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Fanspeak: Iginla deemed Flames’ greatest player

Aug 3, 2014, 7:12 PM EDT

Edmonton Oilers v Calgary Flames Getty Images

This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

Calgary Flames

1. Jarome Iginla – 765 Votes

2. Lanny McDonald – 552 Votes

3. Other – 349 Votes

Jarome Iginla played his last game with the Calgary Flames on March 26, 2013, but “Iggy” will likely be associated with that franchise for the rest of his career. While he never managed to win a Stanley Cup with the Flames like mustachioed icon Lanny McDonald did, he did just about everything else for the franchise.

Just consider the all-time team categories he easily tops:

Games Played: 1,219

Goals: 525

Points: 1,095

Game-winning goals: 83

(He’s second all-time in franchise assists to McDonald.)

While pleading with fans to exalt Iginla upon his return with the Boston Bruins in 2013, the Calgary Herald made the greatest Flames player ever argument succinctly:

Choosing a ‘greatest’ anything is, naturally, a precarious exercise. Everyone who follows the big team in this town has a favourite player from over the years, places differing weights on criteria determining impact and influence, idealizes whatever era he or she was most emotionally invested in the fate of the Flames.

But as someone who has chronicled his rise from the beginning, Iginla, more than anyone else, stands up to scrutiny in every meaningful department: Longevity. Durability. Star shine. Production. Image.

For some Flames fans, there’s the lingering “What if?” of that Martin Gelinas no-goal from Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, but no one needs computer animations or multiple camera angles with this one. Iginla is clearly the Flames’ greatest player.

  1. govtminion - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    Hard to argue. Even now, having played for two teams since leaving (and a third starting soon), I still feel weird seeing him in anything other than the flaming ‘C’ on his chest. He’s as synonymous with the Flames as Sakic to the Avalanche or Yzerman to the Red Wings, to me.

  2. lowenni - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    Well said, govtminion.

  3. sweetzinger - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Al MacInnis? No disrespect to Iggy, but you don’t win with great wingers. You do with a great defenseman.

    • lowenni - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:35 PM

      Al MacInnis certainly was a great player for the Flames–fantastic. 103 points in 90-91, which is amazing for a defenseman. And it’s also true Iggy never won a cup there. That being said, when you think Calgary Flames, you think Jarome Iginla. He’s their franchise leader in so many categories as well as being the heart and soul of the team for so long. Al MacInnis was great, but I really don’t think you can give this to anyone but Iginla.

  4. succulentnipples - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Incredibly nard nipples.

  5. claysbar - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Gotta go with Theo.

    • govtminion - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:26 PM

      He’d be my second choice, just ahead of Lanny. Fleury in his prime was less of a hockey player and more of a force of nature.

  6. flinflonbobby - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    With all due respect to The Great Jerome Iginla (and he is one of the greats), I have to also give the nod to Theo Fleury as greatest Flame FORWARD ever. Once you take into consideration Theo’s size, and the terrible demons he had to play his career with, the below stats should put any argument to rest:

    Fleury 791GP 830Pts 1.05PPG +148 28SH
    Iggy 1219GP 1095Pts 0.89PPG +46 13SH

    While Iggy had more PP points and game winners, the +/- and Short-handers show that Fleury was a better overall two-way threat and produced more at even strength.

    Either way, greatest FLAME ever may have to go to Big Al MacInnis. He only had 8 fewer career points as a Flame than Fleury, and was a +241 player as a D-man playing against the league’s best.

  7. Hard to BeLeaf - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    I think Iginla wins because he is the standout player of his era there. There’s a good handful of players that could arguably be better than Iggy, but who do you pick? Joe Niewendyk, Gary Roberts, Theo Fleury, Al MacInnis, Gary Suter, Doug Gilmour, Lanny McDonald? Hard to pick one guy as the best from that group. Iginla definitely stood out as the best player during his stint there.

    • ray2013 - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:42 AM

      I think Iggy wins because he was their best player recently, though objectively speaking there were better players, particularly MacInnis and Fleury.

      Lanny wins Best Moustache.

    • elrock7 - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      I like Fleury first, some consideration should also go to Mike Vernon.

  8. Plumber 65 - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    Totally Agee gov. I’m a avs fan. I’m feeling good to see Iginla in sporting the A. But hear you and know if it was Sakic,,,,, ya. If the avs can get their d together, Iggy could see a cup.

  9. atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    Lots of good players, Gilmour, Roberts, Suter and Mike Vernon deserve to be in the conversation. I would go against voting Fleury just because things seemed so sour when he left here, rightly or wrongly those feelings didn’t exist with Iginla leaving. But there’s a reason the Flames have never allowed anyone to wear 14 after Theo was dealt in Feb 1999m hopefully everyone can repair their feelings enough to where it can be properly retired.

    Lanny rivals Iggy for most iconic Flame but I don’t think he’s in the conversation for best.

    To me the only players that should be talked about as Neiuwendyk and MacInnis, both had significant individual and team accomplishments here. Neither probably matches Iggy but they would be for me the players in the conversation.

    My all-time Flames team: Goalie: Vernon (nod to Kipper but Vernon was my favorite player on the 89 team) Defense: Suter and MacInnis Center: Neiuwendyk Wingers: Fleury and Iggy

  10. billiam55 - Aug 4, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    also deemed a bad luck charm.

  11. jinx21fan - Aug 4, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    He’s definitely up there. The last great player on a team always seems to have a leg up in these “polls”.

  12. luz56 - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Out of sight out of mind when it come to polls…Big Al or Neuiwendyk were the greatest …Lanny was very good but not great…I guess the fan base doesn’t know about Jaromes antics ….

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