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.
#2 on our countdown? Al MacInnis!
A product of Nova Scotia with a booming slap shot, MacInnis toiled in the WHL and OMJHL before the Flames made him their first round selection in 1981. After cups of coffee with the club in 1981-82 and 1982-83, he went pro full-time in 1983-84 and quickly established himself as a reliable defender.
MacInnis was, to be blunt, a great defenseman. In his rookie season he put up 45 points in 51 games and was the most productive freshman blueliner in hockey, but he got no Calder consideration due to Steve Yzerman’s monster rookie campaign.
If anything, MacInnis’ tenure in Calgary was a continuation of that freshman year. He was impressive as heck and garnered league-wide award consideration and acclaim, but he never captured the big individual awards while with the Flames. In 11 full seasons with the Flames, MacInnis received Norris votes six times. He finished sixth, third, second, second, eighth and third.
He scored 20 or more goals – as a defenseman! – six times. His booming slapper was a staple on Flames power plays, with both opposing players and teammates frequently wincing in pain (and likely squirming out of the way) as the shot blazed towards them. On several occasions he broke the plexiglass at the end of the rink and caused games to be delayed.
MacInnis was a big-game player. He was superb in the playoffs, amassing over a point per game as a rookie and pacing the offense in the 1986 and 1989 runs to the Stanley Cup Final. He led the 1989 playoffs in scoring and was named MVP.
As with many of the ’89 team, a combination of economics and a desire for new challenges saw MacInnis depart. He signed an offer sheet with St. Louis in the summer of 1994 and headed east. But he remains flat-out one of the greatest and most impactful Flames in club history.
He’s #2 on our list.
Arrival: Selected in the first round, 15th overall, at the 1981 NHL Entry Draft (June 10, 1981)
Departure: Traded with 1997 fourth round pick to St. Louis for Phil Housley, 1996 second round pick (Steve Begin) and 1997 second round pick (John Tripp) as a restricted free agent compensation settlement (July 4, 1994)
Awards: 1989 Stanley Cup winner; 1988-89 Conn Smythe Trophy winner; 1989-90 and 1990-91 First Team All-Star; 1986-87, 1988-89 and 1993-94 Second Team All-Star
Top 40 Calgary Flames: HM Martin Gelinas | HM Al Coates | HM Bob Johnson | HM Darryl Sutter | HM Cliff Fletcher | #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 | #19 Jim Peplinski | #18 Joel Otto | #17 Tim Hunter | #16 Joe Mullen | #15 Sean Monahan | #14 Robyn Regehr | #13 Mike Vernon | #12 Kent Nilsson | #11 Hakan Loob | #10 Lanny McDonald | #9 Johnny Gaudreau | #8 Gary Roberts | #7 Gary Suter | #6 Miikka Kiprusoff | #5 Joe Nieuwendyk | #4 Theoren Fleury | #3 Mark Giordano