The Starting Six series comes to you to dive into the best player at each position all-time for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the Calgary Flames all-time lineup.
Starting Six: Calgary Flames All-Time Lineup
Since their move from Atlanta to Calgary in 1980 many great players have had the honour of suiting up for the Flames. The Flames organization has seen great success in the 1980’s culminating in the franchise’s lone Stanley Cup championship in 1989. After years of mediocrity the Flames had a magical run to the Cup Final in 2004 only to lose in a thrilling seven game series. With that in mind players from that team must be included in constructing Calgary’s all-time roster.
Centre: Joe Nieuwendyk (1986-1995)
Nieuwendyk scored 30+ goals six times, eclipsing both the 40 and 50 goal mark twice. He was gifted with a set of soft hands and was dominant at both ends of the rink. He garnered a reputation as an extremely hard worker. His deceptive speed and long reach gave opposing defenders fits on a nightly basis.
During Calgary’s Stanley Cup run in 1989, Nieuwendyk put up 14 points, 10 of them goals, in 22 games while playing on one of the more dominant lines in Flames history. His assist on Lanny McDonald’s cup-clinching goal in game six of the 1989 Finals is one of the most iconic plays in all of hockey.
Left Wing: Gary Roberts (1986-1996)
Roberts started his Flames career as a grinder (he hit 200+ penalty minutes five times in his career) but starting in 1988-89 he turned into a legitimate power forward, ending up playing on a line with Håkan Loob & Joe Nieuwendyk.
Roberts was an integral part of the Flames run to the 1989 Stanley Cup Championship. He recorded 12 points in 22 games (five goals, seven assists). In club stats he’s ranked 10th in games played (585), fourth in goals (257), eighth in points (505), second in penalty minutes (1,736), and is second in hat tricks scored.
Right Wing: Jarome Iginla (1997-2013)
Iginla spent the majority of his career in Calgary and quickly became a fan favourite. He was a vital piece to the Flames return to respectability in the mid 2000’s. After being traded from the Dallas Stars to the Flames in the late 90’s Iginla would come to amaze fans with his electric shot and his rugged style of play. At the start of the 2003-04 season Iginla was named the Flames 18th captain, a role he held until being traded in the 2012-13 season.
Along with Craig Conroy and Martin Gelinas, Iginla was part of the top line that led Calgary on its magical run to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals. He recorded his 500th goal and 1,000th point with the Flames. He left Calgary in 2012-13 as the all time leader in games played, goals, and points. Iginla is one of the all time great Calgary Flames. His jersey can still be seen in the C of Red at the Saddledome.
Left Defence: Mark Giordano (2007-Present)
In just 10 seasons Giordano has become a franchise icon in Calgary. His ability as a solid two-way defenceman has been a steady force on the Flames blueline since the 2006-07 season. Like a fine wine, with each passing year Giordano seems to get better. He brings a physical element that’s been missed since the early days of Dion Phaneuf. He’s been Calgary’s top scoring blue liner multiple times and has been praised by his coaches for his tremendous work ethic.
While he won’t light up the score sheet every night its Giordano’s consistency that gets him on this list. He battles every night and whenever he is in the lineup the Flames have a shot to win. He’s respected amongst his peers, coaches, and fans alike. On September 20, 2013 he would follow Jarome Iginla as captain of the Flames.
Right Defence: Al MacInnis (1984-1994)
From the time he first stepped on the ice with Calgary, it was easy to see that the Flames had a future hall of famer on there hands with MacInnis.
He was a solid defender in his own zone, but his real talent was in the offensive zone. Calgary’s powerplay started and ended with him. His booming shot was feared league-wide. In 803 games played as a Flame he recorded 213 goals, 609 assists, and 822 points. He is the all time leading scorer for defenceman in Flames history.
His play in the 1989 playoffs was a huge reason to why Calgary ended up as Stanley Cup Champions. In 22 games he put up seven goals and 24 assists for 31 points which led all players en route to the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.
Goalie: Miikka Kiprusoff (2004-2013)
Little did Flames fans know that when their team acquired Kiprusoff in the 2003-04 season that they would get a future star goalie. Well that’s exactly what they got. The man that fans quickly named “Kipper” would go on to become a vital part of Calgary’s 2004 Stanley Cup run. In the ’04 playoffs Kipper would go 15-11 with a goals-against-average of 1.85 and a save percentage of .928, falling just one win shy of the Stanley Cup.
For the next eight years the Flames had a goalie that would start 70 games in seven straight seasons and win 35+ games in every year except 2013, his last with the club. Kiprusoff was well-known for his athleticism, poise, and big time saves. He won the Vezina Trophy as the leagues top goalie in 2005-06 when he posted an incredible 42 wins, 2.07 goals-against-average, and .923 save percentage. He retired as the Flames leader in wins, saves, save percentage, goals-against-average, and shutouts.