The players the Flames lost in past expansion drafts

The National Hockey League is expanding to 31 teams for the 2017-18 season, adding a brand new team from the sunny climes of Las Vegas, Nevada. That means that for the 12th time in league history, we’re going to have us an expansion draft.

The Calgary Flames are no strangers to expansion drafts. They came into existence by virtue of the 1972 expansion draft (alongside the New York Islanders) and have given up players to brand new teams in eight expansion drafts since then.

But before you feel too bad for the fledgling Flames losing players here and there to other expansion teams, we’re here to tell you that they usually didn’t lose anybody that was particularly good.


1974 Expansion Draft: Kansas City Scouts & Washington Capitals

The Flames lost forwards Butch Deadmarsh (to Kansas City) and Lew Morrison (to Washington). In 1973-74, Deadmarsh was 17th in scoring for Atlanta (with seven points) and Morrison was 19th (with five points). So it’s safe to say that the Flames gave up third liners to the expansion clubs.

1974 Protected: goalies Dan Bouchard, Phil Myre; skaters Curt Bennett, Dwight Bialowas, Jerry Byers, Rey Comeau, Buster Harvey, Ed Kea, Bob Leiter, Jean Lemieux, Randy Manery, Bob Murray, Noel Price, Pat Quinn, Jacques Richard, Larry Romanchych, John Stewart

1979 Expansion Draft: Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques & Winnipeg Jets (the WHA Absorption)

Since four teams were joining the NHL, the Flames (and every other team) lost four players while having the ability to claim back the NHL rights of some players drafted in the WHA Draft. So the Flames managed to claim Kent Nilsson’s rights from the Jets, who had taken him in the WHA Draft. Atlanta also lost four players who you have never, ever heard of: defenseman Rick Hodgson (to Hartford) and forwards Brian Hill (Hartford), John Gould (Edmonton) and Gene Carr (Winnipeg). Gould had 15 points in 1978-79 (14th in Flames team scoring), Carr had 11 (for 18th on the team), while Hill and Hodgson were on the Central Hockey League’s Tulsa Oilers.

1979 Protected: goalies Dan Bouchard, Reggie Lemelin; skaters Ivan Boldirev, Guy Chouinard, Bill Clement, Ken Houston, Ed Kea, Don Laurence, Bob MacMillan, Bob Murdoch, Kent Nilsson, Willi Plett, Jean Pronovost, Darcy Rota, Phil Russell, Dave Shand, Eric Vail

After the WHA joined the league, there wasn’t another expansion draft until 1991.

1991 Expansion Draft: San Jose Sharks

When the Sharks came into the league, the Flames were heartbroken as they lost Salt Lake City defenseman Rick Lessard in the expansion draft. He played a single game with the Flames in 1990-91.

1991 Protected: Rick Wamsley, Mike Vernon; D Jim Kyte, Al MacInnis, Jamie Macoun, Frank Musil, Ric Nattress, Gary Suter; F Theoren Fleury, Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joel Otto, Colin Patterson, Paul Ranheim, Gary Roberts, Martin Simard, Ron Stern, Carey Wilson

1992 Expansion Draft: Ottawa Senators & Tampa Bay Lightning

The Flames finally lost a player that fans had heard of in 1992: former co-captain and Stanley Cup champion Tim Hunter to Tampa Bay. They also lost forward Chris Lindberg to Ottawa, but promptly traded Chris Osiecki there to reacquire him. Lindberg had seven points in 1991-92 (for 19th in team scoring), while Hunter had four points (for 23rd in team scoring).

1992 Protected: G Jeff Reese, Mike Vernon; D Al MacInnis, Frank Musil, Michel Petit, Gary Suter, Trent Yawney; F Craig Berube, Theoren Fleury, Gary Leeman, Sergei Makarov, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joel Otto, Paul Ranheim, Gary Roberts, Ron Stern

1993 Expansion Draft: Anaheim Mighty Ducks & Florida Panthers

Two players went to Florida (and nobody to Anaheim) in the 1993 expansion. Alex Godynyuk – of the maligned Doug Gilmour mega-trade – and trade deadline acquisition Brian Skrudland went to the Cats. Neither was an impact Flame, with Godnyuk 22nd in team scoring (seven points) and Skrudland 23rd (six points).

1993 Protected: G Mike Vernon; D Kevin Dahl, Al MacInnis, Frank Musil, Gary Suter, Trent Yawney; F Craig Berube, Theoren Fleury, Paul Kruse, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joel Otto, Paul Ranheim, Robert Reichel, Gary Roberts, Ron Stern

1998 Expansion Draft: Nashville Predators

The Flames got creative in 1998. They lost number-five defender Joel Bouchard in the expansion draft itself, but also traded Jim Dowd to the Predators in exchange for them not taking one of Calgary’s available goaltenders. Dowd was 13th in team scoring in 1997-98, while Bouchard was 14th (and fifth among defenders).

