March 08, 2011

Jarome Iginla: Hall of Fame Worthy?

Congratulations to Jarome Iginla for becoming just the 10th player in NHL history to score 30 or more goals in 10 consecutive seasons. Here's the list of others who accomplished this amazing feat, listed by number of consecutive seasons:

15 Mike Gartner, 1979-80 to 1993-94
15 Jaromir Jagr, 1991-92 to 2006-07
13 Phil Esposito, 1967-68 to 1979-80
13 Wayne Gretzky, 1979-80 to 1991-92
13 Bobby Hull, 1959-60 to 1971-72
12 Marcel Dionne, 1974-75 to 1985-86
10 Mike Bossy, 1977-78 to 1986-87
10 Jari Kurri, 1980-81 to 1989-80
10 Darryl Sittler, 1973-74 to 1982-83

That is very impressive company. All are Hall of Famers with the exception of the still-active Jagr, and once he is retired he is a lock.

Which raised the question: Is Jarome Iginla Hall of Fame Worthy?

My first - and lasting - thought is "of course!"

He still has, health willing, probably 5 productive seasons left in him, and he could continue to play beyond that. Next season he should reach the magical 500 goal and 1000 point marks. He could challenge 600 goals and 1200 points, very impressive numbers in any era, but especially considering some of his strongest seasons came in the dead puck era.

Individual accomplishments? He is a three time First Team All Star on right wing. He is a two time Maurice Richard Trophy winner as top goal scorer in the league. He also won an Art Ross Trophy, Pearson Award and was once a runner up for the Hart Trophy. It does not hurt to be the undisputed face of a franchise either.

That brings us to team success, which mean championships. Iginla does not have a Stanley Cup ring, and some believe that is a pre-requisite for Hall of Fame inclusion. I disagree, especially in this era of 30 teams. Besides, Iginla played top line roles in three Olympics with Team Canada, winning two gold medals. Some of his most memorable moments came at the game's highest level.

Even without a Cup ring, it could be argued Iginla had more playoff success than a few of the Hall of Fame players listed above, namely Mike Gartner, Marcel Dionne, and Darryl Sittler. Iginla led Calgary to game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup finals, leading all players in goals.

Oh yeah, and he was a significant part of two Memorial Cup championships, 1 World Junior Championship, 1 World Cup and 1 World Championship.

So yes, Jarome Iginla, even with several years left to play, is already lock to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in my books.


Keith Rispin said...

Statistically speaking he is worthy but people don't measure greatness by statistics alone. The Cup is one measure that trumps all and unless he helps the flames win a cup he will never be considered "Hall Worthy" by many.

Joe Pelletier said...

You are right Keith, the Cup is a big thing for HHOF consideration. But will "many" hold that against Iginla? I can't see it. He's won every other championship and was a key member of each title. His individual resume speaks for itself.

Brad Park, Marcel Dionne, Mike Gartner and many others got into the Hall without a Cup, so no one will hold it against him. Not with his resume.

And let's not forget, he's still got several years ahead. He may yet get it.

Dan said...

It also doesn't hurt that he's been a fantastic ambassador for the game both at and away from the rink, and is one of those guys who has really given the NHL a face it could be proud of.

somethingkeeper said...

Jarome will deserve to be elected to HHOF.He's such a great player and FAITHFUL to the same team.That should count for induction.Way to go,Mister Iginla and GO FLAMES!!!

Frédérick A. Lavallée said...

True Joe. Juste the fact that Iginla dominated in the Dead Puck Era speaks for itself.

You pretty much nailed it, nothing more to add.

I say yes without hesitation.

Darren said...

I agree with you that he should be a lock. Considering hockey is a team game, placing too great of emphasis on having a Cup ring is a dangerous thing.

Anonymous said...

As of April 1st, 2011, Iginla has reached the 1000 point milestone...

he also has 480 goals, a mess of hardware (Art Ross, Pearson, 2x Rocket Richard)... is a 6x all star (3x as a 1st team all star)... all this alone is enough to get in the hall...

add 2x Olympic gold, a WCOH gold, a WC gold, WJC gold and two Memorial Cups and you have one of the most decorated players of his generation... i believe it is unlikely he will be anything other than a 1st ballot HOFer

Unknown said...

I think Olympic Gold Medals are important when considering guys who played during the "NHL at the Olympics" era. While it's not a cup, it proves that this guy comes to play in the biggest of games, against the best of players. Plus if the NHL had better video technology back in 2004 nobody would be having this conversation.