Flames tried to put Iginla name to the side when evaluating legend's son Tij

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The Calgary Flames have made sure to do their due diligence on Tij Iginla.

That can’t have been easy.

His father, of course, is Jarome Iginla, who happens to arguably be the most iconic player in franchise history and works as a special advisor to Flames GM Craig Conroy.

For a lot of hockey fans in Calgary, it would be a dream come true to have Iginla’s name called by Conroy when the Flames step up to the podium with the ninth-overall pick of next Friday’s draft in Las Vegas.

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There’s no denying that it’d be pretty magical to see the Iginla name on the back of a Flames jersey, but scouts can’t be thinking about things like that.

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“It’s hard. The Iginla name is associated with the Calgary Flames so that part’s not easy for us, as far as we want to make sure we’re taking the name out of it and doing the raw evaluation,” Flames director of amateur scouting Tod Button said. “We’ve got a fairly veteran staff, so I think we were able to do it.”

Button revealed that the Flames currently are considering 11 or 12 players who they might select with the No. 9 pick, with seven defencemen and five forwards in that mix.

Iginla surely is one of them, although the team obviously isn’t revealing any specifics about their draft board.

But after a season that saw the 17-year-old forward skyrocket up most prospect rankings by scoring 47 goals and 84 points in 64 games with the Kelowna Rockets and then going on to score nine goals and add six assists in 11 playoff games, Iginla has emerged as a surefire lottery pick.

The bigger question, at this point, probably isn’t whether the Flames would take Iginla — it’s whether he’s still going to be available when they make their pick.

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There’s a lot more to the young prospect than just his famous last name.

“I think he’s rated where he’s rated because of the season he’s had and the player he is and the type of projection people think he’s going to be,” Button said. “He’s rated where he’s rated because of what he did, not because of his dad and not because of his mom or not because of his brother. It’s what he did on the ice and how he performs.”

While the Flames scouting staff strived to evaluate Iginla with the exact same stringent standards that they use for other players, his dad did step away from conversations surrounding his son and the scouting staff’s projections for him as an NHLer.

“We don’t talk about where Tij is on the list,” Conroy said at his end-of-season media availability back in April. “He doesn’t read Tij’s reports or anything like that. He just doesn’t feel comfortable.”

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Speaking with Sportsnet’s Eric Francis this week, Jarome said he would be sitting with his family until Tij’s name gets called on draft night.

If it’s by the Flames, that’s going to be celebrated by a lot of hockey fans in Calgary.

If it’s by another team, though, it will still be an exciting night for the family and even for many of the people in the Flames organization who know the young man and his family.

“Wherever he gets drafted and whenever he gets drafted, obviously the Iginla name is big in the Flames organization and we’ll be excited for him when his name is called and for his family and, especially, for Jarome and Kara,” Button said.

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