Last Word On Hockey brings our Team of the Decade series. We will dive into the best player at each position this decade for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments of the decade. Here is the Calgary Fames Team of the Decade lineup.
Calgary Flames Decade Team
In the 2010s, the Calgary Flames have struggled to be successful. In the decade, the Flames only made the playoffs three times. Of those three occasions, they reached the second round once after they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in the first round in 2014-15. For the whole decade, the Flames struggled to establish themselves as an elite team, however, there were still many talented players on the Flames in the 2010s.
Here is a breakdown of the best players to wear the Flamin’ C that made the Calgary Flames Decade Team by each position.
Left-Wing: Johnny Gaudreau
The first player to make the Calgary Flames Decade Team is Johnny Gaudreau. Since his arrival at the end of 2013-14 NHL Season, he has made a monumental impact. Gaudreau has become the face of the Flames offensively with two seasons in which he put up over a point per game. Beyond that, Gaudreau has produced 418 points in 436 games.
Prior to his arrival in the NHL, many questioned Gaudreau’s ability to be successful at the NHL level due to his small stature. However, Gaudreau has made the most of his 5 foot 9 inches, 165-pound frame. Gaudreau’s game is built around his slick stickhandling and elusive skating ability. Every time “Johnny Hockey” touches the ice, he is looking to create a scoring opportunity.
In the final game of the 2013-14 season, Gaudreau was given the opportunity to make his NHL debut in the final game of the season. Gaudreau made the most of that opportunity as he was able to score his first NHL goal. In every season that followed, Gaudreau has been a consistent offensive force. In the 2018-19 season, a banner year for the Flames organization, Gaudreau came dangerously close to eclipsing the 100 point plateau. Obviously, Gaudreau has physical limitations and has had his struggles defensively. However, he is in the NHL due to his dynamic offensive ability, and he has delivered that in a big way in every single season.
Centre: Sean Monahan
Sean Monahan was drafted 6th overall by the Flames in 2013. Monahan made an immediate impact with a 20 goal rookie season. In the decade, Monahan provided the Flames with 185 goals and 396 points. This places him 3rd, only behind Gaudreau and Giordano.
Throughout the decade, Monahan has established himself as an extremely consistent goal scorer. In all seven seasons of his career, he has scored 20 goals. In three of those years, he has hit the 30 goal plateau. Monahan has an unbelievable nose for the net and is able to score in the dirty areas. He combines that with great hockey smarts, and savvy playmaking ability. Prior to his NHL career, there were questions over whether his skating was good enough to succeed at the NHL level. However, he has made improvements in that regard and has been able to carve out a role as the Flames top centre for many years.
Monahan brings a calm approach to the game and the locker room. One aspect of Monahan that is often overlooked is leadership. Since 2015-16, Monahan has been an assistant captain for the Flames. Monahan leads by example, both on and off the ice, with his hard work ethic, and laser focus.
Right Wing: Jarome Iginla
Jarome Iginla‘s time with the Flames in the decade was short-lived. His time with the Flames ended when he was traded during the 2012-13 season to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the trade deadline. In the 2010s, Iginla played 237 games with the Flames. At that time, he picked up over 200 points and nearly 100 goals. Iginla ranked 7th in points in the decade, including 1st among right-wingers.
For the first couple of years of the decade, Iginla was the captain. For his entire career with the organization, Iginla was an elite player and a great leader. On the ice, he brought an elite combination of speed, size and skill. His shot was superb, which allowed him to be an elite goal scorer for a long time. Even in 2010-11, Iginla scored 43 goals.
Iginla’s decade with the Flames was capped off in 2019 when his number went into the rafters. This capped off an incredible period in Flames history and secured the legacy of the greatest player to ever play for the organization.
Right Defensemen: T.J. Brodie
T.J. Brodie made his debut with the Flames in the 2010-11 season. Brodie was drafted in the 4th round, and more than outlived that draft position. In the decade, Brodie played 606 games. Even though he is not known for his point production, he still has 259 points in his NHL career so far. Compared to the rest of the Flames, he had the 5th most points in the decade and was 2nd among defensemen.
Brodie’s game is quite versatile. He is a great skater with good speed and agility. His ability to move the puck is mind-blowing and makes him a large asset for the Flames. Even though he makes the occasional big mistake, his overall impact is still positive. He has made an impact at even strength, on the power play, and on the penalty kill. He also eats big minutes as he has averaged over 22 minutes per game over his career.
Lastly, Brodie is a leader. In the 2015-16 season, he was an assistant captain for the Flames. He flashes his leadership with his work ethic, and ability to put mistakes behind him. In his career, he has had many rough patches, but his ability to come through those patches is what makes him so special. In the 2010s, Brodie played an integral role on the Flames blue line.
Left Defensemen: Mark Giordano
The best defenceman for the Flames is a no-brainer. Mark Giordano is the only player who can fill this role. For the entire decade, Giordano has been a stud on the blueline for the Flames. His point production was unmatched compared to other Flames defensemen. He put up 420 points over the decade, which was good enough to lead the team. For much of the decade, Giordano found himself on the team’s top PP unit.
Giordano’s abilities go far beyond the scoresheet. Throughout the decade, he was one of the most well-rounded defencemen in the NHL. He is an elite skater and is able to effortlessly move the puck up the ice in transition. Defensively, Giordano is rock solid. He can play a physical brand of hockey and uses his high hockey IQ to always be in the right spot. Giordano has also contributed significantly to the penalty kill and has averaged over 24 minutes per game. On top of that, Giordano has led the team on and off the ice since 2013. Taking over the captaincy from Jarome Iginla, Giordano had large shoes to fill, and he filled them admirably with his strong work ethic, leadership, and on-ice talent.
Giordano’s best season came in 2018-19. That season, Giordano almost put up a point per game as he tallied 74 on the year. His strong play in all three zones helped catapult the Flames into the top spot in the Western Conference. Obviously, his season was capped off with a Norris Trophy. Winning the Norris Trophy was finally validation that he was an elite defenceman.
Goalie: Miikka Kiprusoff
Even though Miikka Kiprusoff played a limited amount of games in the decade, he was still the Flames’ most successful goalie in the 2010s. For the decade, he led the team in games played with 203, wins with 95, and shutouts with 11. Over the decade, he posted a 2.59 goals-against average and .910 saver percentage.
In the decade, Kiprusoff never got the opportunity to suit up for a playoff game. However, Kiprusoff was still reasonably successful in the regular season as he posted a record above .500 for the decade. Beyond what he did on the ice, Kiprusoff was a leader for the Flames, even at the tail end of his career. He is a symbol of the Flames at the goaltending position. The role of starting goalie has been filled with uncertainty since his departure. The legacy that Kiprusoff has left behind is incredible, and anybody associated with the Calgary Flames will remember him forever.
Honourable Mentions Calgary Flames Decade Team
Mikael Backlund has been one of the few constants on the Flames roster this decade. Backlund played for the whole decade and brought a strong two-way game as he fits nicely in the Flames top six.
Matthew Tkachuk was drafted 6th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. Tkachuk has developed into an elite player who may be the future face of the franchise. He plays a complete game and has a lot of grit in his game. He is a great leader and is likely a future captain.
Jiri Hudler had the best season of his career in 2014-15 with the Calgary Flames. That season, Hudler played on a line with Monahan and Gaudreau. Hudler’s talent and experience helped acclimate those two young stars and helped them grow as players.
That does it for the Calgary Flames Decade Team stay tuned for Tuesday’s Team of the Decade.
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