It's funny when you look at how a few decisions can have a massive butterfly affect on a team. Release a player here, trade a player there, draft this player instead of that player. When the dust settles, sometimes years from a certain move, you either win the Stanley Cup or you draft first.
There have been some major things the Flames organization has done that spring to mind as a big move, most of the things may have seemed minor at the time however. Tell me at the end if winning the Stanley cup is more about shrewd management or horseshoes and lucky charms? Some moves are good, some are bad, I've left some pretty major ones out as well but I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Kent "Magic Man" Nillson gets traded for a draft pick- The draft pick turned into a little known player named Joe Nieuwendyk, Joe was traded for a prospect named Jarome Iginla. Joe centered the Flames to their first and only Stanley Cup four years later, in hindsight is also considered the franchise's best center ever. At the time Nillson was a 100 point player so the trade was a major one however "Nieuwy" went on to become a Calder trophy winner after scoring 51 goals in his rookie season. In fact Joe would scored over 190 goals in his first four full years as a pro, 51 in each of his first two seasons and became a beacon of how players should hold themselves on and off the ice.
Don Lever and Bob McMillan traded to the Colorado Rockies for Lanny McDonald, Lanny became the face, heart and soul of the Flames team that won the Stanley cup. Past his prime by that point in his career he still gave fans something to remember with a quick shot over Patrick Roy's Shoulder in the Cup Winning Game of '89, it wasn't the winning goal but it is probably more remembered. When he was traded to Calgary Lanny gave Flames fans something they didn't expect, a 66 goal season, a flames record to this day for a single season. It was easy to see why this trade might be looked back on as one of the most lopsided in the history of the franchise and a great example of the butterfly effect moves can have.
The 1984 draft, think the draft lately is horrible? Don't you wish the draft could look like this? Gary Roberts, Paul Ranheim, Brett Hull, Jiri Hrdina and Gary Suter. Not bad. Here is the butterfly affect of that draft.
-Gary Roberts was a key cog in winning the cup, one of those guys that gives you grit and everything they have every shift. He took so much punishment in front of the net so much that he would eventually be forced to semi retire briefly.
-Paul Ranheim was traded for Nylander, Patrick and Zalapski
-Brett Hull was traded for Rob Ramage, Ramage was another key defenseman for the Flames in winning the Cup so that eases the hurt of losing Brett Hull, one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the NHL. One might liken it to the Nieuwendyk trade where Dallas was better short term and won a cup but Calgary won long term with a great winger.
-Jiri Hrdina was not a huge part of the cup winning team but he was a part of it.
-Gary Suter won a Calder Trophy for rookie of the year and went on to become one of the NHL's best defensemen for years to come. Suter was a massive part of the Cup winning team's power play.
Theo Fleury- Drafted 188th overall, 8th round. Small. Diminutive. One of the best players I've ever seen play. If you've never seen the Fleury slide then you haven't seen hockey! Fleury was a an exceptional player and contributed to winning the Stanley Cup as well with 6 goals in that playoff run. Fleury, in case you're new, went on to become a massive part of the Flames organization for years, only recently being eclipsed by Jarome Iginla for being the all time points leader. Despite his personal struggles Fleury is still to this day is loved by Flames fans, no one has been able to wear the number 14 since he left. Fleury was traded for a couple pylons and a prospect to the Colorado Avalanche. The trade was that the Flames could have Rene Corbet, Wade Belak and any one of their prospects...except a kid named Alex Tanguay. The Flames picked a defenseman named Robyn Regehr.
Thinking outside the box. The Flames were one of the first teams to experiment with European players, signing one of the best players in history Sergei Makarov from Russia. At the time the communist government had to give him permission to do so, this was a ground breaking move. Makarov came in and won a Calder cup as a rookie...at the age of 31 thus getting his own rule, the Makarov rule, which prohibits players of a certain age and experience from win the Calder. Hakan Loob was one of the first Swedish players to come over to the NHL, the only one to score 50 to this day I believe.
2nd round pick for Miika Kiprusoff- this one pretty much goes without explanation, the pick turned out to be Vlasic, a decent defensemen but "Kipper" has turned into one of the best goalies in the league. A 2nd round pick for a Vezina winning goaltender is a steal in anyone's book.
Most of those moves were pretty positive and for sure there are a lot more that did not get mentioned, there were some not so hot moves either.
Gilmour gets traded to the Maple Leafs. One of the black days in franchise history, this move is regarded as maybe one of the worst trades in franchise history. The leafs received a guy who can change games, was instrumental in the 89 cup win and is right up there in conversations about the fans favorite players of all time. Gilmour was the center piece of the trade and coming back was Gary Leeman. The trade involved a lot of players most notably Jamie Macoun going to the leafs and the Flames getting Berube but the two center pieces were definitely Leeman and Gilmour. Doug Risebrough, the G.M. at the time, is still synonymous with this trade even though he went on to be a great executive in the league.
Craig Button- St Louis is let go. Craig Button did not like St Louis' size, coming from a guy with a background in player development and scouting it's incredible he missed how talented St. Louis was but he was released and is now one of the best players in the league.
Marc Savard/Greg Gilbert fiasco. What should you get in a trade for Marc Savard? At the time Savard was a pretty good number two center or a decent number one but after run ins with coach Greg Gilbert Savard was traded for Ruslan Zain..something. A nothing prospect basically. After basically giving Savard to Atlanta Button then fired Gilbert and shortly after lost his job. Button was not a g.m. for long but he caused a lot of damage
Button was caught in the expansion draft scenario as well so there's some blame there but overall his drafting was not great, he let go of talented players and got nothing in return and caused a long term affect for a short time period he was in charge.
Oli Jokinen- Jokinen was traded for a first round pick essentially, played horribly in Calgary, was traded to New York for Kotalik who played horribly with an inflated contract and then re-signed. There is always hope both Kotalik and Jokinen will have bounce back season but as it stands Oli Jokinen is a black cloud over the Flames.
Any moves you think had long lasting affects on the Flames?