Jarome Iginla joined an exclusive club Monday night and, if there was still any doubt, punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame by becoming the 19th player in NHL history to score 600 career goals.
Iginla, 38, had been sitting at 599 career goals since Dec. 27 and three games had passed without him finding the back of the net for the elusive 600th career tally. Monday night his fortunes changed, though, as Iginla netted goal No. 600 thanks to a friendly bounce off the skate of Los Angeles Kings defender Jake Muzzin:
There’s nothing quite like Iginla's smile, and the fans in Colorado give the veteran sniper a lot to smile about. Post-goal, the Avalanche faithful give Iginla a standing ovation that lasts more than a minute. That’s a fitting tribute to one of the best goal-scorers the game has ever seen.
Iginla said post-game that he would have liked to score goal No. 600 against the Calgary Flames, with whom he scored 525 of his 600 career goals, and admitted that scoring the milestone tally has been on his mind.
“It is something I’ve been thinking about for a little bit,” Iginla told NBC’s Brian Boucher. “You try not to, you try to focus, but every scoring chance you get, you think, ‘OK, maybe this one, maybe this one.’ It’s nice to get it, the guys have been great about, hopefully now it’s passed.”
As for the goal itself, Iginla admitted it wasn’t exactly how he drew it up. In fact, if everything had gone according to plan, it may have been Gabriel Landeskog’s goal.
“I was actually — I believe it was (Landeskog’s) stick in front — I was looking for him, trying to put something through for him and just put it towards the net,” Iginla told Boucher. “Obviously, a very fortunate bounce. It felt good and it feels pretty cool.”
Iginla’s goal Monday evening gave him 11 on the campaign and put him on pace for 23 this season, which means he could realistically finish the season at the 16th highest goal scorer in NHL history. Ahead of Iginla on the list — and a few of the names he is likely to pass or come close to passing this season — are Jari Kurri (601 goals), Dino Ciccarelli (608) and Bobby Hull (610).
Iginla has scored at least 29 goals in each of his past 14 full seasons, and has one more season left on his current contract with the Avalanche. If he plays out his deal, continues his current scoring pace and adds at least 20 goals next season, he could finish as high as 15th on the all-time list.
It’s hard to imagine Iginla hasn’t already secured his place in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but his 600th goal will help him make his case further. Of the 19 players to score 600 goals, Dave Andreychuk is the only retired player yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Florida Panthers winger Jaromir Jagr is the only other 600-goal scorer not in the Hall of Fame, but he’s a lock once his career ends.