Three of Calgary’s stars from the current generation don’t make the Flames’ all-time draft team, but the squad is loaded with Stanley Cup champions from 1989.
Jarome Iginla, the top player in franchise history, was a Dallas Stars first-round selection who nevertheless started his Hall of Fame career in Calgary. Miikka Kiprusoff, is in the books as the winningest goalie in Flames history, but he was a draft selection by San Jose. And Mark Giordano, Calgary’s active captain and all-around superhero, wasn’t drafted, period.
All that being said, Calgary’s all-time draft team is an imposing squad that would fill the net with the best of outfits. Imagine a top line of right winger Brett Hull, the game’s No. 4 goal-scorer of all-time, centred by Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk (traded for Iginla) and power forward supreme Gary Roberts. While they’d be blasting away at opposing goalies, Calgary second line would have to rank among the craftiest of trios ever assembled – Kent ‘Magic Man’ Nilsson between the silky smooth mites of Johnny Gaudreau and Theoren Fleury. Try to get the puck away from them.
There’s an interesting theme in Calgary’s fourth line – Tom Lysiak, Eric Vail and Willi Plett were all part if the Atlanta Flames organisation before the franchise moved to Calgary in 1980. Medicine Hat-boy Lysiak had been traded to Chicago by then. Just missing the 12-man forward unit were three active Flames – Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk. Do this list again in five years and they’d likely make it.
On the blue line, it makes sense that Al MacInnis and Gary Suter are side by side on the first pairing. They spent almost a decade together and were big parts of Calgary’s lone Stanley Cup run. Paul Reinhart and Brad Marsh were two more icons from the Atlanta draft years. Just missing the top six were T.J. Brodie, Steve Konroyd and shot-blocking specialist Robert Svehla.
Many fans still rank Mike Vernon ahead of Kiprusoff as Calgary’s best-ever goalie, especially with the credit of one Stanley Cup. The backup would be soon-to-be retired Ottawa stopper Craig Anderson. He was drafted by Calgary in 1999, but wasn’t signed and re-drafted two years later by Chicago.
Information includes draft year, draft position, amateur team and NHL stats (games-goals-assists-points; W-L-OTL, GAA, SP)
Joe Nieuwendyk – 1985, 27th overall, Cornell (ECAC) (1,257-564-562-1,126)
Kent Nilsson – 1976, 64th overall, Djurgarden (Swe.) (553-264-422-686)
Dan Quinn – 1983, 13th overall, Belleville (OHL) (805-266-419-685)
Tom Lysiak – 1973, 2nd overall, Medicine Hat (WHL) (919-292-551-843)
Gary Roberts – 1984, 12th overall, Ottawa (OHL) (1,224-438-472-910)
Johnny Gaudreau – 2011, 104th overall, Dubuque (USHL) (464-151-294-445)
Cory Stillman – 1992, 6th overall, Windsor (OHL) (1,025-278-449-727)
Eric Vail – 1973, 21st overall, Sudbury (OHL) (591-216-260-476)
Brett Hull – 1984, 117th overall, Penticton (BCJHL) (1,269-741-650-1,391)
Theoren Fleury – 1987, 166th overall, Moose Jaw (WHL) (1,084-455-633-1,088)
Hakan Loob – 1980, 181st overall, Farjestad (Swe.) (450-193-236-429)
Willi Plett – 1975, 80th overall, St. Catharines (OHL) (834-222-215-437)
Al MacInnis – 1981, 15th overall, Kitchener (OHL) (1,416-340-934-1,274)
Gary Suter – 1984, 180th overall, Wisconsin (WCHA) (1,145-203-641-844)
Paul Reinhart – 1979, 12th overall, Kitchener (OHL) (648-133-426-559)
Derek Morris – 1996, 13th overall, Regina (WHL) (1,107-92-332-424)
Dion Phaneuf – 2003, 9th overall, Red Deer (WHL) (1,048-137-357-494)
Brad Marsh – 1978, 11th overall, London (OHL) (1,086-23-175-198)
Mike Vernon – 1981, 56th overall, Calgary (WHL) (385-274-92, 3.00, .889)
Craig Anderson – 1999, 77th overall, Guelph (OHL) (289-251-69, 2.84, .913)