The Calgary Flames group has had its justifiable share of star gamers through the years. They’ve had a number of gamers who at the moment are within the Corridor of Fame, together with Jarome Iginla and Al MacInnis, in addition to different unimaginable abilities, reminiscent of Theo Fleury and Miikka Kiprusoff.
Whereas the checklist of star gamers who thrived in Calgary is kind of giant, it could be even greater had they not given up on sure people too early. There have been a number of former Flames through the years who went on to develop into star-caliber gamers after leaving Cowtown. Right here’s a have a look at them.
An NHL icon many neglect began his profession with the Flames was Brett Hull. ‘The Golden Brett’ was a late-round choose of the Flames, not being chosen till the sixth spherical (117th general) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. An enormous purpose he fell down the draft boards was because of the reality he spent his draft season within the BCHL, however his ridiculous 105 objectives and 188 factors in simply 57 video games instructed he nonetheless ought to have been taken a lot larger.
The subsequent season, Hull dedicated to the College of Minnesota-Duluth, the place in two seasons, he had 84 objectives and 144 factors in 90 video games. After the 1985-86 season, he selected to go professional and signed a cope with the Flames. He appeared in simply 5 NHL video games that season however completely tore it up within the AHL with 50 objectives and 92 factors in 67 contests. He made the Flames out of coaching camp for the 1987-88 season and was off to a implausible begin by way of his first 52 video games as he had recorded 50 factors. He appeared like he was on his strategy to changing into a famous person participant.
Regardless of this, Hull was traded that very season to the St. Louis Blues, together with Steve Bozek, in alternate for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley. This commerce appeared very questionable on the time and is now considered one among the worst trades in league history. Hull went on to play 744 video games with the Blues, scoring 527 objectives and 936 factors. He additionally had stints with the Dallas Stars and Detroit Crimson Wings that have been each extremely productive.
Hull is broadly considered one of many recreation’s best-ever objective scorers, sitting fourth all-time with 741 complete. He’s the all-time chief in each objectives in addition to factors (1391) by an American-born skater and is on a really quick checklist of gamers to have ever scored 50 objectives in 50 video games, one thing he was capable of accomplish twice in his illustrious profession. This commerce ruined what may have been many magical years for the Flames.
Martin St. Louis
When pondering again on Martin St. Louis’ excellent profession, most would image him in a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey. The 2-time Artwork Ross Trophy winner performed 972 of his 1134 profession video games with the Bolts. Earlier than becoming a member of Tampa and getting traction on what turned out to be a Corridor of Fame profession, nevertheless, he was a struggling ahead with the Flames.
Regardless of placing up very spectacular numbers for 4 seasons on the College of Vermont, St. Louis was by no means drafted and even signed by an NHL crew as soon as his faculty profession had wrapped up. His size played a major factor on this, as groups didn’t consider he may compete on the skilled degree. Nonetheless, after signing a cope with the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL and posting 50 factors in 56 video games, he agreed to phrases on a contract with the Flames. He completed out the season of their AHL system, the place he had 15 objectives and 26 factors in 25 video games.
The subsequent season, he was capable of get in 13 NHL video games however wasn’t capable of create a lot as he had simply two factors. He performed nearly all of that season (1998-99) within the AHL as properly and continued to place up massive numbers. Then got here the 1999-00 season, the place regardless of not making the crew out of camp, he quickly earned a call-up after placing up a ridiculous 15 objectives and 26 factors in 17 AHL video games. Sadly, he was as soon as once more unable to have an effect with the Flames, scoring simply three objectives and 18 factors in 56 contests.
Because of his struggles, the Flames left him out there for the 2000 NHL Expansion Draft, however he went unselected. Quickly after, he was purchased out by the Flames and inked a brand new cope with the Lightning, the place his profession started to blossom. Only a few quick years after arriving in Tampa, he grew to become a family title across the league, and on prime of the 2 Artwork Ross Trophies talked about above, he additionally received each a Hart and Lester B. Pearson Trophy together with three Girl Byngs. Former Flames administration and training workers made a big-time mistake right here not giving him extra alternative on the NHL degree.
