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 #19 is Jim Peplinski.
Peplinski doesn’t get a lot of love for how long he played for the Flames and how productive he was during his tenure. But all-told he’s seventh in games played, 12th in goals, 12th in points and fourth in penalty minutes in Calgary history. He’s pretty significant to the franchise’s history.
Breaking into the league as a 20-year-old in 1980-81, Peplinski established himself as a hard-nosed, hard-working, reliable player. In nine full seasons with the Flames, he never had less than 100 penalty minutes. He was arguably always the third most-talented guy on his line, but was first guy into virtually every single scrum and could be relied upon for consistent even strength offense. If you wanted to characterize him as a less impressive Matthew Tkachuk, that wouldn’t be an unfair characterization.
In addition to being a heart and soul guy, Peplinski was also quietly an excellent two-way player. He consistently hit double digits in even strength goals virtually every season. He made appearances on Selke ballots in 1985-86 and 1986-87. He also served as co-captain from 1984 to 1989, hoisting the Stanley Cup as a healthy scratch in ’89. Peplinski hung up the skates shortly into the 1989-90 campaign, but briefly returned in 1994-95. (When he initially retired, he was the club’s all-time leader in games played.)
All-told, he probably doesn’t get credit for how good he was for the Flames. He played for a long time, played hard minutes, and made life easier for his teammates. He also scored quite a few goals along the way. He’s #19 on our list.
Arrival: Selected in the fourth round, 7th overall, in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft (1979); relocated to Calgary with the franchise (May 21, 1980)
Departure: Retired (1990)
Re-Arrival: Came out of retirement and signed as free agent (April 6, 1995)
Departure: Re-retired (Spring 1995)
Awards: 1989 Stanley Cup winner
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 | #29 Reggie Lemelin | #28 TJ Brodie | #27 Alex Tanguay | #26 Daymond Langkow | #25 Sergei Makarov | #24 Craig Conroy | #23 Robert Reichel | #22 Paul Reinhart | #21 Doug Gilmour | #20 Mikael Backlund