This coming May is the 40th anniversary of the Atlanta Flames moving to Calgary. To commemorate this occasion, we’re counting down the Top 40 Calgary Flames in history.
Coming in at #37 is one of the most highly touted prospects in franchise history, Dion Phaneuf.
Dion Phaneuf was a heck of a junior player. The pride of the Red Deer Rebels, he was the ninth overall selection (by the Flames) in the 2003 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut following the 2004-05 lockout, making the team out of camp and opening a ton of eyes with his offensive prowess and big hits.
He was a Calder Trophy finalist as a rookie, finishing third in voting behind Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Heck, he was eighth in Norris Trophy voting as a rookie and set a Flames rookie record for goals by a blueliner. His sophomore season he finished sixth in Norris voting. His third season he finished second in Norris voting and was an NHL First Team All-Star.
But Phaneuf’s style didn’t fit entirely well with the two-way hockey Darryl Sutter wanted his team to play with. The stylistic and culture clash eventually led to a rushed mid-season trade, as Phaneuf was shipped off to Toronto for – all due respect – a bunch of spare parts and Matt Stajan.
Phaneuf was an excellent offensive defender, but he didn’t quite develop into the total package the Flames had imagined that he would. But while he was with the Flames, he was one of the most impressive producers from the blueline in the NHL.
He comes in at #37 by way of several seasons of superb play in his early 20s.
Arrival: Selected in the first round, 9th overall, in the 2003 NHL Draft (June 21, 2003)
Departure: Traded with Frederik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie to Toronto for Matt Stajan, Ian White, Jamal Mayers and Niklas Hagman (January 31, 2010)
Awards: 2007 NHL First Team All-Star