We close out the first week of unveiling the FlamesNation All-Time Flames Team with one of the most underrated players in franchise history – Joel Otto.
It’s a bit of a shame that Otto only ever won a single Stanley Cup, because he was a role player’s role player. While Theoren Fleury was 5’6″ and 160 pounds and played like he thought he was a foot tall, Joel Otto was legitimately 6’4″ and 220 pounds…and played like he knew it. Otto may not have been the greatest finesse player, but he was able to use his size, tenacity, and occasionally downright meanness to win face-offs, win battles, and win games.
Joel Otto was never an offensive powerhouse. He usually generated about half a point per game, occasionally more, but his value was on the other side of the puck – throwing hits, scrapping and generally making the opposition miserable. He was usually a third-line center on the deep Flames clubs of the 1980s, and still managed to approach 20 goal performances through most of his full seasons.
Otto was also one of the Flames most consistent face-off men throughout his tenure. He was a respected on-ice leader, and his departure as a free agent after the 1994-95 season was a big sign that the Flames were starting a big slide away from the playoff picture.
- 5th in All-Time Flames Games Played (730)
- 13th in All-Time Flames Points (428)
- 12th in All-Time Flames Goals (167)
- 11th in All-Time Flames Assists (261)
- 3rd in All-Time Flames Penalty Minutes (1,642)
Joel Otto is what Joe Colborne dreams of becoming. Despite not having elite skill, Otto made the absolute most of his big frame. He played big. He played mean. And he became one of Calgary’s best-ever defensive forwards and face-off men, along with one of their most feared (and respected) on-ice competitors.
He can still be found in the Saddledome, a little bit down the hallway from the old Flames locker room, as assistant coach of the Calgary Hitmen.