To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first NHL Draft, NHL.com assembled a 13-member panel to select the best first-round picks of all time, based on selection number. NHL.com will feature one of the top first-round picks each day, beginning with the best No. 30 pick on June 1 and culminating with the all-time No. 1 pick on June 30, the day of the 2013 NHL Draft.
That deal saw the Stars acquire Joe Nieuwendyk, who helped Dallas win the Stanley Cup in 1999. In return, the Flames received center Corey Millen and the player the Stars had taken months earlier with the No. 11 pick of the 1995 NHL Draft: a junior forward named Jarome Iginla.
Though Iginla never brought the Cup to Calgary, he emerged as a superstar on and off the ice and became the face of the franchise. His accomplishments earned him a unanimous selection from NHL.com's Dream Draft panel as the best No. 11 first-round pick.
After the trade, Iginla spent one final season in junior; he totaled 63 goals and 136 points in 63 games with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, and five goals and seven assists to help Canada win the gold medal at the 1996 IIHF World Junior Championship.
After finishing his season in Kamloops, Iginla made his NHL debut during the first round of the 1996 Stanley Cup Playoffs and had a goal and an assist in two games. He had three goals in his first four regular-season games in 1996-97, finished with a rookie-best 50 points in 82 games and was second to defenseman Bryan Berard of the New York Islanders in Calder Trophy voting.
In 2000-01, Iginla had a team-best 31 goals, the first of 11 straight seasons in which he scored at least 30. In 2001-02, Iginla set career-bests with League-high totals of 52 goals and 96 points. He was voted the winner of the Ted Lindsay Award and was runner-up to Montreal Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore in Hart Trophy voting.
In 2003-04, Iginla was named captain of the Flames; he responded with 41 goals, tied for most in the League, and 73 points. He helped Calgary return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1996. The Flames advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1989, and Iginla led all players with 13 goals, including three in the Final, in which the Flames fell in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
As great as Iginla was doing on the ice, he was earning just as strong a reputation off of it. In 2004, he was named the winner of the NHL Foundation Award for his community service and won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in recognition of his humanitarian contributions.
Among his numerous charitable endeavors is the Jarome Iginla Hockey School in Calgary, a non-profit organization that donates to the Diabetes Research Association. In 2000 he began donating $1,000 per goal he scored to KidSport Calgary, a non-profit organization focused on providing positive sport opportunities to children from low-income families. Iginla raised his donation total to $2,000 in 2005; his total donation to the group since 2000 has grown to more than $500,000.
Though Iginla wasn't able to guide the Flames to much more postseason success, he continued to excel. On Feb. 5, 2010, he played in his 1,000th NHL game, and on April 1, 2011, he scored his 1,000th point -- and later scored the game-winning goal. On Jan. 7, 2012, he became the 42nd player in NHL history to score 500 goals.
He finished the 2011-12 season with 32 goals, making him the seventh player in League history with 11 straight 30-goal seasons.
Late in his 16th season with the Flames, Iginla was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins --and he had 12 points in 15 playoff games to help them reach the Eastern Conference Final.
Iginla is third among active players with 530 goals and fifth with 1,106 points. He has played for Canada at three Olympics, winning gold twice. He also has gold medals from the World Championship and the World Cup of Hockey.
"Jarome Iginla was everything the Calgary Flames could have hoped for when they acquired him from Dallas," NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor Brian Compton said. "He'll finish his career with close to 600 goals and will rightfully be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame when his playing days are over. He's a tremendous leader and a premier power forward."
Voting: Jarome Iginla, Dallas (1997) 13 (unanimous selection)
Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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