Manor 2024 NHL Draft Preview: Forward Tij Iginla, Canada

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With the Kings coming off a game in Calgary, our next 2024 Draft profile seems rather timely due to the connections.

We previously explored a blueliner whose brother was a recent draft pick. Familiarity is important, and sometimes name recognition can go a long way. Relationships are vital when trying to evaluate a prospect’s character; a trait that often doesn’t get seen on the ice.

The Draft previews continue with a bonafide legacy in the making, and the last name will be familiar to even the most casual hockey fans.

Tij Iginla

Vitals


Date of Birth: August 1, 2006
Height: 6-feet-0
Weight: 185 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Forward

2023-24 Season

Iginla has spent the entire season playing for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. He has 70 points (40 G, 30 A) in 54 games, along with 35 PIM and a plus-13 rating.

Deadline Dad

If the name Jarome Iginla isn’t familiar, it’s important to brush up on some modern history. Los Angeles traded for him prior to the 2017 trade deadline. Tij is the hall of famer’s son.

Dealt as a Victim of Depth

It’s not very common for bigger name prospects to get traded so early in their careers. In Iginla’s case, he was originally drafted by the Seattle Thunderbirds ninth overall. However, he only played three games during last year’s playoffs, where his team won a championship. Kelowna traded for him in the offseason, knowing they have more ice time available for him.

Paths From the Past

Without digging too much into the weeds, players drafted for CHL teams (OHL, WHL, and QMJHL) have particular regions from which they can be drafted. For example, a prospect playing for the Junior Kings can’t be drafted into the QMJHL.

Tij, during the year he was eligible to be drafted in major junior hockey, spent his season playing for the 14U Boston Junior Eagles in AAA hockey. In these circumstances, he was supposed to be eligible to be drafted in the QMJHL. Because his father played for Kamloops in the WHL, a clause allowed Tij to play for the WHL – an opportunity he took.

Rankings by Independent Scouting Services

Ranked No 16 by Bob McKenzie. There’s no writeup in the article about him. As previously mentioned, this is based on a poll with 10 other scouts.

Ranked as a C skater by Future Considerations. In a subsequent article on the site, Future Considerations Staff summarized his play at the Top Prospects game and wrote: “FCHockey scout Aaron Vickers said. ‘He was able to dictate and control the pace of the game with the puck on his stick and recognized what was available to him and what he needed to do to further facilitate the play. The stage certainly wasn’t too big for a player rising up the ranks, and perhaps carrying some additional pressure from what’s printed on the name-bar.’”

Ranked No. 12 by /www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/article/scouts-analysis-projecting-rising-draft-prospect-tij-iginla/>Sportsnet. “Tij played exactly to his identity at the prospects game in Moncton. His handles in transition were well thought out. When an opponent gapped up, he chipped the play deep and worked to win the puck back as the first forward on the forecheck. He absorbed contact along the wall, sometimes from more than one defender, which opened up space for his linemates to make plays. I especially noticed how he surveyed the ice in the offensive zone and rotated off the cycle, making “low to high” plays.

Tij cannot be described as the power forward his father was, but he’s a better skater at the same age and has his dad’s puck touch when it comes to directing pucks on net with authority.”

See For Yourself

Here is a video of Tij Iginla playing against Wenatchee in the WHL early in the season:


Final Comments

The first thing anyone should do when evaluating Iginla is not to compare him to his father. Most prospects with familial links to the NHL will admit that while they were inspired to play hockey by family, they want to play their own game. With spanning generations, it’s even more important not to compare the way Jarome played to his son.

Tij’s strongest attribute goes to how he thinks, and it can be identified with how he carries himself on the ice. He is decisive; when he commits to taking a puck through a particular route, Iginla will try to bully his way through the opposition. When he sees the puck lying behind the opposition’s net, Kelowna’s newest star will try the Michigan goal.

While he has a strong skating base and good balance, he rarely backs off to buy himself time. The indirect route simply does not appear to be an option. Despite the forward’s commitment to a particular path, he also doesn’t over handle the puck or play it to his detriment. The 6-foot-0 forward not only makes good decisions; he doesn’t second-guess himself and ends up getting effective results.

While playing a lot at center, Iginla’s willingness to dig along the boards affords good opportunities at wing. His style of play doesn’t limit him to a particular position, adding to his versatility.

As mentioned earlier in this article, it’s important to measure the character of a person and player, which doesn’t usually translate to the ice. In Iginla’s case, he only played three playoff games last year and didn’t get to play in the Memorial Cup at all. The native of Lake Country, British Columbia, responded to this disappointment by taking his game to the next level. Iginla is third on team scoring and 20th overall league-wide. Moreover, he leads his team in goals, and plays on the penalty kill as well as the powerplay.

His collection of skills, such as skating, shooting, passing, board work, and checking, could use a touch improvement. This iis perfectly normal for a developing prospect. It simply means time will need to be spent during the offseason, and likely some time would be needed in the AHL to develop these skills after that. The point being – don’t expect him to come into the NHL right away and turn things around. The good news is his intelligence and sense for the game cannot be taught, so once his skills get honed, there will be a short learning curve.

Chat with David: You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.




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