngest son Joe is still too young to be drafted into the WHL.
Iginla had a seismic impact on the Flames franchise. Not only was he one of the big reasons to watch the team during their lean years, but he was a huge catalyst in getting the club back to relevance (and eventually contention). He’s the best player that’s ever worn their jersey, and the most important person in club history.
Top 50 Flames of All Time
Honourable mentions | #50 Brad Treliving | #49 Sonia Scurfield | #48 Curtis Glencross | #47 Colin Patterson | #46 Jiri Hudler | #45 Jim Peplinski | #44 Jim “Bearcat” Murray | #43 Nelson Skalbania | #42 Dion Phaneuf | #41 Reggie Lemelin | #40 Joel Otto | #39 Dan Bouchard | #38 Paul Reinhart | #37 Tom Lysiak | #36 Eric Vail | #35 Tim Hunter | #34 Al Coates | #33 Harvey the Hound | #32 Martin Gelinas | #31 Sergei Makarov | #30 Elias Lindholm | #29 Mikael Backlund | #28 Häkan Loob | #27 Matthew Tkachuk | #26 Doug Gilmour | #25 Jacob Markström | #24 Joe Mullen | #23 Robyn Regehr | #22 Gary Roberts | #21 Doug Risebrough | #20 Al MacNeil | #19 Craig Conroy | #18 Daryl & Byron Seaman | #17 Gary Suter | #16 Sean Monahan | #15 Kent Nilsson | #14 Mark Giordano | #13 Joe Nieuwendyk | #12 Mike Vernon | #11 Terry Crisp | #10 Theoren Fleury | #9 Johnny Gaudreau | #8 “Badger” Bob Johnson | #7 Al MacInnis | #6 Lanny McDonald | #5 Harley Hotchkiss | #4 Miikka Kiprusoff | #3 Darryl Sutter | #2 Cliff Fletcher | #1 Jarome Iginla
Recent articles from Ryan Pike