They arrived in the NHL a year apart. One was a first round pick, highly hyped Canadian kid who, before he ever played a game, was the key piece in a trade for a player that helped win a Stanley Cup. The other was a late round pick, almost an afterthought from Sweden who was never supposed to make a significant impact in the NHL.
Daniel Alfredsson and Jarome Iginla took different paths to the best league in the world, but once they got there, their career paths have been almost identical.
Jarome Iginla was a star player for one of the most successful junior franchises in Canada, the Kamloops Blazers. He was a part of two Memorial Cup winning teams, and was the 11th overall pick by the Dallas Stars in 1995. While excelling at the 1996 World Junior Championships (he was named tournament top forward) his rights were traded from Dallas to Calgary for Joe Nieuwendyk.
Daniel Alfredsson was a late bloomer, and wasn’t drafted until he was 22 years of age. He never played in any international events for his native Sweden as a youth or junior player. He was a sixth round selection by the Senators in the 1994 Entry Draft. After being drafted he completed his third year in the Swedish elite league before coming to North America and the Ottawa Senators.
Alfredsson was the NHL Rookie of the Year in 1996, while Iginla was the runner-up (to Bryan Berard) a year later. Both players were name to the NHL All-Rookie teams in their respective years, and both led the league in rookie scoring.
COMPARABLE NHL CAREERS
Looking back over the last 15 and 14 seasons respectively, it is remarkable how similar the careers of Alfredsson and Iginla have been. Here are some similarities:
- both have been long-term captains of their teams. Alfredsson has worn the “C” since 1999, and Iginla since 2003.
- both are their franchise leaders in career games, goals, and points. Alfredsson also leads the Senators in career assists, and Iginla is within 80 assists of leading the Flames in that category as well.
- both have played over 1,000 games and amassed over 1,000 points with the same franchise, and their respective teams are the only ones they have played for in the NHL.
- both are Olympic Gold Medalists, Iginla in 2002 and 2010 for Team Canada, while Alfredsson’s Team Sweden was a champion in 2006.
- both players have led their clubs to a Stanley Cup Final, but lost. Their careers have also been marred by more playoff failure than playoff successes.
- both are very close to being a point per game player. Alfredsson is just short of that feat, while Iginla is EXACTLY 1 point per game (1006 pts in 1006 games).
- both have played in 5 NHL All-Star games.
So there you see how similar these two iconic players have been in their remarkable careers. However, the way their teams are progressing, both will likely retire having never won the Stanley Cup. Both players will be assured of having their numbers retired. However, when it comes to Hall Of Fame worthiness, both have had their credentials questioned. Iginla will reach 500 goals, but Alfredsson will be hard pressed to get there with only a couple of seasons left.
So the question I have for you:
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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