FN’s All-Time Greatest Flames Team: Joel Otto

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.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Messier was all talk and cheap shots when it came to Otto, but he was too scared to ever drop them with the big man. Best 3rd line center for the Flames ever.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Ok. Brian Boyle and Jonathan Drouin for Giordano and…………..

      Put Boyle on the ice to win the face off , then straight to the bench. Just like Tampa used him.


      • The GREAT Walter White

        WW no wonder you’re always trolling on Oilers Nation the people of Flames Nation have no pulse. 4,11,17 comments? Is there no one intelligent enough to offer an opinion on anything. Can’t really blame you guys for keeping quiet, with the Oilers getting Conner and going into a new rink next year we will be the envy of Alberta once again.

  • Train#97

    My all=time Flames team:











  • Bob's Hockey Stick

    the only thing Edmonton has proven in the last six years NHL wise… they know how to draft first over all. Sell hope to there fan base that the next first overall is the savior …. Honestly Oilers you have had four kicks at first overall and your franchise has proven it knows how to do one thing on the ice … Lose. and lose with all the disgrace of a tank job. Well done even the titanic couldn’t tank as well and frequently as the Oilers have the last decade.

    I really hope that after four attempts at drafting first overall you finally got lucky and got a true top draft choice in McDavid. But seeing as the previous three first overalls have yet to amount to anything of relevance in the NHL let alone even play a shift of meaningful hockey in the post season… It’s probably a safe bet that the Oilers will be dead last in the west by december.

    You won McDavid so you’ll choke out of playoff contention by Xmas this year instead of your usual november choke and tank job. Still don’t have any top nhl defense. P.S. klefbom and shultz are not top four defense. Neither is Seekera.

    And you have two career back up goalies …. You didn’t learn the last time you tried that with scrivens and and that other dude. In what world is talbot a starter ? he’s a glorified backup who played behind the best D core in the league last year ( rangers) . in Oilerville he’s going to be exposed and more of the same as last season. You don’t win games without a starting goalie and at least four defense men who are not bottom six defense men on any team not named Oilers.

    Will the flames make the playoffs this season? who knows it’s why we play regular season games. But I’d say the flames having gotten to the playoffs may actually have a bit of a plan as to how to return to the playoffs. Oilers they have alot to prove and shown nothing but talk. Maybe McDavid turns out to be jesus and saves the franchise. Then again maybe he just mails it in and ends up Yak 2.0.
    And if I’m wrong that’ll be fantastic , why ? because it’ll mean the battle of Alberta will actually be meanginful relevant hockey again. I’m sure fans of both cities can agree that would be a good thing.

    • Train#97

      You say the 3 1st overall picks have not amounted to anything . You could not be further from the truth. Yakupov is still a work in progress but has only been in the league three years . He is still 21 years old.
      Taylor Hall has been in the top ten in NHL. scoring twice in five years. One of the best left wingers in hockey. Was also named to the Olympic camp.world Championship gold and 1st all star team.
      Nuge has become a very effective two way first line centre who plays against the best lines every game.
      So yes they have had success and are both very good players.

  • KACaribou

    I saw the headline and thought great; we can relive the memories of the epic battles between Messier and Otto and they were. Instead I get to be bored to death by Train#97 and WW having a pssing contest. Both of you find a different site and drool over each other. Please go away.

    • Train#97

      Actually the only reason I posted the link to the video was in response to WOLF saying Messier was too scared to drop the gloves with Otto. Then that dick WW has to rear it’s ugly head.

      • KACaribou

        I frequently see your name on this site stirring it up so please don’t just blame WW. I frequently read the stuff on ON because they publish a lot more articles than here, some of which I find quite good but many are the same stuff either living in the past( and to give the Oilers their due they were great but that was a long time ago)or how Connor is going to change everything. I seldom write anything on that site as I see it as the Oilers site when I do I try and discuss hockey and not just badmouth either the Oilers or their fans,(WW could learn from this) However when guys troll on either site I quickly want to move on.

    • I’m not sure they are ranking them just putting them down as the writers get the story finished. For some of the players that will be put on this list it’s easy to rank them but others will be debatable. If we look at who I think the centers should be I would have Niewendyk and Gilmour and Nilsson(he might not even make it) very close to each other (I believe Gretzky called Nilsson the most talented player he ever saw but he did not have Gilmour’s competitive nature) Otto’s talent would not likely even have him in the top 5 centers who have played here but his role, leadership and competitiveness has him clearly on the this team.

      Just read an article on Messier and Otto and Otto said something like this; ” We had a lot of good centers on this team when I arrived but my job was to deal with Messier” and he did a very good job of that on most nights. Messier was one of the best complete centers of his generation and Otto did as good of job of dealing with him as anyone in the league.

      • Train#97

        I did not see Nilsson on that list ,but I do remember Gretzky saying Denis Savard was the most talented hockey player he saw. He may have said something similar about Nilsson as well.