In the over 100 year history of the National Hockey League, only 20 players have ever reached 600 goals in their career, and of those 20 players, 17 of those have been forever enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The three that haven’t? Alex Ovechkin who’s probably still a few years away from calling time on his future Hall of Fame career, Jaromir Jagr who’s probably never going to retire as he’s back home playing in the Czech Republic, and Jarome Iginla who’s set to announce his decision to hang up the skates next Monday.
After 1554 regular season games, 625 goals, 675 assists and 1300 points, Iginla finally calls time on a legendary career that began way back in 1996 with the Calgary Flames. His career began before three members of his former team were even born, Sam Bennett, Matt Tkachuk and Noah Hanifin.
Iginla was originally a draft pick of the Dallas Stars with the 11th selection in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, but was traded months later to the Flames before ever making an appearance in the NHL.
Over the next 16-years, Iginla transformed for a successful junior player into the best player in Flames history, being the franchise leader in goals, points, games player as well as second in assists.
After his time in Calgary came to an end, Iginla spent time in four other cities chasing the cup, and trying to help build a foundation for some up and coming teams.
Iginla may have built his legacy as natural goalscorer with elite level skill at the peak of his career, but he always played with an edge and a toughness to his game that saw him really round his play out as an imposing force both physically and on the stats sheet, and he could always hold his own in a fight too.
So after such a lengthy career, is Iginla a first ballot Hall of Famer?
Iginla sat out last year, not playing a game at any level in any league so that’s one year closer to induction.
To be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the official wording is the player “must have not played in a professional or international hockey game(a) during any of the three (3) playing seasons prior to his or her election.”
So we’re a year in already, the upcoming season will be year two, so Iginla already shoots straight up to be one of the headline names for the 2020 induction.
During his career, Iginla won almost all he could.
He won a WHL Championship, two Memorial Cups, World Junior gold, World Championship gold, two Olympic golds, a World Cup gold, two Rocket Richard trophies, one Art Ross trophy, a King Clancy trophy, Mark Messier Leadership award and seven all star games.
He won just about everything but the Stanley Cup, despite coming close in 2004, losing in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After spending 16-years with the Flames, Iginla moves around a little bit, moving to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and finally the Los Angeles Kings.
It’s likely to be an emotional press conference on Monday given the status of Iginla in Calgary, but at 41-years-old and such a successful career behind him, Iginla will be in the Hall of Fame in 2020 due to him being one of the all-time great players, and all-time great people off the ice.
After he delivers his speech on Monday, we’ll only have to wait two years to hear from him again, standing in front of many of his peers as an inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Featured image – Source: Ottawa Citizen