FN’s All-Time Greatest Flames Team: Theoren Fleury

The latest player named to FlamesNation’s All-Time Flames Team is a small man that played the game of hockey like a crazy person – Theoren Fleury.

Fleury never should have made it in the National Hockey League. He was too small. He frequently physically went after bigger players. He fought all the time. He played a game that was predicated on a combination of speed, finesse, and an odd amount of fearlessness. He probably should’ve gotten creamed by a bigger player during any number of games. He had personal problems that definitely hindered his game, yet he managed to put together an NHL career that spanned over 1,000 games – most of them with the Flames.

Theoren Fleury played like a crazy person. That’s probably why he was as good as he was. No sane person would’ve taken the risks he did on the ice, nor would they have been as successful.

CAREER STATISTICS

When the Flames drafted Fleury in 1987, they probably hoped he’d be a decent player for their minor league team, the International Hockey League’s Salt Lake City Golden Eagles. However, he ended up cracking the NHL during his first professional season in 1988-89, playing a part in Calgary’s Stanley Cup victory. Unfortunately, that was the peak of his career – in his very first season. He’d never get close to a Cup again, even after he left Calgary in 1999 in a trade to Colorado for a bunch of players that included Robyn Regehr.

Despite being significantly smaller than the average NHLer, and having a career that spanned the run-and-gun 1980s and the clutch-and-grab 1990s, Fleury generated more than a point-per-game during six seasons of his decade in Calgary. That includes a 50-goal campaign in 1990-91, a pair of 40-goal seasons, and two 100+ point seasons. Despite these accomplishments, outside of sharing the since-discontinued plus/minus award in 1990-91, Fleury never won an individual NHL award.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT(S)

FLAMES MILESTONES

  • 4th in All-Time Flames Games Played (791)
  • 2nd in All-Time Flames Points (830)
  • 2nd in All-Time Flames Goals (364)
  • 5th in All-Time Flames Penalty Minutes (1,339)
  • Served as team captain for two seasons (1995-97)

LEGACY

During his tenure with the Flames, Theoren Fleury was the most popular player on the team – especially with young kids. He played the game with a chip on his shoulder, and his fearlessness on the ice endeared him to the fans – even when his conduct off the ice over the years has worked against him.

Fleury shouldn’t have been able to accomplish what he did in the NHL. He was too small. He had substance abuse issues, along with other personal issues that he thankfully finally tackled after he retired. Fleury heard his detractors loud and clear during his entire career. He had a 1,000-point, nearly-500-goal career anyway through a combination of sheer will and reckless abandon.

  • CofRed4Life

    still waiting for the day that the organization retires his number…and not the Forever A Flame junk!!!

    Lanny deserves it; Vernon deserves it; MacInnis DESERVES it; Theo does (as does Iggy someday)

  • TheoForever

    Does not deserve to has his number retired. Fleury cannot keep his mouth shut and has on numerous occasions taken shots at flames management. A few years ago during his attempted comeback, he came out in the media and said something to the effect of, “Conroy has 0 goals I’m pretty sure if I was on the team I could do better than that.” For whatever reason Theo has a toxic personality and has not shown the organization respect. Theo has always been about Theo.

    • Skuehler

      Having met Theo twice,(actually was a guest speaker in my small town highschool once) I don’t get how you can say his personality is toxic and or selfish, maybe in the past yes but not now, especially recently as an advocate against sexual abuse.

      • Cfan in Vic

        There are all sorts of opinions that are very easy to form until you experience somebody who you care about try to deal with serious addictions and/or abusive histories.

        It’s easy/simple to blame people, but can be very difficult/complex to attempt to understand them.

        Good on you Theo. Congrats on pulling in the reigns and making a nice life for yourself.

        He was my first “favorite player”. I had a misspelt poster on my wall that said “Theron Fleury” which never agreed with my Fleury upper deck hockey card.

