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.