Top 50 Flames of All Time: #39 Dan Bouchard
Photo credit:Graphic by Mike Gould
By Ryan Pike6 months ago
Pop quiz: ever see the gigantic old school Flames goalie mask hanging over the club entrance near the Saddledome parkade? The mask is actually Dan Bouchard’s, and the design is one of the few references to the Atlanta Flames found at the ‘Dome these days.
What you might not know is that Bouchard was the first really good goaltender the Flames had after expansion, and that lands him at #39 on our list.
A product of Val-d’Or, Quebec, Bouchard was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in 1970 but was nabbed by the fledgling Atlanta Flames in the 1972 expansion draft. Considered a pretty solid AHL goaltender at the time, the hope was the 21-year-old could flourish with more of an opportunity in the Flames system.
Hey, guess what, that’s basically what happened.
After a pretty uneven rookie season behind a pretty uneven team – and yet somehow he got Calder votes – Bouchard really emerged as a steady (and occasionally very good) goaltender starting with his second season. He spent eight full seasons (and part of a ninth) with the Flames organization, and he posted more wins than losses in six of them. Considering the patchwork team in front of him for much of that tenure, that’s impressive.
Bouchard received Hart votes in 1978-79 and he matured over time as the team did. His job got easier, mind you, as Cliff Fletcher’s drafting began to bear fruit towards the later stages of the Flames’ time in Atlanta, but Bouchard was full marks and gave his team a chance to win on most nights.
But eventually drafting caught up to Bouchard in net, too. The Flames selected Pat Riggin in 1979, and his rookie performance as Bouchard’s back-up suggested that some combination of him or Reggie Lemelin would be the future in net for the Flames. (Spoiler: it ended up being Lemelin, and eventually Mike Vernon a few years after that.) So the Flames moved to Calgary in 1980, and midway through their first season they sent Bouchard to the Quebec Nordiques in exchange for toolsy two-way forward Jamie Hislop. Bouchard played five more NHL seasons split between Quebec and Winnipeg before hanging up his pads.
Bouchard gave the Flames really steady goaltending as the team was growing and maturing, and when they had better (and younger) options than him in net, they flipped him for a really useful player in Hislop.
Top 50 Flames of All Time
Honourable mentions | #50 Brad Treliving | #49 Sonia Scurfield | #48 Curtis Glencross | #47 Colin Patterson | #46 Jiri Hudler | #45 Jim Peplinski | #44 Jim “Bearcat” Murray | #43 Nelson Skalbania | #42 Dion Phaneuf | #41 Reggie Lemelin | #40 Joel Otto | #39 Dan Bouchard
More from FlamesNation
Recent articles from Ryan Pike