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  • Drafting Tij Iginla Is the Only Way To Stop Another Iginla Haunting Minnesota

    Image courtesy of FloHockey YouTube screenshot
    Tony Abbott

    If apples really don't fall far from trees, the Minnesota Wild should be very, very scared of the 2024 NHL Draft. This draft class includes Tij Iginla, the son of Jarome Iginla, the player who's burned the Wild perhaps more than any other.

    The older Iginla scored 625 goals in his career, which is surprising to Wild fans only because it felt like he scored 500 against Minnesota alone. In reality, it was "only" 39 goals (with another 33 assists for good measure) over 84 career games against Minnesota. The next-best Wild Haunter, Ryan Kesler, only had 26 career goals against Minnesota. 

    Even that doesn't fully underscore the dominance Iginla had over the Wild. Minnesota didn't have a team for the first four years and 91 goals of his career -- presumably because the Wild were too intimidated by "Iggy" to form a team that would have to play against him. Once Minnesota entered the chat, Iginla's reign of terror against the Wild accounted for 7.3% of Iginla's 534 goals.

    Then, of course, 35 of those came during his time with the Calgary Flames, Minnesota's Northwest Division rivals. The Wild could never stymie his combination of an elite shot and wrecking ball playing style. No. 12 still causes long-time Minnesota fans to wake up in a cold sweat.

    No one is saying the Wild should only draft Tij because his father was Jarome. That would be silly. What I am saying is that drafting Tij might be the only way the Wild prevents two decades of being tortured by another Iginla. 

    Don't get me wrong -- there's also a case to draft Tij independent of his Wild-killing lineage. Jarome's kid is a great prospect in his own right. His 47 goals for the WHL's Kelowna Rockets tied him for sixth in the league last season. He's also one of the youngest players in this draft, not turning 18 until August 1. He's a top-tier prospect with a lot of runway between now and his NHL debut. 


    Iginla is also in the range for the Wild to scoop up with their 13th overall pick. Elite Prospects' Consolidated Draft List ranks him 13th in his class. However, the 2024 class is expected to be volatile in the top half of the draft. With so many top defensemen available, a winger like Iginla might slide down the draft board, even with outlets like Elite Prospects ranking him as high as sixth in his class.

    Okay, so the goal totals are great, but what else can Minnesota expect if they draft Iginla?

    Well, if they want a Jarome-style wrecking ball, Tij is that Iginla-type player they're seeking. "Bigger, stronger, faster -- those are nice ingredients to have," Bill Guerin said at his end-of-season press conference. Here you go.

    "He's an excellent skater," says The Athletic's Scott Wheeler. His tools include being able to "beat you in a straight-out race, cut past you laterally with quick weight shifts, or build speed through tight crossover patterns."

    Awesome, rad, we got "faster" covered. 

    It's not breaking news that a 17-year-old kid probably needs to get bigger and stronger to succeed in the NHL, but Iginla's already listed at 6-foot-0. You can't rule out a late growth spurt because he's so young. Wheeler is high on Tij taking on his dad's game, mentioning "the emergence of a power game" to his toolkit. Jarome still managed to be one of the league's most fierce power forwards of all time at 6-foot-1, so it's not like a player needs Tage Thompson levels of height to do that kind of work.

    Particularly when he's got a shot that reminds everyone of... well, you know. "Pops taught him well," an Eastern Conference Executive told Cam Robinson of Elite Prospects. Robinson has much, much more to say on Tij's shot. He points to InStat's data, which lists 19 games where Iginla shot the puck 10 or more times, close to 30% of his 64 outings in the WHL.

    We're just scratching the surface here. Robinson says Iginla "does many of the little things ahead of his attempts that go into A) making sure a shot gets through to the net, and B) that it's not easy to track for the netminder." The subtleties are great, even when not combined with the fact that the dude can rip the puck.

    And there's more, according to Robinson. His speed and puck-handling make him a nightmare in transition that should allow him "to develop into a player who can beat defenders one-on-one at the NHL level one day." Robinson is even higher on Iginla's puck-handling skills than his shot. "He can embarrass opponents," Robinson warns any team that might pass on Iginla.

    The Athletic's Corey Pronman ran his first mock draft on Tuesday, where he sees the Wild taking Iginla at 13 overall. "He checks the skill and compete boxes Bill Guerin would be looking for," Pronman says. What goes unsaid is that the alternative to letting Iginla drop past them risks a worst-case scenario.

