10 Greatest Calgary Flames of the Decade
The Calgary Flames have experienced their share of ups and downs since the turn of the millennium. However, through the good, the bad, and the ugly, certain Flames have burned brighter than others.
Some of these choices were tricky, but it goes to show the talent that has passed through the Stampede City the past 10 seasons.
Please keep in mind that I am ranking players based on their contributions as Flames and what is still to come, not their success playing for other clubs.
The Honorable Mentions
Let's do things against the grain here a little bit. I'm going to throw in the honorable mentions to begin these rankings, not at the end, because I'm one of those types that like to save the best for last.
As I thought of my rankings, it was difficult to decide if some players deserved Top 10 recognition or not.
When it all boiled down to it, Valeri Bure, Kristian Huselius, Shean Donovan, Chris Drury, and Marc Savard did not make the cut, in no particular order.
Most of them were underachievers or one-season wonders in their time with the Flames, and I felt they didn't warrant consideration over the other ten men on this list.
Nonetheless, let's hear a round of applause for those five.
10) Alex Tanguay
Fans in Calgary had a hard time appreciating Tanguay, labeling him as an underachiever, especially considering the high expectations that were placed on him as a linemate for Jarome Iginla after being acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in June 2006.
However, Tanguay was one of the most productive Flames of the decade, racking up 100+ assists in two seasons (including playoffs) and helping Iginla reach 50 goals for the second time in his career.
His playmaking abilities helped elevate the Flames from 27th to 7th in league offense in just one season.
9) Jay Bouwmeester
The only reason J-Bo is not higher on this list is because he hasn't even completed one season for Calgary, but a player of this magnitude is hard to exclude.
Bouwmeester is by far the best skater and smoothest puck-mover among any of the Flames defensemen over the past decade, and has already helped transform this defense and entire team into one of the NHL's elite.
He is capable of producing 50 points, and sits among the league leaders in plus/minus and ice time.
Still 26 years old and in town for five more years, No. 4, barring injury or trade, will undoubtedly be among the top in the next decade as well.
What we have seen from him so far on the ice validates why he is one of the best Flames over the past 10 years.
8) Mike Cammalleri
Much like Tanguay (the player involved in the deal that landed him), Cammalleri's stint in Calgary was short and sweet.
The 5'9" winger was brought in during the 2008 offseason to add more firepower to the Flames offense.
That's sure what they got.
Cammalleri was the first Flame since 1999-2000 to lead the team in goals who didn't wear No. 12 on his back. Maybe No. 13 isn't so unlucky? He scored 39 goals for 82 points that single season.
Things would have gone peachy for Mike and the organization if only it weren't for salary issues, the arrival of Olli Jokinen, and a lackluster playoff performance highlighted by a dirty shot at Martin Havlat. The Olli vs. Cammi debate rages on to this day.
7) Martin Gelinas
Personally, I find it impossible not to place this man on my list. This is all old news for most of you, but let me remind you again what he meant to this organization.
An experienced veteran nearing the end of his career, Gelinas' stay in Calgary was not highlighted by his solid yet unspectacular regular season production.
His legacy in Cowtown and place in any Flames fan's heart is cemented by his sensational clutch performances during the 2004 playoffs.
Marty scored three series-winning goals for the Flames that spring, including two in overtime, to defeat the top 3 seeds in Western Conference (Vancouver, Detroit, and San Jose, in chronological order).
He is also forever tied in the minds of us faithful to the "Phantom Goal" in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning (link below).
Had it counted, that goal would have been his fourth series-winning goal that post-season. Whether or not it went in is another topic, but let me tell you, that video still breaks my heart to this day.
6) Daymond Langkow
This picture more or less sums up Daymond Langkow's career as a member of the Calgary Flames.
Daymond Langkow has never been the flashiest player and has rarely been in the spotlight, but his gritty style of play has made him one of the most consistent Flames of the decade.
Collecting "garbage goals" like rebounds and deflections, playing hard on the forecheck, and knowing the right place at the right time has resulted in 268 points and two 30-goal seasons for the Albertan since he joined the team after the lockout.
This steady production and solid playoff performance is the reason why Daymond Langkow belongs here on this list.
Currently he centers a dangerous second line for the Flames, helping take pressure off of Iginla and Jokinen.
Interestingly enough, Langkow was actually taken six picks before Iginla in the first round of the 1995 Draft.
