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Does Jarome Iginla have another 30-goal season in him?

Jarome Iginla proved last season that he can still score like a top NHL player in his mid-30s. But does he have a couple of more seasons in him at such a high level?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Following the 2012-13 season, in which he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins after spending 15-and-a-half seasons with the Calgary Flames, Jarome Iginla's time as a top goal-scorer in the NHL looked like it was finished.

He was 35 years old and coming off one of the least productive seasons of his career. His ability to help drive possession and create shots continued to decline, and at times he looked completely out of place with the Penguins as they attempted to play him on the left wing instead of his usual spot on the right side.

Early in the following offseason, he ended up signing a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins (the team he rejected a trade to prior to being sent to Pittsburgh) worth $1.8 million that was loaded with bonuses. It proved to be a perfect fit for both sides.

The Bruins ended up getting their leading goal-scorer, and it gave Iginla an opportunity to prove he can still play and get an even bigger payday the following offseason. He came back in 2013-2014 season with his 12th 30-goal season of his career and finished in the top 20 league-wide.It was a performance that was good enough to land him a three-year, $18 million contract in free agency with the Colorado Avalanche.

So what's ahead for Iginla in 2014-15?

The numbers
Games Goals Assists Points
78 30 31 61
What went right in 2013-14?

Maybe it really was as simple as getting him back to the right side, the spot he spent most of his career scoring goals for the Calgary Flames and building a Hall of Fame resume. Even though his shot totals continued to decline, there wasn't any sort of massive jump in his shooting percentage that would point to an impending regression.

He spent most of the season on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, a trio that proved to be almost impossible for opposing teams to stop. When they were on the ice together more than 63 percent Boston's goals were scored and more than 53 percent of shot attempts were taken.

Can he repeat that in 2014-15?

When players, even the great ones, get into their mid-30s, they are usually well into their decline and far removed from their peak years. Iginla is no exception. But he proved in 2013-14 that he can still be a productive player. That said, a 30-goal season from a player in his age 36 season is a pretty rare accomplishment.

According to the Hockey-Reference database, it's only happened 16 other times in NHL history, and the list is a who's-who of Hall of Famers and All-Stars (and Bob Nevin as an outlier).

But were those players able to repeat it as they moved one year closer to retirement? For the most part, yes.

Player Age 36 Goals Age 37 Goals
Teemu Selanne 48 12 (26 games)
Phil Esposito 42 34
Brett Hull 39 30
Joe Mullen 38 16 (45 games)
Bill Guerin 36 28 (61 games)
Mark Messier 36 22
Dino Ciccarelli 36 16 (62 games)
Mike Gartner 35 32
Jean Ratelle 33 25
John Buyck 32 40
Joe Sakic 32 36
Mats Sundin 32 9 (41 games)
Jean Beliveau 31 33
Marcel Dionne 31 7 (37 games)
Frank Mahovlich 31 38 (played in WHA)
Bob Nevin 31 13
Jarome Iginla 30 TBD
So what should we expect?

History suggests that if you're good enough to score 30 goals when you're 36, you're probably good enough to do it again when you're 37 just as long as you stay healthy.

Ten of the 16 previous players on that list ended up coming back the following year with another 30-goal season or scoring a pace that would have given them 30 goals had they played in 82 games. It wasn't until these skaters' age-38 seasons and beyond (Dionne is the only player on the list that retired after his age 37 season) that their production really began to disappear.

Iginla is going to a team that is loaded with young stars and could be an offensive powerhouse. If he is able to keep up with them, he should be able to make a run at the 30-goal mark again this season.

It's the second and (most likely) the third year of the contract that could prove to be an issue for the Avalanche.