    The likelihood of a Central Division rival snatching up Iginla before the Wild have a crack at him is pretty slim. The Chicago Blackhawks are unlikely to pick Iginla with the second overall pick, and the Utah Not-Coyotes are the only other team picking before the Wild at No. 6. Utah may pass on a premium position like center or defenseman for Iginla, but it'd be a surprise.

    However, if Minnesota lets Iginla slip past 13? Now things get scary. That's trade-up territory for, say, the St. Louis Blues (No. 16 overall) and the Nashville Predators (No. 22, with a spare Juuse Saros on the block). If the Wild had a tough time beating Central Division rivals before, imagine how much worse it'd be if you have them an Iginla.

    It's a future that Minnesota can't allow to happen. The Wild might be lucky enough to have some Eastern Conference team send Iginla as far from them as possible. The New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, and Philadelphia Flyers are picking 10th, 11th, and 12th, for example. But to really be sure of a future where the path to the Stanley Cup doesn't hang on the Wild stopping an Iginla from scoring at will, they'll have to find a way to make sure Tij is safely in St. Paul, where he can help Minnesota instead of haunt them.

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    Iginla is in that, "if he drops, fucking take him" sort of scenario.  Silayev, Eiserman, and Yakemchuk also seem to fit that category.  After that, there's a bunch of people who feel like good or solid picks, but I'm not sold on anyone coming off an injury (Jiricek) or people who constitute "safe" picks (Greentree, NB, Helenius).  

    I kinda want and expect Calgary to take him.  I'm sure they have other needs, but you don't get scenarios like this too often where trying to draft a guy who projects right around your spot is also "that guy's son."  It just seems too perfect.  The Wild would do well if he falls, and would be stupid to pass on him if it isn't either Silayev or Eiserman sitting there.

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    Interesting that you completely skipped over the fact that Calgary drafts #9 and may very well want to continue the Iginla family tradition there.

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    I'll start with bloodlines. I am a big believer in bloodlines and that is a main reason I think Spacek will eventually make it. I've loved what the Toronto Blue Jays have done with bloodlines. 

    However, bloodlines aside, fear of what Iginla will do to the Wild is not reason enough to pick him. What I noticed was 6' 180 on his measurements. I also noticed LHS. And, he's a wing. I've gotta say if he falls in our laps I'd still be a bit disappointed, mainly because I think Shooter needs to be moving up and grab Lindstrom. Or Silayev is a good guy. I could also go Yakemchuk in the 1st and Pulkkinen in the 2nd for some beef on the back end.

    I remember Jerome being pretty thick, and that suggests that Tij may gain 30 lbs. If that happens, he could be a monster to handle. But, that's what's needed, can he do that? I also remember Jerome being a bit mean. Does Tij have that in him too? Does he have that effort needed, the extra to bulk up? 

    Maybe it would be a good pick, but I've got other prospects on my mind for what this team needs. 

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    39 minutes ago, mnfaninnc said:

    What I noticed was 6' 180 on his measurements.

    he's only 17 and will grow a bit yet. Unless you're drafting top 3 all prospects will take some time to develop and are highly likely to get bigger.

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    20 hours ago, viper3119 said:

    he's only 17 and will grow a bit yet. Unless you're drafting top 3 all prospects will take some time to develop and are highly likely to get bigger.

    This is very true, but it doesn't happen without some help. One would think with the bloodlines, that he'd be motivated to be in the gym. But, this organization has a reputation of not bulking up their prospects, and, so, will he be motivated to do this on his own?

    As a contrast, Lindstrom is 6'3-4" 216. It appears someone was already motivated!

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    I don't really give a shit about bloodlines or any of that crap. I've seen enough players with pro bloodlines turn out mid or worse.

    Draft whoever is BPA at 13 and call it a day. If that's Iginla then great.

    People I wouldn't hate the Wild draft in no order

    Tij Iginla

    Cole Eiserman

    Carter Yakemchuk

    Beckett Sennecke


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    There is very very little chance we get Iginla. He has raised according to every hockey outlet ranking there is. There’s even talk of Montreal taking him at #5. No way he falls past Calgary or Philadelphia either. I’d love to have him, I guess he’s a monster on the boards too, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up. The rankings stated in the article were all from the beginning of the year. With Iggy’s young age, progression throughout the reg season and his very good showing in the playoffs and the tournament lately, he’s not going to be there. I have a feeling Catton or Helenius could be there but both are smaller centers.  Yakemchuk would be fantastic but I don’t see him falling. I have this sneaking suspicion we are going to take M. Nygaud which I think would be a reach.

    if we reach I’d be happy with Michael Hage which is suppose to be a 6ft 2 Center with a great shot, great speed, compete and high hockey iq.

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