This coming May is the 40th anniversary of the Atlanta Flames moving to Calgary. To commemorate this occasion, we’re counting down the Top 40 Calgary Flames in history.
Coming in at #35 is one of the best offensive defenders of his time, Phil Housley.
Housley is one of a handful of prominent Flames who had two stints with the club. He first joined the team under unique circumstances. Al MacInnis was a restricted free agent and received a hefty offer sheet that the Flames couldn’t match, so Housley was sent to Calgary as part of the compensation package.
While MacInnis was a beast in Calgary, Housley wasn’t exactly a slouch. A couple seasons removed from serious Norris contention, he was a point-per-game player in the lockout shortened 1994-95 season and had 52 points in 56 games the following season. With his deal expiring, he was leveraged into a five player trade with New Jersey that landed the Flames key depth in Tommy Albelin and Cale Hulse.
Two years later, the Flames got Housley back for free via the waiver wire. He had two excellent offensive seasons – with 54 and 55 points respectively – followed by an uneven third season. Then he was lost via the waiver draft.
Housley played 21 seasons in the NHL and was one of the best American born players and offensive defensemen the NHL ever saw. He played four very strong seasons with the Flames. Even if he never became a franchise cornerstone, his time wearing red was at the very least productive and ensured that MacInnis’ departure wasn’t completely painful.
He comes in at #35 due to his sheer offensive productivity.
Arrival: Acquired with 1996 second round pick (Steve Begin) and 1997 second round pick (John Tripp) from St. Louis in exchange for Al MacInnis and 1997 fourth round pick (Didier Tremblay) as part of an offer sheet compensation exchange (July 4, 1994)
Departure: Traded with Dan Keczmer to New Jersey for Tommy Albelin, Cale Hulse and Jocelyn Lemieux (February 26, 1996)
Re-Arrival: Claimed off waivers from Washington (July 21, 1998)
Re-Departure: Claimed by Chicago in the Waiver Draft (September 28, 2001)