Although Marc Savard isn’t as elite of a reputation as the 2 gamers listed above, he nonetheless had a implausible profession and actually developed right into a star participant after leaving the Flames. In contrast to the opposite two above, he didn’t start his NHL profession within the Flames group, as a substitute, being taken by the New York Rangers within the fourth spherical (91st general) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft and happening to play a complete of 98 video games with them just a few years later.
Throughout his first season as a professional (1997-98), it was clear he had a ton of talent, as he managed to place up 74 factors in 58 AHL video games. He struggled on the NHL degree that yr, nevertheless, posting simply six factors in 28 video games. Consequently, he started the following season within the AHL however was quickly referred to as up and was rather more productive this time round with 45 factors in 70 video games. However regardless of the improved season, the Rangers selected to commerce him to the Flames throughout the 1999 offseason.
Savard’s first two seasons with the Flames have been pretty productive, as he had a mixed 45 objectives and 118 factors in 155 video games. Nonetheless, in his third season, his numbers dropped off as he had simply 33 factors in 56 video games. He began off the following season, 2002-03, very sluggish with three factors in 10 video games, and the Flames determined they’d seen sufficient, buying and selling him to the Atlanta Thrashers in alternate for Ruslan Zainullan. It was with the Thrashers the place Savard’s profession actually started to take off, which included a 97-point 2005-06 season.
Savard then went on to have a number of very profitable seasons with the Boston Bruins earlier than concussions ended his career, which was fairly unlucky given how offensively productive he nonetheless was on the time. In 488 profession video games after being traded by the Flames, he put up 501 factors. He ended his profession with 706 factors in 807 video games. In the meantime, the participant the Flames traded him for in Zainullan didn’t play in a single NHL recreation.
Many individuals neglect as a result of he spent such a brief period of time within the NHL with them, however the Flames had goaltender Jean Sebastien Giguere of their system from 1997-2000. The now-retired netminder was initially taken thirteenth general by the Hartford Whalers within the 1995 NHL Entry Draft however was traded simply two years later, together with Andrew Cassels, in alternate for Gary Roberts and Trevor Kidd.
On the time of the commerce, Giguere was a high-end prospect, given his lofty draft place just some years prior. However he struggled in restricted alternatives on the NHL degree, as in a mixed 22 video games over two seasons with the Flames, he had only a 3.07 objectives in opposition to common (GAA) and a .902 save share (SV%). To make issues even worse, his numbers within the AHL throughout his closing two years within the Flames group have been very disappointing, which resulted within the Flames buying and selling him to the then-Anaheim Mighty Geese throughout the 2000 offseason in alternate for a second-round choose.
It was with the Geese the place Giguere’s profession actually took off, as he performed in 34 NHL video games that very subsequent season. By the point the 2001-02 season started, he had develop into Anaheim’s beginning netminder, a task he held onto for the following seven seasons. Whereas he had many profitable common seasons with the Geese, the largest second of his NHL profession got here throughout the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the place he led his crew to the Cup closing. Sadly, they misplaced in seven video games to the New Jersey Devils, however Giguere’s 15-6 playoff file, alongside together with his 1.62 GAA and .945 SV%, have been nonetheless ok for him to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy. He grew to become simply the fifth player ever to win the Trophy regardless of not successful the Stanley Cup.
The Geese went on to commerce Giguere to the Toronto Maple Leafs throughout the 2009-10 season, the place he spent the following yr and a half earlier than taking part in his closing three seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. By the point his profession was all mentioned and finished, he had appeared in 597 video games, recording a 262-216-75 file together with a 2.53 GAA and a .913 SV%. Fortunately, he was additionally capable of get a Stanley Cup just some years after the heartbreaking 2003 playoffs, as he and the Geese have been capable of win all of it in 2007.
Franchise Altering Errors
Whereas it goes with out saying, former Flames administration teams will surely like do-overs on all 4 of the gamers talked about above. Each crew within the league has some judgments in errors on the subject of evaluating expertise. Nonetheless, with how good these gamers turned out to be, it makes for an especially powerful capsule to swallow for Flames followers. Who is aware of, maybe if issues have been finished in another way, this crew may have an additional Stanley Cup banner or two hanging from the rafters of the Saddledome proper now.
Former Jr. A participant turned author. Cowl each the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers, and am a part of each the Flames Faceoff and Oilers Extra time podcasts.