Before getting into the numbers side of the Flames most recent trade, it seems appropriate to bid a sincere farewell to Robyn Regehr, a guy who stood as one of franchise’s cornerstone players for the better part of a decade.
The Flames acquired Regehr in 1999 from the Avalanche in the package for Theoren Fleury. A 19th overall pick by Colorado, Regehr’s future with his new team was almost immediately thrown into doubt when a horrific car accident left him with two broken legs. However, not only did Reggie recover from his injuries, he made the Flames that October and was nominated for the Bill Masteron award at the end of his rookie campaign. His strength, physicality and overall defensive ability caused Regehr to rapidly rise through the Flames ranks and by 2003-04 Regehr was already an anchor presence on Calgary’s blueline, featured on the Flames top pairing with Jordan Leopold. There’s no doubt Calgary’s improbable cup run that season was made possible by the uncanny emergence of Miikka Kiprusoff, the offensive dominance of Jarome Iginla…and the implacable defense of Robyn Regehr.
Reggie has been the Flames top defender ever since. Through multiple defensive partners, coaches and GM’s, Regehr has persisted as the club’s never wavering “opposition suppressor”. For years he has consistently faced NHL superstars, a difficult and relatively thankless duty that is often underappreciated because it can’t be readily captured by the boxscores. During the few, brief periods when he struggled, there was never much doubt Regehr would regain his footing and persist as the Flames best defensive option.
On top of his on-ice presence, I always liked Regehr’s off-ice personality and professionalism. His interviews were dissimilar to the fluff most athletes frequently offer: sound bites stuffed with bland generalities and clichés. Regehr clearly thought seriously about the game and often offered clarity, honesty and insight which one would typically expect from a frank coach or scout. I appreciated his candor and will miss his willingness to “tell it like it is”.
The reason’s for the Regehr trade will be discussed and debated for the rest of the summer (and probably longer) no doubt. And despite whatever reasons or justifications that will be offered for his departure to Buffalo (however accurate), there’s no question the Flames lost an excellent person and player this weekend,; one who will be remembered by the fanbase fondly, even long after he dons a Sabres jersey and eventually retires.
For posterity, here are some great Reggie moments compliments of youtube –
Thanks for everything Reggie. And good luck.