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Looking back at the Calgary Flames in the 1980s

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
7 months ago
The Calgary Flames franchise has a long, fascinating history. From their origins as an expansion team in Georgia in 1972 to their glory days in the 1980s to present day, the Flames have played a lot of hockey and many players have had tremendous careers wearing the Flaming C (and the Flaming A).
As we prepare for the 2023-24 season, we thought we’d look back at the Flames’ history decade-by-decade. We now turn our attention to the whirlwind 1980s, which saw the team move to Canada… and enjoy a lot of success on the ice.

The 1980s, at a glance

The Flames went 401-284-120 and earned 922 points over 802 games played during the 1980s. Their points percentage over the decade was sixth overall in the NHL. The Flames relocated to Calgary from Atlanta in May 1980.
The Flames made the playoffs in every single year of the 1980s. They won their first playoff round in 1981, eventually advancing to the third round. They went on another run in 1986, making it to the Stanley Cup Final in 1986. They returned to the Stanley Cup Final in 1989, closing out the decade with a championship parade.

Individual achievements

120 skaters and 11 goaltenders played at least one game for the Flames during the 1980s.
Award Winners:
  • Lanny McDonald – Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (1983), Second Team All-Star (RW) (1983), King Clancy Memorial Trophy (1988)
  • Hakan Loob – All-Rookie Team (RW) (1984), First Team All-Star (RW) (1988)
  • Jamie Macoun – All-Rookie Team (D) (1984)
  • Gary Suter – Calder Memorial Trophy (1986), All-Rookie Team (D) (1986), Second Team All-Star (D) (1988)
  • Joe Mullen – Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1987 & 1989), First Team All-Star (RW) (1989)
  • Al MacInnis – Second Team All-Star (D) (1987 & 1989), Conn Smythe Trophy (1989)
  • Joe Nieuwendyk – Calder Memorial Trophy (1988), All-Rookie Team (F) (1988),
  • Brad McCrimmon – Second Team All-Star (D) (1988)
  • Mike Vernon – Second Team All-Star (G) (1989)
(All of these players were on the roster at the same time.)
All-Star Game Representatives:
  • 1980: Kent Nilsson
  • 1981: Kent Nilsson
  • 1982: Pekka Rautakallio
  • 1983: Lanny McDonald
  • 1984: Lanny McDonald
  • 1985: Al MacInnis and Paul Reinhart
  • 1986: Gary Suter
  • 1988: Al MacInnis, Brad McCrimmon, Gary Suter, Joe Nieuwendyk and Mike Vernon
  • 1989: Joe Mullen, Gary Suter, Joe Nieuwendyk and Mike Vernon
Statistical Leaders:
  • Games (skaters): Jim Peplinski, 705
  • Goals: Lanny McDonald, 215
  • Assists: Al MacInnis, 348
  • Points: Kent Nilsson, 521
  • Penalty Minutes: Tim Hunter, 1,942
  • Game-Winning Goals: Joe Mullen, 30
  • Games (goalies): Reggie Lemelin, 303
  • Wins: Reggie Lemelin, 136
  • Shutouts: Reggie Lemelin, 6

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