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Calgary Flames

Flames Best #12 Of All Time: Jarome Iginla




I know we’re going to have some die hard Hakan Loob fans in here who will disagree with me selecting Iggy as the best #12 ever and…..well, you’d be wrong. Jarome Iginla is without a doubt, the greatest Flame ever and the greatest #12 in franchise history. And don’t give me that nonsense about wearing #24 for one season.

For 16 seasons and 1219 games Jarome Iginla was the face of the Calgary Flames and his career stats and contributions to the franchise can’t be measured on their face value alone. This is the man, who despite playing with inferior talent for most of his time with the Flames, battled night in and night out and was the ultimate professional. A player of his caliber could have easily demanded a trade out of town, but not Jarome Iginla. He knew this was his team and his city and he’ll always be the greatest Flames player to ever lace them up.

Iginla wasn’t only a prolific scorer, he was an amazing all around player who could beat you with his stick, skates and fists. While he never racked up tons of penalty minutes like a goon (the most he ever had was 86), he did finish his career with 72 fighting majors. Which is a lot for a guy with 600+ goals and 1300 career points.

The major “knock” on Iginla is he will always be remembered as one of those “best to never win a championship” players. And that’s a real shame because his career is so much more than that. In his time in Calgary he played in 1219 career games, scored 525 goals and collected 570 assists. He would only make the playoffs six times during those 13 seasons, but he would be the work horse each time. During the Flames miracle season of 2003-04 where they were THIS close to winning the Stanley Cup, Iginla would play in 26 games and record 22 points (13 were goals) with four of his goals being on the PP. Literally, Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff put the entire franchise on their backs and carried them.

That’s just who Jarome Iginla was. You needed something done, Iggy threw Calgary on his shoulders and forged ahead. He never played less than 70 games in a Flames uniform (trade season notwithstanding). He would only score less than 20 goals twice (his second and final seasons in Calgary). He only has two seasons with less than 50 points (second and last again). He had 11 straight seasons with 30 or more goals and hit the 50 goal mark twice, once in 2001-02 with 52 and 50 in 2007-08. He also managed three 90+ point seasons as well. Now look at all that and look at how the Flames played/played with during Iginla’s time and you’ll start to appreciate how great he truly was.

In 16 years he was the Flames Captain for a team record nine straight seasons from 2003-04 until his departure in 2013. I can’t see anyone else coming along to take that record run from Iggy. He was a six time All Star, all with the Flames. He won the Art Ross Trophy in 2000-01 and was twice the winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy (2000-1 & 2003-04) as the league’s leading goal scorer.

When Iginla was traded to Pittsburgh in 2013, he had made his mark on the Flames record books. He’s the all time leader in games played (1219), goals scored (525), points (1095), even strength goals (351), PPG (161), GWG (83) and shots (3992). He’s also second in assists (570) and 4th all time in SHG with 13. He’s literally the Flames all time leader in just about everything.

Iginla would finish his Flames career off on a less than spectacular Flames team, playing in 31 games and only scoring 9 times before being sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a messy trade during the back end of the 2013 season. He would play five more seasons after that with stops in Boston, Colorado and LA before retiring after the 2016-17 season. On March 12, 2019 the Flames retired Iggy’s #12, joining Lanny McDonald and Mike Vernon as the only Flames players with their numbers retired by the organization. And to cap off an almost perfect career, Jarome Iginla was selected for the Hockey Hall Of Fame in 2020, his first year of eligibility.

Other Players Having Worn #12 In Flames History

Ernie Hicke (1973), Tom Lysiak (1974-79), Ivan Boldirev (1979-80), Don Lever (1980-82), Denis Cyr (1982-83), Tim Harrer (1983), Howard Walker (1983), Hakan Loob (1984-89), Paul Fenton (1991), Paul Krause (1992-97)

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by Mark Parkinson