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Jarome Iginla's place among the top right wingers in franchise history is unassailable

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

They are the best of the best in Calgary Flames history.

Over 24 days we will profile our All-Time All-Stars (listed alphabetically at each position). Make sure to check back daily to see who's getting the nod.

May 7 - Theoren Fleury (RW)

May 8-11 - Right-wingers

May 12-16 - Centres

May 17-21 - Left-wingers

May 22-27 - Defencemen

May 28-30 - Goaltenders

Today it's the No.-1 goal-scorer: Mr. Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tij Junior Elvis Iginla!

There are many characteristics, infinite intangibles, that go into the making of a goal scorer.

Quickness and power of shot release, for instance. Spacial awareness. Collaboration with linemates.

What sets the truly great ones apart from the pack, though, is appetite.

"He loves to score goals,'' is the way long-time linemate Craig Conroy once described superstar sidekick Jarome Iginla. 

"(Brett Hull) was the same way. I remember one game Hullie had four or five assists in St. Louis and afterwards he was kind of complaining: 'I just wasn't on tonight …' I'm like: 'Not on!? You had four assists!'

"And he just looks at me, like I'm kinda slow, and says: 'They pay me to score goals, Craig. Not set people up.' I was laughing.

"But these guys, Hullie and Jarome, that's their mindset. Scoring goals is like breathing to them.

"It's in their DNA.

"I remember playing in Jarome's backyard rink, 1-on-1. He wanted to score there, too."

No one in this town, on this team, has ever done it quite so well.

In a position, right wing, featuring so many of the great names spanning the past 38 years here - McDonald, Fleury, Mullen, Loob, Makarov - Iginla's place atop that flank of the Flames' all-time all-star team is unassailable.

Think of this: the man rang up 161 more goals than anyone else in franchise history (he finished with 525 total). He ranks first in points (1,219) and multi-goal games (94), second in helpers (570) as well as being 10th in penalty-minutes (831).

Famously coming over in the trade that shipped captain Joe Nieuwendyk to Dallas, Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tij Junior Elvis Iginla would evolve from marquee-man status to icon and then to the symbol of a franchise.

Indisputably, Iginla's personal high-water mark arrived in 2001-2002, when he became the first player to win both the Art Ross (96 points) and Maurice Richard (52 goals) trophies, and the indisputable title of Most Complete Player in the Game.

Controversy dogged the Hart Trophy balloting that summer, with Iginla tying Canadiens' goaltender José Théodore in voting points (434) for MVP. But in receiving fewer first-place votes (26 to 23) he was consigned to runner-up. Difficult to understand, one day after being awarded the Lester B. Pearson Trophy, emblematic of MVP as voted on by his peers, the players.

Typically, no sour grapes from the vanquished.

"A lot of dreams have come true this year and I feel very blessed,'' he said then. "I was very honoured to be a nominee," he said, "but once I was nominated, I really wanted to win it. It's a very prestigious award and a lot of great players have won it, like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

"But Jose Theodore had an unbelievable season and he was a very deserving winner, as Patrick Roy (the third Hart finalist) would have."

The goals, and the milestones, just kept coming. Helped by a shy Finnish goaltender, he piggybacked his franchise to within a victory of a Stanley Cup in 2004, scored his 500th goal on Jan. 7, 2011, at the Saddledome, and his 1,000th point a month later, on April 1, becoming one of seven players in NHL history to score 30 goals in 11 consecutive seasons along the way.

"I enjoyed my time in Calgary,'' Iginla said approaching his first time back as an opponent, with the Boston Bruins. "I can't say that enough. It was awesome. This game coming up is probably one of those I'll look back on later, one of the memories I'll take from my career. My first NHL game was in Calgary. My first goal was there.

"It's obviously a very, very special place to me. Always will be."

And in the doing, became one of the rare individuals to transcend his game.

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