Colton Pankiw The Hockey Writers
Calgary Flames’ Top 5 Players of the Decade
The last decade has been fairly disappointing for the Calgary Flames. This season included, they only made the playoffs four times, and made it past the first round once. If they don’t win the Stanley Cup in this summer’s playoffs, it will mark 31 years since their first and only championship.
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Despite their underwhelming success, they still had some very talented players on their roster in the last ten years. Some of the best are on the team today and are one reason why the Flames have had a competitive team in the last few seasons. Here are the top five Calgary Flames of the decade.
5. Jarome Iginla
Though he was only a member of the Flames for the first two and a half seasons of the decade, it was impossible to leave Jarome Iginla off this list. The longtime Flames captain is the best player in franchise history and was by far the best player on the team during his time in Calgary.
During the 2010-11 season, Iginla scored 43 goals, the third highest total of his career, and 86 points; behind him was Alex Tanguay with 69. The following season, Iginla had a bit of a down year, posting just 67 points. However, that total was still good enough to lead the team in scoring again. In his final season with the Flames, 2012-13, he posted 22 points in 31 games before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. His tenure in the 2010s was short but he was dominant which is why he is included on this list.
4. Matthew Tkachuk
Like Iginla, Tkachuk wasn’t apart of the Flames for most of the decade. However, in his four seasons with the team, he established himself as a fan favourite, as both a highly skilled player and one of the league’s best agitators. After Brad Marchand, Tkachuk may be the most hated player in the league.
The 22-year-old made his presence felt early with both his skill and grittiness, posting 48 points and 105 penalty minutes as a rookie during the 2016-17 season. In 2018-19, Tkachuk posted his best numbers to date, with 34 goals and 77 points in 80 games. He did well again this season, before the stoppage, with a team-leading 61 points in 69 games. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him named captain once Mark Giordano’s career is said and done.
3. Sean Monahan
Despite putting up a very underwhelming 48 points this season, that doesn’t take away from Monahan’s contribution to the club in his seven years with the Flames.
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The 25-year-old established himself as a goal-scorer out of the gate, with 22 goals in 75 games as an 18-year-old during the 2013-14 season. He has scored 22 or more goals in every season to this point, including three seasons above 30.
In 2018-19, the Brampton, Ontario native put up career highs with 34 goals and 82 points in 78 games. Though he had a down season in 2019-20, Monahan has established himself as a reliable center, who is capable of putting up north of 60 points every season. A big postseason this summer could go a long way in helping him climb the ranks to become one of the best Flames forwards of all time.
2. Johnny Gaudreau
It should come as no surprise that Johnny Gaudreau is the forward ranked highest on this list. The undersized left winger has been the team’s most skilled player since his rookie season in 2014-15. Despite being just 5-foot-9, it didn’t take him long to adjust to the NHL game as he put up an impressive 24 goals and 64 points as a rookie.
Like Tkachuk and Monahan, last season, Gaudreau put up career-highs with 36 goals and 99 points. That beat his previous career-high total by 15. By his lofty standards, he had a disappointing 2019-20 season, with 58 points in 70 games, which is the first time in his six NHL seasons he has failed to break the 60-point mark.
Despite being a dominant player for the Flames over the years, he has been subject to many trade rumours due to his disappointing playoff performances to this point. He will change that narrative if he can help the Flames go on a run in this year’s postseason.
1. Mark Giordano
As the longest-tenured member of the Flames, Mark Giordano was both the obvious and correct choice to have at number one on this list. The 13-year NHL veteran had been underrated in his career but finally gained recognition after a career-high, 74-point season gave him his first-ever Norris Trophy at 35 years of age.
Although the Flames captain is now 36 years old, it doesn’t appear he will be done playing anytime soon. He still has two more seasons on his contract which pays him $6.75 million per season.
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Considering he still averaged a monstrous 23:53 of ice time per game this season, it isn’t a stretch to think Giordano may have another contract or two left in him. Regardless, he is the best Flame of this decade and will be remembered as one of the best of all time.
High End Talent
As this list shows, despite the team’s struggles over the last 10 seasons, the Flames have had plenty of top-end talent. It’s unfortunate for players like Giordano that the team wasn’t better throughout his career, so the hockey world would recognize how great he is. Fortunately, however, the Flames have some talented young players on the team, and many great prospects to be excited about to help the team become contenders in the next decade.
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