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 #29 is Reggie Lemelin.
Lemelin is a perfect example of the goaltending progression (and succession) that Flames general manager Cliff Fletcher used during the ’80s. Signed as a free agent during the Atlanta days, Lemelin became a full-time NHLer after the move North. His stint with the Flames can be summed up like this: backup, starter, backup, gone.
He was nominally the backup from 1980-81 through 1982-83; he played behind Pat Riggin (following Dan Bouchard being traded) and then in a tandem with Don Edwards). He was the starter for three seasons, backed up by Don Edwards and later Mike Vernon. But much like Lemelin wrenched the starting job from Edwards, Vernon wrenched it away from Lemelin. After spending the 1986-87 season as Vernon’s caddy, Lemelin left as a free agent.
Not only was Lemelin a guy that played a lot for the Flames, he was actually pretty good relative to the rest of the league. He finished top three in Vezina voting in 1983-84 and 1984-85, and even got Hart votes in 1984-85. Even when Vernon overtook him, Lemelin was still an above-average goalie – he went on to form a great tandem in Boston with Andy Moog.
Lemelin’s not an all-time great, but he was a superb goalie that gave a rapidly-improving Flames team a chance to win every night. He slides in at #29 on our list.
Arrival: Signed as free agent by Atlanta (August 17, 1978); relocated to Calgary (May 21, 1980)
Departure: Signed with Boston as a free agent (August 13, 1987)
Top 40 Calgary Flames: HM Martin Gelinas | #40 Brad Marsh | #39 Matt Stajan | #38 Jiri Hudler | #37 Dion Phaneuf | #36 Guy Chouinard | #35 Phil Housley | #34 Matthew Tkachuk | #33 Cory Stillman | #32 Curtis Glencross | #31 Jamie Macoun | #30 Carey Wilson