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A look back at some of the best draft picks in Flames' history

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Since the franchise arrived in Calgary, the names of those drafted from 1980 on range from the famous to the forgotten.

Many of the storied players in franchise annals arrived from different avenues. Lanny McDonald, Miikka Kiprusoff, Jarome Iginla, Joe Mullen, Doug Gilmour, for instance, were acquired via trade. Mark Giordano and Joel Otto, as examples, came via the free-agency route. Kent Nilsson, the Magic Man, was chosen from the Jets when Winnipeg was one of those franchises gaining admittance into the NHL from the World Hockey Association.

But nuggets of gold, hand-picked by team scouts, helped drive the bus, too.

In players the calibre of Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, TJ Brodie and Matthew Tkachuk, the current crop of in-house draftees on the Calgary roster is a rich one.

Some years, naturally, proved to be more successful than others, certain positions more liberally stocked, making some choices hard, others not nearly so taxing.

Here, then, is a sampling of the the most successful graduates, position by position, selected by the Flames at the annual draft down through the years:

NOTE: Players picked after franchise re-location to Calgary only. Selections are based on position individual played for Flames.



Mike Vernon (1982-83 to 1983-84, 1985-86 to 1993-94, 2000-2001 to 2001-2002)

Selected 56th in 1981

526 GP, 29,650 MP, 262 W, 3.26 GAA, 13 SO

The Calgary kid backstopped the Flames to two Stanley Cup Final runs. Compiled an amazing 53-11-5 record (37-6-5 in regular-season, 16-5 in playoffs) during '88-89 championship campaign. Second in virtual every career franchise department.


Trevor Kidd (1991-92 to 1996-97)

Selected 11th in 1990

178 GP, 9,746 MP, 72W W, 2.83 GAA, 10 SO

A two-time World Junior gold medalist, tagged to succeed Mike Vernon as the future starter when drafted. Compiled a 72-66-26 regular-season record with a 2.83 GAA and 11 shutouts in 178 career appearances wearing the Flaming C.



Al MacInnis (1981-82 to 1993-94)

Selected 15th in 1981

803 GP, 213 G, 822 Pts, 944 PIM

Consensus greatest defenceman in organization's history. Third in career regular season scoring (822 points) and games played (803). Conn Smythe Trophy winner in '89 after leading the postseason in scoring at 31 points. Among his seven goals were five via the powerplay and four game winners. Only one of four at the position in league history to reach the 100-point plateau (103 in '90-91). The first inductee honoured in the Forever a Flame program.

Gary Suter (1985-86 to 1993-94)

Selected 180th in 1984

617 GP, 128 G, 565 Pts, 872 PIM

Perfect PP point foil to MacInnis during Calgary's glory years. Powerful skating, puck-moving defenceman ranks fifth in club scoring annals (522) points. Calder Trophy recipient in 1986. Second Team All Star in 88, after compiling 91 points, including 70 assists.


Dion Phaneuf (2005-2006 to 2009-2010)

Selected ninth in 2003

378 GP, 75 G, 228 Pts, 522 PIM

Ferocious, molar-loosening open-ice hitter who played four and a half seasons in Calgary. Calder Trophy finalist in 2006 (finishing third in club scoring at 49 points), two years later a Top 3 in balloting for the Norris Trophy.

TJ Brodie (2010-2011 to present)

Selected 114th in 2008

418 GP, 31 G, 181 Pts, 116 PIM

Sublime skater entering his sixth season as a Flame. A fourth round steal in the 2011 draft. Partnering with captain Mark Giordano, they formed the team's No. 1 defence pairing for a couple of seasons. Tallied a career-high 45 points in 2015-16.



Joe Nieuwendyk (1986-87 to 1994-95)

Selected 27th overall in 

577 GP, 314 G, 616 Pts, 330 PIM

Fourth in franchise career points (616) and third in goals (314). Notched 51 goals over his Calder Trophy-winning rookie campaign, the second highest in league history to that time. Scored 10 playoff goals during Calgary's 22 games leading to the '89 Stanley Cup title. Led team in scoring through '89-90 with 95 points. Honoured in the Former a Flame program.

Second Team

Robert Reichel (1990-91 to 1996-97)

Selected 70th in 1989

425 GP, 153 G, 354 Pts, 217 PIM

Czech-born centre who scored 153 goals and counted 354 points in 425 career games as a Flame after arriving from HV Litvinov. Twice a 40-goal scorer for the club, he led the team in points in '93-94, with 93.



Gary Roberts (1986-87 to 1995-96)

Selected 12th in 1984

585 GP, 257 G, 505 Pts, 1,736 PIM

Could produce offensively, would fight, played with edge. Highest scoring left winger in Flames' history. Eighth on the franchise scoring list (505 points) and second in PIM (1,736). Set single-season career highs in goals (53) and points (90) to lead team in scoring in '91-92. Those 53 goals are the second most by any Calgary player in one year.


Johnny Gaudreau (2013-2014 to present)

Selected 104th in 2011

232 GP, 73 G, 168 Pts, 38 PIM

Captured the imagination of fans with a 24-goal, 64-point Calder-nominated 2014-2015 season. All-Rookie Team selection. Has led club in scoring the past two years. Among the current game's most electrifying impresarios. Has participated in three All-Star Games in his three NHL seasons.



Theoren Fleury (1988-89 to 1998-99)

Selected 166th in 1987

791 GP, 364 G, 830 Pts, 1,339 PIM

Feisty, give-no-quarter centreman covered to right wing. Second in career franchise scoring (830 points) and goals (364). Among the most popular players to ever don the colours. Led Flames in scoring six times. Scored 52 goals over the '90-91 campaign. Named to the '94-95 second All-Star Team. Part of '89 Stanley Cup team as a rookie, contributing 11 points in 22 playoff games. Set club record for points in a playoff series (14) vs. San Jose in '95.


Hakan Loob (1983-84 to 1988-89)

Selected 181st in 1980

450 GP, 193 G, 429 Pts, 189 PIM

Underrated, superb all-around winger. Still the only Swedish-born player to reach the magical 50-goal plateau over an NHL season - in '87-88. Twelfth in franchise scoring (429 points) despite playing in only 425 games. Second All-Star Team selection for '87-88, All-Rookie Team pick for '83-84.

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