Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
WATCH: Kevin Rooney scores long-awaited first Flames goal against his former team
By Mike Gould12 days ago
It took more than 18 months, but Kevin Rooney finally scored his first goal as a member of the Calgary Flames against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
The former Devil jammed the puck past New Jersey goaltender Vitek Vanecek from close range early in the third period of Thursday’s contest at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
Rooney, 30, missed the first half of the 2023–24 regular season while recovering from shoulder surgery and had played in just one NHL game this year before the game against the Devils.
Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev picked up the helpers on Rooney’s first goal with the Flames (and 25th in the National Hockey League).
The Flames originally signed Rooney to a two-year, $1.3 million AAV contract on July 13, 2022, shortly after the club was notified that star winger Johnny Gaudreau would not be signing another contract in Calgary.
Rooney struggled to adjust under head coach Darryl Sutter in his first season with the Flames organization, collecting one single assist in 17 NHL games with the team before being placed on waivers and assigned to the American Hockey League.
In 51 games with the Calgary Wranglers to finish the 2022–23 season, Rooney racked up five goals and 17 points. He added three assists in nine games with the Wranglers during the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Rooney and Jakob Pelletier both started the 2023–24 season recovering from shoulder injuries almost simultaneously, with both being assigned to the Wranglers last month to get back up to speed. Both players are now back up with the Flames.
Through 229 career NHL games over parts of eight seasons with the Flames, New York Rangers, and Devils (with whom he started his career in 2016–17), Rooney has collected 25 goals and 47 points. He’s also appeared in 15 career playoff games, all with the Rangers in 2022.
The Flames currently lead the Devils by a 4–2 score late in the third period of Thursday’s game in New Jersey.
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