Calgary captain and superstar Jarome Iginla helped make history today. No, it wasn’t by helping the Flames beat Nashville 3-2, instead it was something more personal. By scoring on a penalty shot goal in the second period, Iginla reached the 30 goal mark for the 10th straight season, something only nine other players in NHL history have done.
Iginla joins the exclusive club with Wayne Gretzky, Darryl Sittler, Jaromir Jagr, Phil Esposito, Brett Hull, Marcel Dionne, Mike Bossy, Mike Gartner, and Jari Kurri of other players that have scored 30 or more goals in 10 or more straight seasons. With that kind of elite and hall of fame company, Iginla cements his spot in history as one of the NHL’s all-time great goal scorers.
The scary part of this is that Iginla could make a run at the record of 15 straight seasons of 30 or more held by Gartner and Jagr. Thinking back to the two seasons before Iginla started this run where he had 28 and 29 goals respectively makes you wonder just how much closer Iginla could be to making a run at that record. That’s not to say he can’t do it, but getting this level of consistent play in this era is incredible.
Iginla’s goal tied the game up with Nashville and it would be Curtis Glencross who put Calgary ahead in the third with his goal midway through the period. Miikka Kiprusoff would make it stand up through the rest of the game on his way to making 21 saves in the win. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 33 shots in the loss. Martin Erat and Ryan Suter had goals for Nashville. Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames.
Calgary jumps to fifth in the West with the win while the Predators fall into a 10th place tie with Anaheim. Fear not Predators fans, ground can be made up fast with wins. Of course, failing to win keeps you buried and the Predators have now lost six of their last eight.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.
Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.
Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)
Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.
But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.
They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.
Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.
Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.
Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?
So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.