2024 Calgary Flames Draft Prospect Preview: Tij Iginla

Tij Iginla
Tij Iginla / Dale Preston/GettyImages

The Calgary Flames need to find a centrepiece of the future in the 2024 NHL Draft, so why not look to the past and the history of the city and the organization to find that piece? For most fans, casual and dedicated, Tij Iginla, the son of franchise icon Jarome Iginla has been the name on the tip of everyones tongue, so now let's take a look at a big name target for the Flames.

Tij Iginla, Kelowna Rockets, C/W

6-foot-0, 185 pounds, 17-years of age
2023-24 WHL statistics; 64 games played, 47 goals, 37 assists, 84 points, +17 differential.

On the surface, there's both negatives and positives to drafting the son of Jarome Iginla, and at this point, there's very little that hasn't been said about those. On the positive side, Iginla has great size, talent and attitude, summed up by this comment from an anonymous NHL scout;

""I'm betting he's the next best in the class (after Mack). Already overwhelming with puck pursuit. Elite handles, a great shot, physical... he's got his dad's attitude too. That puck is his and he wants it.""

NHL scout

This past season with Kelowna, Iginla played both on the wing and down the middle, but given the Flames depth at wing with the likes of Coleman, Mangiapane, Huberdeau, Sharangovich, Kuzmenko, Coronato, Pelletier and Pospisil, that's the last position they need to target in the draft. According to reports however, Tij is believed to be a center moving forward, and as he continues to grow, both physically and as a player, he could potentially be a 1C of the future.

While the Flames interest in Iginla is obvious, there's teams ahead of Calgary that are reportedly interested, with the likes of Utah, Montreal and Ottawa all linked to the Rockets star, but one thing the Flames shouldn't do is move up to draft him. Sure, having the son of a Flames icon would be a great move, both for PR and as a player, but if they move up to land him and he fails under the weight of expectations, it will be a major black eye for the Craig Conroy led front office.

Iginla himself has addressed the idea of playing in Calgary too, and while he acknowledged that there would be pressure to perform, he likes the idea of following in his father's footsteps, and isn't worried about the pressure.

Reasons to draft Tij Iginla

There's plenty of reasons why Calgary should target Iginla, as he is a big body and only growing, his future is at the position of biggest need for the team, and with the skill and attitude of the Iginla that dominated for Calgary over so many seasons, it's a good move on the ice and for potential jersey sales once he reaches the NHL.

Reasons not to draft Tij Iginla

While Tij has addressed the pressure of Calgary and believes he's ready for it, if the Flames draft him and things don't go well, the criticisms of nepotism within the organization will get very loud, and for a 18-19 year old (assuming he would be in the NHL fairly quickly) who is just trying to figure his game out at the next level, it's added pressure that isn't needed.

Should the Calgary Flames draft Tij Iginla at No. 9 overall?

Early in the 2023-24 WHL season, it appeared Iginla was going to be a mid to late first-round draft pick, but with incredible goal scoring that saw him lead the team with 47, his draft stock has steadily risen. Now, it's expected that the lottery will be unpredictable, with some mock drafts pinning Iginla as a top-five pick, while others have him not only falling to the Flames at No. 9 overall, with some even predicting the team could pass on him.

However, we believe that if Iginla falls to them and they don't have to move up to land him, it's a no-brainer pick, as he has the work ethic and attitude to make himself a star, and with his potential as the team's 1C of the future, it's the pick the team need to make if he's available.