Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
6 Calgary Flames players scored their first NHL goals in 2023
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
We’re in the waning days of 2023, friends, and it’s worth reflecting on what the year represented for the Calgary Flames. In a macro sense, the year has been a challenge for the club, but if you focus on some of the smaller pieces, there were a lot of cool moments to look back on.
Six different players scored their first NHL goals with the Flames during the past calendar year.
A college free agent signing way back in 2021, Duehr scored his first goal on Jan. 12 on the road against the St. Louis Blues. Late in the second period, with the score deadlocked at 0-0, Duehr finished off a feed from Nazem Kadri on an odd-man rush.
The Flames’ first-round selection back in 2019, Pelletier scored his first goal on Feb. 11 on the road against the Buffalo Sabres. With the Flames down 2-0 early in the second period, Pelletier used his speed and skill to get open for a pass from Kadri and scored off the rush.
The Flames’ first-round selection back in 2021, Coronato scored his first goal on Oct. 14 on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins. On a Flames power play late in the second period (and the game tied 0-0), Coronato leaned into a one-timer feed from Elias Lindholm.
The Flames’ first-round selection back in 2020, Zary is the only Flame to score his first NHL goal on home ice this year. His initial lamp-lighter came in his NHL debut on Nov. 1 against Dallas, where he opened the scoring early in the first period, jumping on a rebound off an initial shot from Chris Tanev. (Kadri received a secondary assist.)
The Flames’ fourth-round pick in 2018, Pospisil scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game on the road in Seattle on Nov. 4. With the Flames trailing 1-0 midway through the first period, Pospisil was the second Flame to take a swipe at a rebound off an initial rush scoring chance by Dillon Dube – Kadri took the first swipe at it, and his rebound was bonked in by Pospisil.
A free agent signing back in 2021, DeSimone scored his first NHL goal on the road in Anaheim on Dec. 21. With the game tied 0-0 early in the first period, he received a pass from Zary at the point and beat Anaheim’s Lukas Dostal with a point shot.
He became the fourth-oldest player in Flames history to score their first NHL with the franchise, trailing Sergei Makarov, Jiri Hrdina and Pavel Torgaev, potting his first at the age of 29 years and 30 days.
Some weird trivia: every first-time goal in 2023 was assisted by either Kadri or Lindholm.
Is six first-time goal-scorers a lot in one year? Based on Flames franchise history, yes. It’s tied with 2002 and 2018 for the most first-time goal-scorers in the same calendar year dating back to 2000.
For the curious, the first-timers in 2002 and 2018:
- 2002: Steve Montador, Blair Betts, Chuck Kobasew, Micki Dupont, Jordan Leopold and Mathias Johansson
- 2018: Brett Kulak, Spencer Foo, Juuso Valimaki, Dillon Dube, Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson
Which of the six first-time NHL goals scored by Flames players in 2023 was your favourite? Let us know in the comments!
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