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!