Peter Maher's Put it in the Win Column

January 11, 2019 | Peter Maher

Retiring Iginla's Jersey

On a week where plans were revealed to honor the Flames greatest scorer, the current team accelerated runs at some long-time records. Jarome Iginla will have his #12 raised to the Scotiabank Saddledome rafters March 2 before the Flames face-off against Minnesota. None of Iginla’s scoring records are being challenged and may never be, but when the former captain gets a look at the present-day Flames he may be watching a team about to have a better regular-season that any of the 16 he played on here. More impressively, even some accomplishments during the Flames prime years in the late 80’s and early 90’s are inviting comparisons.

Bill Peters’ Flames with 69 points in 50 games are on pace to amass 100 points. That’s been achieved only three times in team history with the last being 1990-91 when they hit the century mark dead on. The Stanley Cup-campaign of 1988-89 was the last time the Flames notched over 100 points gaining a club record 117. Five Flame players have collected 50-or-more points in 50 games (Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm and Mark Giordano). You need to go back to 1987-88 for the last time that occured when six Flames achieved it (Hakan Loob, Joey Mullen, Mike Bullard, Joe Nieuwendyk, Al MacInnis and Gary Suter). No other NHL team this season has more than three. Gaudreau leads the aforementioned fivesome with his 73 points putting him on projection end with 109 points which would be third most in team history. Kent Nilsson’s 131 points in the Flames first season in Calgary 1980-81 looks to be beyond his reach. However, the next bests, Mullen’s 110 points in ’88-89 and Loob’s 106 in ’87-88 are could be bettered. As well Johnny Hockey’s next goal will be his 30th giving him a shot at being the team’s first 50-goal scorer since Iginla did it 11 years ago. Captain Mark Giordano is averaging over a point a game. The last Flames defenseman attaining such stature was MacInnis in ’93-94 — his final campaign with the Flames before moving on to continue his Hall-of-Fame career in St. Louis. Most impressive of all is the Flames holding a six-point lead atop the Pacific Division (on January 21). You have to go back 25 years the last time the team held that much of an advantage this late in a season.

Of course, much of the season is still to play out. The final determination on this team’s impact will be when all is said and done. Thus far, its been very impressive considering the Flames finished 20th overall last season. On the first Saturday of March there will be much excitement, pageantry, great memories and emotion when ‘#12 IGINLA’ takes it’s rightful place among the Saddledome banners. Another raising ceremony later in 2019 joining a Flame banner earned 30 years ago with the the ultimate championship, for the current collection would be a super way to round out the year.

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