Our latest entry in the All-Time Flames Team is probably one of the most underrated National Hockey League Players of all-time. And stop me if you’ve heard this one.
A smaller player with incredible offensive talent and a fair amount of fearlessness in the corners, this player plied his trade with the NCAA’s Boston College Eagles before an NHL club took a chance on him. His name? Joe Mullen.
Originally snapped up by the St. Louis Blues as a free agent, Mullen came to Calgary in 1986. At that point, Mullen had a pretty solid reputation as a talented offensive player. He’d scored over a point-per-game over his first four seasons, and had scored 40 goals twice. The Flames sent Eddy Beers, Charlie Bourgeois and Gino Cavallini to the Blues for Mullen, Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson.
Mullen got 38 points in the final 29 games, helping get the Flames to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. He stuck around for another four seasons. His worst offensive totals were 38 goals and 69 points, and he put up a tremendously 51 goals and 110 points in the 1988-89 campaign and scored 16 goals en route to a Stanley Cup.
Cliff Fletcher being Cliff Fletcher, when he saw Mullen’s numbers dip a bit in 1989-90, he cashed out and sent him to Pittsburgh for a second round pick (that didn’t pan out). Mullen won Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992, so I guess things worked out okay for him.
- 16th in All-Time Flames Points (388)
- 11th in All-Time Flames Goals (190)
- Second-largest single-season point total in Flames history (110; 1988-89)
- Fourth-largest single-season goal total in Flames history (51; 1988-89)
Joe Mullen was the prototypical late-bloomer. He started skating late (he was 10) and had to learn everything rapidly. Once he learned everything, Mullen was a spitfire on the ice – a creative, dynamic, intelligent player who seemingly had no fear to go into the corners. In short: he’s everything the Flames probably hope and pray Johnny Gaudreau can eventually become.
Mullen’s worst offensive season in Calgary saw him score nearly 40 goals and 70 points. That tells you just how great he was, even in the context of the run-and-gun 1980s.