Doug Gilmour was a player of much debate when the contributors of FN were discussing the all-time greatest Flames team. He was a great player who had a Hall of Fame career. The problem wasn’t his talent but rather the length of time he was a Flame. Gilmour didn’t spend a lot of time in a Flames uniform and is generally always associated with the Leafs. But after much debate … nobody felt right leaving Gilmour off the greatest Flames team as he was one of the best centers and players the team ever had.
Gilmour was originally drafted by the Blues in 1982 (7th round 134th overall) and played the first five years of his NHL career there. Gilmour was used as a more defensive shutdown player early on his career, putting up three consecutive 50ish seasons. In 1986-87, Gilmour emerged as an offensive powerhouse as well, registering 105 points and 86 the following season. In the summer of 1988, the 24 year-old Gilmour was embroiled in a lawsuit involving his former babysitter and sexual assault allegations and was promptly traded to Calgary in a very lopsided deal along with Mark Hunter, Steve Bozek and Michael Dark in exchange for Mike Bullard, Craig Coxe and Tim Corkery.
Gilmour became the Flames second pivot, behind the sophomore Joe Nieuwendyk. Gilmour, mostly playing with Joe Mullen, Colin Patterson and Theo Fleury, became an immediate impact player with the Flames. In the 1988-89 season, Gilmour registered 85 points in 72 games and played an enormous role in the Flames eventually winning the cup that year. Gilmour was terrific offensively, registering 22 points in 22 games, and defensively (played a key role shutting down Gretzky in the second round) in the 1989 playoffs and ultimately scored two goals in the game six of the finals, including the game winner.
Gilmour went on to have two more successful seasons with the Flames before he was traded to the Maple Leafs over a contract dispute halfway through the 1991-92 season in the worst and most lopsided trade the Flames ever made. Gilmour along with Jamie Maccoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley were traded in exchange for Gary Leeman, Crag Berube, Michel Petit, Alexander Godynyuk and Jeff Reese. No draft picks or A-list prospects for a two-way center that registered 295 points in 266 games with the Flames. Just a dreadful deal and one that probably set the Flames back a few years.
- Game-winning goal of their 1989 Stanley Cup Championship
- 18th in all-time points
- 12th in all-time assists
- 5th in all-time plus/minus
- 2nd and 8th in single-season assists (67 in 1989-90 & 61 in 1988-89)
Gilmour went on to have a six successful years with the Leafs, establishing himself as a legend in Leafs Nation for his work there. If a contract dispute hadn’t soured him on the organization and he hadn’t demanded a trade he might never have been a Leaf and likely would have finished off his formidable years as a Flame and the Flames would have never made the worst trade in their history … reserving that for their future Marc Savard and Dion Phaneuf trades.