NHL History: 30 best players in the 21st century (Updated 2023)

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jarome iginla
Jarome Iginla (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) /

30 best NHL players of the 21st century: 8. Jarome Iginla

Sure, Joe Thornton might have beaten Jarome Iginla in points during the first decade of the 2000s, but Iginla was a game-changer on another level. The turn of the century was very good for Iginla, who started his ascent as one of the greatest players of this era. Iginla is very underrated when looking at lists comparing him to other wingers of this era. Iginla was one of the best wingers of all time.

Maybe it’s because he was stuck on those mediocre Calgary Flames teams, or maybe it’s just the issues of playing in Western Canada, but Iginla deserves much more credit than he was given.

He never won the Hart Trophy, but he did win the Pearson Award (MVP as decided by the players). He won the Rocket Richard Trophy twice and once took home the Art Ross Trophy. That’s with players like Craig Conroy as his center. He was getting the most out of a team with nothing.

The Flames went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004 and lost to the Lightning. Iginla scored 73 points on that team, which was 25 more than anyone else on the team. He was averaging 23 minutes a night, and the other team did everything in their power to stop Iginla. He still carried his team with 22 points and a +13 rating. +/- is mostly useless, but to go +13 in 26 games when the other team is putting every single method to stop you in play is incredible.

Iginla finally got a chance to go for a Stanley Cup Championship late in his career when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was never able to get that elusive Stanley Cup win, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. He was an incredible player that deserved more. He scored as much as anyone despite playing with middle-six players his whole career.