Top 10 Best Calgary Flames Players of All Time

Top 10 Best Calgary Flames Players of All Time

The Calgary Flames have been around since the 1972-1973 season when they debuted as the Atlanta Flames. It was not until the 1980-1981 season that they changed their name to the well-known and beloved Calgary Flames. Listed below are the top Calgary Flames players to ever take up a stick.

Who Are the Best Calgary Flames Hockey Players of All Time?

  1. Jarome Iginla
  2. Al MacInnis
  3. Miikka Kiprusoff
  4. Mark Giordano
  5. Theoren Fleury
  6. Joe Nieuwendyk
  7. Johnny Gaudreau
  8. Gary Suter
  9. Gary Roberts
  10. Mikael Backlund

1. Jarome Iginla

  • Art Ross Trophy
  • King Clancy Memorial Trophy
  • Ted Lindsay Award
  • Three-time First NHL All-Star Team
  • Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020

Jarome Iginla is the best and most decorated Flames player of all time. He has 1219 games played, 525 goals, 570 assists, and 1095 points. Over his long career, he remained consistent by putting up fantastic averages of 0.431 goals per game, 0.468 assists per game, and 0.898 points per game. Additionally, he holds one of the highest faceoffs win percentages of any other Coyote at 52.14%.

Iginla holds a Flames’ record for games played, goals made, points, goals created, even strength goals, power play goals, game-winning goals, shots, adjusted goals, adjusted assists, adjusted points, adjusted goals created, total goals on-ice against, offensive point shares, and overall point shares. Yes, he holds a Flames record in 16 different categories. Iginla played as a right-wing forward for the Flames from 1996 to 2013.

2. Al MacInnis

  • Conn Smythe Trophy
  • Four-time First NHL All-Star Team
  • Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007
  • 1989 Stanley Cup Champion

It would be incredibly difficult to outshine Al MacInnis as the second-greatest Calgary Flame of all time. MacInnis was the MVP of the playoffs when the Flames won the Stanley Cup in the 1988-1989 season. Additionally, he made the NHL First and Second Teams five times: one more time than Iginla. Furthermore, MacInnis and Iginla share the Flames' record for most All-Star game appearances.

In addition to the impressive rap sheet above, MacInnis holds a Flames’ record in assists, plus/minus, total foals on-ice for, and power play goals on-ice for. He played as a defenseman for the Flames from 1981 to 1994, leaving them for the St. Louis Blues in 1995. He played 13 years for the Flames and ten years for the Blues, retiring in 2004. He was the first Calgary Flame to receive the honor of having his number retired.

3. Miikka Kiprusoff

  • Vezina Trophy winner
  • William M. Jennings Trophy winner
  • 2005-2006 NHL First All-Star Team
  • 2007 All-Star Game selection

Miikka Kiprusoff was the best goalie to ever wear the Flames jersey. It is often difficult to place goaltenders high on lists involving all-time hockey greats because they do not get the luxury of scoring goals and making assists. However, Kiprusoff was too good to be ignored. He holds a Flames’ record in wins (305), loses (195), shots against (16018), saves (14631), save percentage (0.913), goals against average (2.46), shutouts (41), minutes (33779), and goalie point shares (104.6).

Kiprusoff played with the Flames from 2003 to 2013, only playing with them for nine seasons. He made that much history in such little time, definitely making his home country of Finland proud. His Flames record of most wins all time probably sets him apart more than anything else.

4. Mark Giordano

  • James Norris Memorial Trophy
  • NHL First Team All-Star
  • Three-time All-Star Game selection

Mark Giordano was the second best defenseman in Calgary history. Giordano played as a defenseman from 2006 to 2021, often jumping from team to team. He made 143 goals, 366 assists, and 509 points over 949 games played. Though he only put up 0.151 goals per game, 0.386 assists per game, and 0.536 points per game, those are impressive stats for a defenseman.

Additionally, Giordano holds a Flames’ record in defensive point shares at 54.6. Therefore, while he did a decent job on the offensive end, he was stellar on defense. The next person to come close to his defensive skill was Al MacInnis, who has an overall defensive point share score of 47.5.

5. Theoren Fleury

  • 1994-1995 NHL Second All-Star Team
  • Seven-time All-Star Game selection
  • 1989 Stanley Cup Champion

Theoren Fleury was a right-wing forward who played for the Flames from 1988 to 1999. He scored 364 goals and made 466 assists for a total of 830 points. He had very good averages per game, with 0.460 goals per game, 0.589 assists per game, and 1.049 points per game. He clocked a 13.6% shot accuracy and won 55.15% of his faceoffs: a better faceoffs win percentage than any other Flames player.

After his nine-season stint with the Flames, Fleury played for Colorado, New York, and Chicago until retiring in 2003. Fleury holds a Flames’ record in short-handed goals with 28. Fleury also excelled in short-handed goals, meaning that he could still score even when his team was outnumbered due to one or more of his teammates being in the penalty box.

6. Joe Nieuwendyk

  • Calder Memorial Trophy winner
  • NHL All-Rookie Team
  • Four All-Star Game Selections
  • Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011

Joe Nieuwendyk played with the Flames as a center from 1985 to 1995. He scored more goals with the Flames than made assists. In his 577 games, Nieuwendyk had 314 goals, 302 assists, and 616 points. As one of the most effective players on the team, Nieuwendyk averaged 0.544 goals per game, 0.523 assists per game, and 1.068 points per game. Therefore, he was the means of scoring a point in every game he played.

