2Michael Stone
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Home shopping: a brief history of the Flames and Hitmen

The Calgary Hitmen joined the Western Hockey League in 1995-96. The Calgary Flames, as a western-based club (and eventually the owner of the Hitmen), have heavily drafted from the WHL over their history.

WHL-wide, the Flames have had a lot of success. But their results with Hitmen players have been kind of spotty.

Flames drafting Hitmen

The Flames have drafted three players from the Hitmen in their history:

Brent Krahn: One of the most painful first round whiffs in club drafting history, Krahn was selected 9th overall in 2000 and was a damn fine junior goalie. But injuries hampered him and after five seasons in the minors, he never played a game for the Flames. Heck, he was playing on shared affiliates for the first two seasons of his pro career – that’s a tough way to learn the game. He ended up playing just a single period with the Dallas Stars.

Wade Davis: Selected in the fifth round in 2000, Davis was a reliable big-bodied defender. He had respectable offensive numbers, but the Flames didn’t sign him. He played a year on a minor league deal, then went to university.

Pavel Karnaukhov: Selected in the fifth round in 2015, Karnaukhov had an injury-filled post-draft season and then went back to Russia to play pro. The Flames technically still have his rights – there’s no transfer agreement with Russia so they never lapse – but he’s not in their plans.

The Flames also signed Brent Dodginghorse to a minor league deal. He spent 1998-99 with the ECHL’s Johnstown Chiefs.

Hitmen playing for the Flames

Five players have spent time with the Hitmen and the Flames. Weirdly, there’s no overlap between them!

  • Brad Stuart played 27 games for the Flames in 2006-07. He was acquired in February in the deal that sent Chuck Kobasew and Andrew Ference to Boston. He had five assists and left as a free agent.
  • Freddie Sjostrom played 46 games for the Flames in 2009-10. He signed as a free agent, became established as a very useful penalty killer, then was traded to Toronto in the Dion Phaneuf trade.
  • Brett Carson played 18 games for the Flames spread out over three seasons (2010-13), basically bouncing between the NHL and AHL and also serving as the seventh defender. He had one assist.
  • TJ Galiardi played 62 games for the Flames in 2013-14. He was acquired in a trade from San Jose and played out the final year of his contract. Playing for his hometown team he had 17 points and left as a free agent.
  • Michael Stone has played 148 games for the Flames from 2016-17 to present. He was acquired in a trade from Arizona, was re-signed and then bought out, and then re-signed again at a lower cap hit. He’s put up 28 points in spot duty as a depth defender, and he’s been just fine.

Stone has been the most consistently useful ex-Hitmen that the Flames have ever had.