The prospect of Tij Iginla going to the Calgary Flames in the 2024 NHL Draft is likely going to come down to whether or not he will be available at that pick. Iginla's stock rose exponentially during the 2023-24 WHL season, with many folks believing he's set to be a top-ten pick. And while nothing is set in stone, it seems like Iginla would be the Flames' choice at the number nine pick if he's available, as they'd face immediate backlash from the fanbase for passing him up.

Iginla was on scouts' radars heading into the season, but not many believed he could sneak into the top ten of this draft class. He played with the Seattle Thunderbirds in his WHL rookie season, recording 18 points in 48 games. Seattle won the WHL Championship and lost in the Finals of the Memorial Cup, but Iginla played just three games during the round-robin tournament and then became a scratch in the playoffs.

Iginla needed a fresh start, which he got when the Thunderbirds traded him to his hometown Kelowna Rockets. He began the 2023-24 season with a “B” rating from NHL Central Scouting, and was projected to be a second or third-round pick. Iginla exploded out of the gate, though, tallying 13 goals in his first 12 games, upgrading him to an “A” prospect. The CHL named him to the Top Prospects Game, where he was one of the best players. Iginla finished with 84 points in 64 games, and a final ranking of nine on the NHL Central Scouting list of North American prospects.

Tij Iginla's ties to the Flames

jarome iginla's son tij iginla

If Iginla's name sounds familiar, it's because Tij is the son of longtime Flames legend Jarome Iginla. The Dallas Stars selected Jarome with the 11th overall pick in the 1995 NHL Draft but traded him to the Flames that season for Joe Nieuwendyk. It was a perfect move for the Flames, as Jarome recorded 1,300 points in 1,554 career games. The power forward was a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. The former Flames captain is arguably the most legendary and beloved player in franchise history, and his son donning the team's jersey for the next 15-20 years would be a full-circle moment for the fanbase.

It would also be a full-circle moment for Flames general manager Craig Conroy. Conroy was a former teammate of Jarome and watched Tij grow up as a young kid running around the Flames' dressing room. He and Jarome remained friends as their careers moved on, and he knows the family well. Conroy knows better than anyone else that Iginla is ready for the spotlight in Calgary and that he would be a good addition to a team looking for tenacity in their forward group.

Tij likely won't find himself in an NHL lineup right away, as he is still a raw prospect and has just one outstanding season to his name. If the Flames use their first-round draft pick on Iginla, there will be clamoring from the fanbase to insert him in the lineup. However, it will be crucial for the Flames to use a wait-and-see approach to ensure they don't overload the young forward.

Tij Iginla's fit with the Flames

Being the son of a former NHLer doesn't always work out. We have seen countless times when players are drafted due to their bloodline and end up flaming out. However, Iginla feels like a different scenario. Jarome was his coach with Rink Academy in Kelowna, and he played the game the right way in his playing days. It would be a green flag for any player out of Rink Academy to have been coached by Jarome, as he never took shortcuts, defended his teammates, and led his teams in scoring. It's safe to assume that Jarome instilled the same values in Tij, and he will be a near-replica of Jarome.

The Flames need more offensive help this offseason, as Jonathan Huberdeau didn't pan out how the front office expected. The Flames were middle-of-the-pack during the regular season, averaging just 3.09 goals per game. In a growing offensive style in the NHL, the Flames need dynamic players who aren't afraid of playoff hockey when it gets rough. Tij checks both boxes, as he was one of the best point producers for draft-eligible players in the CHL, before adding 15 points in 11 playoff games.

Tij may be one of the most creative players in the draft class, as he demonstrates a lot more skill than his father. Jarome had tons of hard-nosed skill, but Tij isn't afraid to take defensemen off the rush. He couples that ability with elite lower-body strength and an edge work to lean on taller defenders and power his way to high-scoring areas. If he's available at the ninth overall pick, it would be a shock to see the Flames pass on Iginla in the upcoming draft.