5) Dion Phaneuf
I know some of you will not like this choice, but when you look at the facts it's hard to deny that Phaneuf has been one of the better Flames in this past decade in terms of what he's brought to this club. Let the haters hate.
Since coming into the league in 2005, Dion Phaneuf has scored 220 points in 354 career games to date. 45 goals have come on the powerplay.
Even though his defensive play is often criticized, Dion Phaneuf is a career plus-+19.
He is arguably more infamous for the huge hits that he throws nearly every game.
The 6'3" blueliner is an intimidating player for opposing forwards whenever he is on the ice, having filled his own highlight reel of hard body checks in four-and-a-bit NHL seasons and counting.
His best years are still to come, and hopefully he will continue to be part of Calgary's impressive defensive unit for a while.
4) Craig Conroy
Craig Conroy was brought over from the St. Louis Blues late in 2001, and has belonged in Calgary ever since.
In his first full season as a Flame and captain of the team at the time, Conroy played center on the top line alongside a young Jarome Iginla, and helped him significantly en route to the emerging star's trophy season.
That same chemistry helped propel the Flames to the Cup Finals in 2004.
One of the main reasons I felt Craig Conroy deserved such a high ranking is because he was largely responsible for turning our current captain into a superstar.
It was hard to see Connie leave to play for a season-and-a-half in Los Angeles, but Darryl Sutter brought the veteran back prior to the 2007 trade deadline.
Ever since, Conroy has been an important role player in the Flames line-up, producing points, playing hard up front, and providing leadership and it looks as though the merry fan favourite is here to stay until he hangs up the skates.
3) Robyn Regehr
A tough hitter and one of the best shut-down defensemen in the NHL since the lockout, Robyn Regehr has been a member of the Flames for his entire professional career, ever since he was part of the trade that sent Theo Fleury to Colorado.
Besides being a regular for Team Canada in international play, and being valued as one of the core members of the Flames franchise over the past decade, one of Regehr's most notable accomplishments was his recovery from a 1999 car crash that broke both of his legs.
Amazingly enough, Regehr made his debut with the Flames that same year, and hasn't looked back since.
I remember, at one point, hearing some words of wisdom that go a little something like this: A defender who stops 50 goals is just as valuable as a forward who scores 50. Robyn Regehr is testament to that saying.
2) Miikka Kiprusoff
It would be hard to argue against the fact that Miikka Kiprusoff is the best thing that happened to the Calgary Flames in the past decade.
When he came to Calgary from San Jose during the 2003-2004, the Finnish goaltender turned Calgary into a playoff team and brought them one goal away from the Stanley Cup.
One of the NHL's best goalies over the past 5 years, winning both the Vezina and Jennings in 2006 (as well as MVP candidate), Kiprusoff regularly gives the Flames a chance to win.
It would be an understatement to say he's stolen many wins for the team in the course of his career.
Kiprusoff is considered by many to be the best player on the Flames roster, depending on who you're talking to.
His value to the Flames is even more apparent when you look at their record without him since his arrival.
This leaves room for only one more member of your Calgary Flames, and it should come as no surprise who it is.
1) Roman Turek
This is a no-brainer.
JUST KIDDING, before you bring out the torches and pitchforks, continue to the next slide.
1) Jarome Iginla
Jarome Iginla may not only be the greatest player to wear a Flames jersey in the past decade, but in the entire history of the team.
In the past 10 seasons (excluding the lockout), Iginla has led the Flames in goals 8 times, and has led the team in points for the past 9 seasons.
He won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in points in 2002, has led the league in goal-scoring two times, has been a league MVP candidate twice, represented the Flames in the All-Star game on multiple occasions, won the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most outstanding player as voted by his peers (the other players), and also has won awards recognizing his work in the community as a humanitarian.
No. 12 has also been the captain of the Flames for the better half of this decade, leading them on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, and in 2009 was awarded the Mark Messier Leadership Award for his accomplishments as captain of the Flames team.
He is one of the top candidates for captain of Team Canada, having also won gold with them in 2002.
Mentioning the hardware Iginla has collected in the last decade is probably more than enough to prove how valuable he is to the team, and if that doesn't do it for you, look at this.
He is now approaching 500 career goals and 1,000 career points, all with this same organization.
Assuming he stays with the Flames for the rest of his career (which is very likely), Iginla will retire owning most of the major all-time records for the team.
Those are my Top 10. Please comment and feel free to make your own rankings. Who do you think the top 10 Flames from the past decade are?