Names To Know: Like Father Like Son? Tij Iginla Looks To Carve His Own Path In The NHL

By Will Chase on May 20, 2024 at 1:45 pm
2024 NHL Draft prospect, Tij Iginla, Kelowna Rockets in the Western Hockey League of the Canadian Hockey League
YouTube/Western Hockey League

Welcome to the 5th installment of our "Names To Know," 2024 edition, a look-ahead at prospects who the Columbus Blue Jackets could select in the upcoming NHL Draft.

Today, we're looking at the forward prospect, Tij Iginla. As the name hints, Iginla is the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla.

The elder Iginla spent 20 years in the NHL, including 16 seasons with the Calgary Flames, whom he helped lead to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against John Tortorella's Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. Iginla also had a playoff run with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012-13, spent a season with the Boston Bruins, three seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, and he ended his career following the 2016-17 season with the Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.

Iginla is the Flames franchise leader for games played (1,219), goals (525), and points (1,095), and he is second with 570 assists. Overall in his legendary career, he tallied 1,300 points (625 goals, 675 assists) in 1,554 games.

Son, Tij, is a 17-year-old, 6-foot, 185 lb forward, spending time with the WHL's Kelowna Rockets in 2023-24, his first season with the club. Iginla scored 84 points (47 goals, 37 assists) in 64 games. In the playoffs, he scored 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 11 games.

He played with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds for three games in 2021-22 and played 48 games for them in 2022-23, where he scored 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) and one assist in three playoff games.

The Athletic's Corey Pronman on Iginla:

Iginla has been excellent this season in the WHL for Kelowna and has emerged as a top NHL prospect. The son of Jarome Iginla, Tij is a very talented offensive player. His stickhandling displays stand out constantly. He beats defenders one-on-one at a high rate, and improvises very well with the puck. He skates well and can make high-skill plays with his feet moving. Iginla has a great shot that gets off the stick quick and can pick corners. He scored a lot of goals this season, and projects to beat pro goalies from range. His pure sense and playmaking don't stand out like the rest of his game, and I wouldn't call him a high-compete type, but he works hard enough. He has the makings of a potential strong top-six wing.

The Athletic's Scott Wheeler wrote about Iginla's game in May:

After playing his rookie season in a limited role with the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds — at times even scratched — Tij, the son of Jarome Iginla and the No. 9 pick in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft, was traded last June to Kelowna and took off with the Rockets in his draft year, regularly looking dangerous both off the rush and attacking inside the offensive zone.

He's an excellent skater who can beat you in a straight-out race, cut past you laterally with quick weight shifts, or build speed through tight crossover patterns around the offensive zone. On the puck, he's a threatening individual creator who can create in knifing bursts and works quickly to put defenders on their heels, attacking on angles and jumps. Off of it, he's got great instincts for jumping into gaps in coverage to get open for his linemates. His snapshot, which has a traditional look to it and is more wrists and leverage than the curl-and-drag you commonly see now, is a major weapon, consistently beating goalies cleanly with both its pop and how quickly it comes off. He's got high-end handling (he’s got impressive hands in tight and always seems to handle his first touch at speed, even when pucks are put into his feet) and adjustability, which blends with real creativity to create an often-dynamic one-on-one player. He's also a fan-favorite type who gets after it on the forecheck and involves himself in the play often with some sneaky strength (though I think his defensive awareness and consistency still need to come). Add in NHL puck skill and a dangerous and heavy wrister from midrange, and you've got a fun player and prospect. Add in the emergence of a power game that has seen him really begin to see him take pucks to the inside and drive the net and suddenly you’ve got a perimeter and interior offensive threat who has strength, speed, skill, and scoring in his profile. He’s got a top-six, scoring-skill-jump profile. Some NHL scouts may not be as sold on him as many in the public sphere are, and he didn’t dominate at U18s like some hoped he would (though he was impactful), but he’s got a ton of tools and they’ve come along at an exciting rate. He’s going to score goals and make plays in the NHL.

The Flames have the ninth pick in the NHL draft. Could Iginla follow in his father's footsteps?

Mock Draft Results
ESPN 5th
My NHL Draft 9th
Tankathon 11th 9th, 12th
The Athletic 13th