  • TheoForever

    Meh….I lose all respect for athletes that use performance enhancing drugs. If Theo was half pissed or on coke while he played it’s the same as cheating…do what you wish with him and his jersey.He is dead to me

    Commence the bashing πŸ™‚

  • TheoForever

    My favorite Flame growing up, first Flames jersey I ever owned and What a player. If you weren’t on his team you hated his guts.
    So much talent, compete, passion, NO FEAR. How bout those Belfast numbers

  • RKD

    Would have been cool to see Iggy and Fleury play on the Flames for a few more years. If only one was a C they would have been a dynamic duo for year or at least kept the Flames more balanced on the RW with two lethal snipers on separate lines. Although they probably would have never gotten Reggie either. The Fleury chapter closed so Iggy took over and now that Iggy is gone another young Flame will take over.

  • Skuehler

    Ive never seen another player play with more grit and heart than Theo. the ultimate guy you want on your side and the last guy you want to tick off on the other side. Made things happen when he was on the ice. He was like crossing Gaudreau with Ferland. And then some.

    He was entertaining. Never new if he’d come out and score a hat trick in the third period to rally a come from behind win, or instigate a line brawl.

  • Skuehler

    It is unfortunate that Theo’s career is tainted by his poor choices and bad decision making in his later years. He clearly was a troubled man with a troubled past. But lets not forget, he was an exceptional hockey player for both Calgary and his country. I don’t remember him ever turning down an invitiation to play for his country and when he was there he was usually a top scorer. If the decision to retire someone’s number and to make it to the HHOF was based on on-ice production he would be a shoe in.

    He used to be my favorite Flames player when the game started, his off ice antics and later on ice antics with NY and Colorado were disappointing and all people remember.

  • Skuehler

    Will always remember watching that OT winner at my Grandma’s at 10 years old. Coast to coast sliding across the Northlands ice, rubbing it right in..only Theo!
    Sure wanted him to make that team in 2008 as well, like a lot of us did I am sure. I mean who was our 13 and 14th forward that year? Wayne Primeau? Andre Roy? Seriously..

  • Skuehler

    I recently saw Theo at an RV dealer and saw the salesman fawn all over him, he still has he fans. This article was about him as a hockey player and he deserves to be on a team of Calgary’s all time top 25. Considering the evil things that happened to him I can’t but feel sorry for him. However others who faced the same abuse found other ways to cope and here’s hoping he can find ways to cope in his role as a father and partner that are not self destructive. Good luck Theo.

  • Byron Bader

    I remember his first game back after being traded (not sure if it was Colorado or NYR) but I do remember the fans somehow booing this guy … this idol (presumably because he wanted an outrageous amount of money at FA but apparently, in his own words, he did not) and he killed us for it. 3 or 4 goals … OT winner. Nobody was stopping him.

    Troubled guy but a fantastic hockey talent … no doubt about that. I’d like to see him at least honored as a Forever a Flame at some point.

  • Byron Bader

    Theo should’ve made the team that year of his comeback. The team might’ve actually done something.

    The man had many demons, very few that he ever asked for. People should put themselves in other peoples’ shoes before judging. A great many with similar experiences never recover or end it all. Given his size and what he both suffered and endured, what he accomplished is nothing short of astonishing.

    Retire the jersey!

  • KACaribou

    Retire #14!

    Most points scored by a Swedish player in a single NHL season (131 in 1980–81)

    Calgary Flames team record for points in a single season (131 in 1980–81)

    Calgary Flames team record for assists in a single season (82 in 1980–81)

    Calgary Flames team record for shorthanded goals in a single season (9 in 1983–84)

    6th fastest player in NHL history to score 300 points

    8th fastest player in NHL history to score 400 points

    9th fastest player in NHL history to score 500 points

    19.21% 12th best shooting percentage in NHL history

    Flames totals 425 GP, 562 Pts, 1.32 PPG.

    Oh, wait. Those are #14 Kent Nilsson’s stats with the Flames.