The 10 Best Flames Forwards Ever – #6 to #10

Over the course of all All-Time Team project, it’s become pretty evident that the Calgary Flames have had a lot of pretty good hockey players on their rosters. In the interest of shining a light on the best and brightest in franchise history, we’re counting down the best forwards, defensemen and goalies in Flames history.

Let’s start with the 10 Best Forwards.

The philosophy here is simple. The All-Time Team was concerned with roles and fits. This is just about the players you’d want on your side in a single-game, winner-take all game.

Here’s the five five on the list.

#10: ROBERT REICHEL

Flame from 1990-91 to 1996-97

The Czech sniper relied on speed and creativity to score goals. He wasn’t amazingly defensively, but he was one of the most dangerous players on the club during his tenure. Creative player, but perhaps a bit too reliant on power-play production – 48 of his 153 goals came with a man advantage.

#9: GUY CHOUINARD

Flame from 1974-75 to 1982-83

Chouinard was one of the franchise’s first great players – before Kent Nilsson showed up and just made everyone else look silly. On a team that was developing but not exactly stacked, Chouinard put up great numbers – including a 107-point season as a 22-year-old. He had a bit less to work with than Reichel but had pretty similar numbers, so I give him a slight edge.

#8: DOUG GILMOUR

Flame from 1988-89 to 1991-92

Gilmour wasn’t a Flame for long, but man, he made an impact. He was a pain in the ass to play against. He was a very strong puck distributor (214 assists in 261 games). He scored timely goals, including the goal to win the Flames the Stanley Cup in 1989. He made his teammates better and helped his team win – he had almost as many game-winning-goals in Calgary (in 4 seasons) as he did in Toronto (in 7 seasons).

#7: JOEY MULLEN

Flame from 1985-86 to 1989-90

I prefer Mullen to Gilmour in a few, minor ways. One: Mullen was in Calgary longer, so there’s a larger sample size to judge. Two: He was more of a goal-scorer than Gilmour. Three: He wasn’t quite as reliant on power-play time to generate goals as a few of the previous names on this list (including Gilmour) were. Mullen was a more-than-point-per-game player, and his worst full season in Calgary saw him score 36 goals.

#6: GARY ROBERTS

Flame from 1986-87 to 1995-96

One of just eight players to hit the 500-point plateau with the Flames, Roberts had some pretty gaudy offensive numbers and a really fun rough-and-tumble style of play. Most impressive, and sometimes forgotten, was that Roberts generated a lot of his goals at even-strength. Most of the names behind Roberts scored two-thirds of their goals at even-strength. Roberts? Just shy of 80%, meaning he really didn’t need power-play time to pump up his numbers. He’s third all-time in Flames history in even-strength scoring behind only Jarome Iginla and Theoren Fleury.

Tomorrow: the top five!

  • supra steve

    Reichel (like Nilsson, who is sure to be in the top 3) had more than his fair share of skill. But…the lack of desire to win and work hard to make sure that the team did win, made the whole (player) significantly less than the sum of his parts. For skill alone, perhaps he belongs on a list, but you were never going to win with him as a core piece on any team. Nilsson won his lone Stanley cup as a smaller role player on the HOF heavy Oilers. Doesn’t make either a bad guy, just not “winners” on an NHL team.

    • KACaribou

      I agree with your Reichel comments, but I have to give Kent his due when the Oilers got him as a hired gun to play in 86/87 and help win them another cup.

      Nilsson got 17 pts in 17 games at the end of the regular season, and then another 19 in 21 games in the playoffs. Combined he was +21 in 38 games in Edmonton. I seem to recall him playing with Messier and Anderson and them actually outscoring the Gretzky line.

      Remember this classless play by Ron Hextall, slashing Nilsson in the 87 playoffs?

      Flames missed the boat with Nilsson, didn’t give him protection or great line-mates. Somehow he still averaged 1.31 PPG.

  • maimster

    Curious as to which of Nilsson, Lanny, Nieuwy, Iggy, Fleury and Loob will not be in the top 5 (and thus not in the top 10). Pretty sure all of those should be no worse than 9…

    • al rain

      I predict a tie for second between Niuwendyk and Lanny. Iggy is all alone at #1, of course.

      I would take Fleury (#3) pretty high in that winner-take-all game and Loob (#4) was sublime, but smaller sample as a Flame. As for Nilsson (#5), it says something when Gretzky singles you out as the most skilled guy he ever saw play but then there’s all those (less skilled) guys he saw play that went into the HOF…

  • KACaribou

    No idea what Reichel is doing on these lists, other than to say the writers never saw this guy play. He was useless in the playoffs or any time it seemed to matter. A forgettable Flame except here of course.

    Chouinard was a talent and belongs here. But personally I would put Mel Bridgman’s couple years with the Flames as more impactful than Reichel; and Makorov was certainly far more skilled.

    Reichel over Mike Bullard? Ah, NO. Or Cammi even? or Dan Quinn, or Mark Savard? John Tonelli even went to war for the Flames for a couple of years and he was more impactful than Reichel’s several.

    Hudler has played enough games with the Flames to even qualify and he is better than Reichel ever was in my opinion. I am starting to think Monahan and Gaudreau are ahead of Reichel already.

    Agree with maimster, that either there is a tie or you have made a glaring error with the Flames 6 greatest forwards remaining and 5 spots.