1998 Protected: G Ken Wregget; D Tommy Albelin, Jamie Allison, Sami Helenius, Cale Hulse, Todd Simpson; F Valeri Bure, Andrew Cassels, Nils Ekman, Theoren Fleury, Ladislav Kohn, Marty McInnis, Michael Nylander, Dave Roche, Cory Stillman, Jason Wiemer

1999 Expansion Draft: Atlanta Thrashers

As they did the year prior, the Flames lost two players despite the league only adding one team. Forward Ed Ward went to Atlanta in the draft proper, while Swedish forward prospect Andreas Karlsson was traded to the Thrashers in exchange for them not taking particular player(s) that the Flames had left exposed. Ward had eight points in 1998-99 and was the team’s 17th-leading scorer.

1999 Protected: G Fred Brathwaite; D Tommy Albelin, Jamie Allison, Sami Helenius, Cale Hulse, Todd Simpson; F Valeri Bure, Rene Corbet, Hnat Domenichelli, Jarome Iginla, Andrei Nazarov, Jeff Shantz, Cory Stillman, Jason Wiemer, Clarke Wilm

2000 Expansion Draft: Columbus Blue Jackets & Minnesota Wild

In the most recent NHL expansion, the Flames lost a pair of players to the Minnesota Wild (and none to Columbus). Defender Filip Kuba and forward Sergei Krivokrasov were picked up in the expansion draft. Neither were long-term members of the organization; Kuba had been acquired from Florida just after the season in exchange for noted goon Rocky Thompson, while Krivokrasov was picked up at the trade deadline from Nashville. If you pro-rate Krivokrasov’s production over a full season he would’ve been sixth or seventh on the 1999-2000 Flames, but his exposure in the draft meant that he obviously wasn’t in the club’s long-term plans.

2000 Protected: G Fred Brathwaite; D Tommy Albelin, Wade Belak, Denis Gauthier, Phil Housley, Derek Morris; F Valeri Bure, Jarome Iginla, Bill Lindsay, Andrei Nazarov, Marc Savard, Jeff Shantz, Cory Stillman, Jason Weimer, Clarke Wilm


As the NHL has expanded, the expansion draft rules have meant that the Flames have rarely lost anybody of note. In fact, they have almost exclusively lost minor-league players, third-pairing defenders or third-line forwards.

But with the way the rules have been crafted for the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, it’s looking likely that the Flames could lose somebody significant from their roster.

    • Kevin R

      Well, I guess if Jokipakka has a real good year, we could always trade him for a 1st round pick or a decent ELC young player & force Vegas to take someone else.

      • piscera.infada

        I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the “plan” at some point. Play him with Hamilton, pump his value, bring in the most NHL-ready defensemen from Stockton for a real roster-spot showdown next year.

        Worst case scenario is Jokipakka has such a good year it forces the Flames hand into making a very tough decision at expansion. Might as well make it a sink or swim year for Jyrki. If he forces his way into the long-term plans, it’s not a horrible development with the likes of Wideman, Smid, and Engelland coming off the books. If he doesn’t, leave him unprotected or trade him (if you want to force Las Vegas’s hand–depending on other developments).

    • Parallex

      Y’know I really dob’t get why people think Jokipakka will be the selection… unless he has a monster year I would be shocked if LV couldn’t find 9 better D-men to pluck.

      • Baalzamon

        They also need a certain number of forwards, and they must take one player per team. Honestly, I personally stated Jokipakka was likely to be the most attractive option exposed by the Flames back when we thought Shinkaruk and Poirier were exempt. So that changes things.

        I also said that Brouwer would unequivocally be protected back then. But protecting him forces the Flames to expose two of Ferland, Shinkaruk, and Poirier, which I honestly don’t see happening. I think Ferland will force the Flames to protect him next year, and Shinkaruk was acquired only shortly before Brouwer, and is far more valuable to the organization.

        Looks like Brouwer might be the claimee after all. Still possible Vegas takes the big young(ish) Finnish blueliner, though.

  • OKG

    I think the NHL talent pool runs much deeper now than it probably has in any moment in the expansion era. Third liners and #4/#5 D today would have been second liners and #2/#3 D in another expansion.

    The implications of that are:

    A) The Flames stand to lose a better player with more upside in absolute terms than they would have in past expansion drafts.
    B) The Flames will have the internal depth to fill the hole created by expansion.

    • Baalzamon

      The rules are also more in favor of expansion teams now than they were then.

      Anyone else kind of wish there were two expansion teams this time round? Just to get the second one out of the way? Highly doubt the NHL stays at 31 teams for long.

        • Baalzamon

          They could always move like Columbus or Detroit back West. Always nice to have another horribly-run organization you can beat up on for a few years (have you looked at the moves Detroit has been making lately?).

          Seattle would be nice, though. Strange that they can never seem to hang onto a pro sports team, though.

  • Joe Flames

    Brian Scrudland was widely considered one of the best defensive forwards in the league at that time. Good leader too.
    Back in the days of old school hockey values without stats to back them up! 🙂
    Times have certainly changed