Nieuwendyk was also incredibly accurate with his shots. He boasted a 20.3% shot accuracy over 1549 shots taken. Though he did not play with the Flames for long, Nieuwendyk showed exceptional skill by averaging one point per game and making more than 20% of his shots. Additionally, he helped the Flames win their only NHL Championship in the 1988-1989 season.

7. Johnny Gaudreau

  • Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner
  • NHL All-Rookie Team
  • Seven-time NHL All-Star Game selection

Johnny Gaudreaus is the most recent legend to wear a Calgary Flames jersey. Gaudreau made his NHL debut in 2010 with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. By 2013, he was with the Calgary Flames and remained with them until 2022. 

During his 602 games played with the Calgary Flames, Gaudreau scored 210 goals and made 399 assists for a total of 609 points. He kept up impressive averages of 0.349 goals per game, 0.663 assists per game, and 1.012 points per game.

Gaudreau deserves his placement as seven on this list due to his strong showing in such a short time with the Flames. He was selected to go to the All-Star game six times during his nine years. Additionally, he made the NHL All-Rookie Team and NHL first team All-Star as a left-wing forward. In 2022, Gaudreau signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets, shocking the hockey world. 

8. Gary Suter

  • Calder Memorial Trophy
  • NHL All-Rookie Team
  • Four-time NHL All-Star Game selection

Gary Suter was the best defenseman to play for Calgary in the 1980s and early 90s. He excelled as a rookie, even making the NHL All-Rookie Team. He was lockdown on defense and an excellent support player. Suter played 617 games with the Flames, having an overall 128 goals, 436 assists, and 564 total points. This is an impressive feat, seeing as Suter played as a defenseman.

In fact, Suter was such a high scorer that he retired only 45 points behind Gaudreau, and Gaudreau was a forward. However, Suter’s ability to create goals through assists set him apart more than anything else. With an average of 0.707 assists per game, Suter set his teammates up with goals better than almost any other Flames player in history.

9. Gary Roberts

  • Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
  • Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award
  • Three-time NHL All-Star Game selection
  • 1989 Stanley Cup Champion

Gary Roberts was a great forward who played for Calgary for almost a decade. In 585 games with the Flames, Roberts made 257 goals, 248 assists, and scored 505 points. Additionally, Roberts was a phenomenal leader and supported the community, evidenced by his receiving the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy and the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award. Furthermore, Roberts averaged a respectable 0.439 goals per game, 0.424 assists per game, and 0.863 points per game, with a 20.5% shot accuracy.

Though the Canadian forward may not have been outstanding, he put up consistent numbers that helped his team reach victory in the NHL National Championship. Roberts is also one of the older players on this list. He joined the Flames back in 1986 and played with them until the Carolina Hurricanes recruited him in 1996.

10. Mikael Backlund

  • Seven-time IIHF World Championship medalist
  • J. R. "Bud" McCaig Award winner
  • Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award winner
  • Sportsnet 3 Star Cup winner

Swedish forward Mikael Backlund was a pivotal part of the Flames lineup in the 2000s and 2010s. He has played 908 games with the Flames, scored 185 goals, made 307 assists, and racked up 492 points. Born in the year the Flames took the Stanley Cup home, 1989, Backlund began his hockey career in 2003 at the tender age of 14 with the Swedish team Västerås IK. 

In 2008, Backlund found the Flames and jumped around from NHL teams to Swedish teams until remaining with the Flames from the 2013-2014 season to the 2022-2023 season. Backlund’s impressive longevity and early start to his career justify his placement on this list of best Calgary Flames players. He has an impressive number of World Championship wins with Team Sweden and yet has still played 15 seasons with the Flames.  

Honorable Mentions

  • Dan Bouchard
  • Mike Vernon
  • Réjean Lemelin
  • Sean Monahan
  • Håkan Loob
  • Joel Otto
  • Jim Peplinski
  • Lanny McDonald
  • Joe Mullen
  • Paul Reinhart

FAQ

Who is the best Calgary Flames goalie of all time?

Miikka Kiprusoff is the best Calgary Flames goalie of all time. He holds a Flames’ record in wins (305), shots against (16018), saves (14631), save percentage (0.913), goals against average (2.46), shutouts (41), minutes (33779), and goalie point shares (104.6). Additionally, he has more Sportsnet 3 Star Cups than any player on the Flames other than Iginla and Fleury.

Who is the best Calgary Flames forward of all time?

Jarome Iginla is the best Calgary Flames forward of all time. He has more records, awards, and achievements than we can count. He has six Sportsnet 3 Star Cups, is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and had his number retired by the Calgary Flames. He leads the Flames in 16 different stat categories, including goals, points, and offensive point shares.

Who is the best Calgary Flames defenseman of all time?

Al MacInnis is the best Calgary Flames defenseman of all time. He is tied with Iginla and Fleury for All-Star game appearances at six and five NHL first and second team All-Star picks. He was the first to have his number retired by the Flames and won playoff MVP in the season the Flames brought home the Stanley Cup.