A history of Flames numbers: #3, Jyrki Jokipakka

I still associate #3 on the Flames with Dion Phaneuf. It’s been years, and yet every time a new Flames player takes that number, I always end up thinking, “Huh, that’s Phaneuf’s old number.” 

Probably a lot of that has to do with the revolving door of defencemen to come through since he was traded (including his number being immediately handed to Ian White, the defenceman the Flames got back in the trade). I don’t know if its current wearer, Jyrki Jokipakka, will put a stop to this constant rotating, but I’m excited to see what the future holds no matter what.

Jokipakka wore #2 in Dallas – but he wasn’t getting that number over here. He has worn both #2 and #3 for Finland, though, so the fit was already established.

#3 on the Flames

Jokipakka is the 17th player to wear #3 for the Flames:

  • D Pat Quinn
  • D Pat Ribble
  • D Phil Russell
  • D Tony Curtale
  • D Steve Konroyd
  • D Robin Bartel
  • D Kevan Guy
  • D Rick Lessard
  • D Frantisek Musil
  • D James Patrick
  • D Denis Gauthier
  • D Dion Phaneuf
  • D Ian White
  • D Brett Carson
  • D Ladislav Smid
  • D David Schlemko
  • D Jyrki Jokipakka

Wow, tons of defencemen. Naturally, though. A forward wearing #3 would look odd.

Two current Flames are on this list; Smid actually switched to #15 after one season of playing with the Flames. He wore #5 in Edmonton, but that number was, uh, taken by someone else in Calgary with no reason for that particular player to give it up. 

The best #3


Not all defencemen are great scorers, so comparing them by points maybe isn’t fair – but it’s not as though we have possession or corsi data for players from the 70s, so let’s take longevity via games played into account, too.

Patrick cleans up here, but the bulk of his career came with the New York Rangers. (Phil) Russell is in a similar boat, playing the bulk of his career with the Chicago Black Hawks, but still spending a fair amount of time with the Flames after.

And then there’s Phaneuf, whose career is still in progress. So are Schlemko and Jokipakka’s, and arguably, Smid’s as well. Jokipakka is only two years into his NHL career, though, and he’s only 24 years old, so his numbers will probably go up as time goes on. Probably not to the extent of some of the above names mentioned, but at least his career likely won’t flame out like past #3s’ have.

If he has a good season (and isn’t claimed in the expansion draft), Jokipakka could finally break the revolving door of #3s to come through the Flames. (He’s certainly more notable than Carson, who last held it the longest.) That would be nice to see.

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#1Brian Elliott