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Calgary Flames' Top Five Netminders

Steve McSween@dansallowsSenior Analyst INovember 28, 2009

6 Jan 2001:  Goalie Mike Vernon #29 of the Calgary Flames is ready on the ice during the game against the Los Angeles Kings at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Flames 5-0.Mandatory Credit: Kellie Landis  /Allsport
Kellie Landis/Getty Images

Following Miikka Kiprusoff's stupefying 40 save shutout win over the Detroit Red Wings last night I started to ponder...just who is the best Calgary Flames goaltender of all-time?

The team has had good ones pass through their dressing room. Some early in their careers; like Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Dwayne Roloson, others like Grant Fuhr and Curtis Joseph came on the brink of retirement.

With that in mind I decided to list who I believed to be the top five Calgary Flames tenders in their rich 30-year history.

5. Fred Braithwaite (Calgary Flames 1998-2001)

Sorry Roman Turek and Rick Wamsley, but Fred Braithwaite backstopped the Flames when they were in a rebuilding phase and had about as much depth as Courtney Love has talent.

In what was considered his rookie season in 1998, Braithwaite posted a 2.45 goals against average, a .915 save percentage, and went 11-9-7 in 28 appearances.

In total, he played 138 games for Calgary, going 51-51-20 with 11 shutouts and a 2.54 goals against, as well as a save percentage over .900 before being traded to St. Louis for the aforementioned Roman Turek.

4. Trevor Kidd (Calgary Flames 1991-1997)

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Coming out of juniors, there was about as much hype surrounding Trevor Kidd as there is a Guns N' Roses reunion tour.

Though he did lead the team to a division title in 1995 going 22-14-6, the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks

Kidd never seemed to reach his potential in Calgary, or the NHL for that matter, but he does boast the fourth most wins in club history with 72.

This makes him just good enough to make the cut for my list of fab five.

3. Rejean Lemelin (Calgary Flames 1980-1987)

When it comes to great NHL goaltenders, Reggie Lemelin is about as underrated as the Replacements are in the world of rock.

Only once in his seven seasons with Calgary did he lose more than 12 games, and that came in 1986 when the team landed in the Stanley Cup Finals, only to lose to Montreal.

In total, Lemelin finished 136-80-48, with six shutouts in his Calgary Flames career. Maybe not good enough to be mentioned in the NHL's all-time greats, but enough to get top three in my books.

2. Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary Flames 2003-present)

Athletically, Miikka Kiprusoff is to Flames goaltending history what Michael Jordan was to basketball, simply put there has been nobody better.

From the time the club acquired him from San Jose until now, Kipper has gone 204-109-42, with 29 shutouts, a .915 save percentage, and a 2.40 goals against average.

What makes it more impressive is that the story is yet to be written, and there is no doubt he will rank No. 1 overall if he finishes his career in Cowtown.

The reason he is No. 2?

Well, despite leading Calgary to a 2004 Stanley Cup appearance, Kipper has been eliminated in the first-round each of the team's last four attempts.

His overall playoff record is 24-27, though his 2.34 goals against, .920 save percentage, and six shutouts are the best all-time for Flames netminders.

1. Mike Vernon (Calgary Flames 1982-1994, 2000-2002)

When talking about the greatest goalies to ever play in the NHL, let alone for Calgary, Mike Vernon's name has to be mentioned.

He led Calgary to their one and only Stanley Cup win in 1989, and backstopped them to a 1986 appearance in the finals against Montreal as well.

Flames and Vancouver Canucks fans alike will always have the image of Calgary's 5'9" Mike Vernon's glove hand save against Stan Smyl in game seven, in overtime in 1989 burned in their memories.

He finished his Flames career going 262-187-57 with 13 shutouts, and a playoff record of 43-33.

Overall, Vernon sits 10th all-time in the NHL with wins at 385, but he is No. 1 in Flames fans' hearts, that is until Kipper wins a Cup.

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