Calgary Flames Top 5 First Round Picks Since Arriving In Alberta

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1. Al MacInnis – 15th Overall in 1981

Jan 29, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Former members of the Saint Louis Blues , from left to right Brett Hull , Martin Brodeur , Bernie Federko and Al MacInnis pose for the media after Brodeur announced his retirement from the NHL during a press conference at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames will pick 15th overall tonight, and the only other time they did that in franchise history, they hit an absolute home run by grabbing future Hall of Fame defenceman Al MacInnis. Taken just after Ron Meighan and Normand Leveille, MacInnis was an absolute steal as the 15th pick and was the best decision the Flames have ever made in the opening round of the draft.

MacInnis played two more seasons in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers and then played a handful of games in the minor leagues in 1983-84 before making a name for himself with the Flames late in the season and especially in the 1984 postseason. MacInnis scored 45 points in 51 games as a rookie that year and added 14 points in 11 postseason games.

He averaged just under a point per game each of the next two seasons before helping lead the Flames to the Stanley Cup Final in 1986 where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens. MacInnis had 19 points in 21 games in that postseason run, but that was just a warmup for the Port Hood native.

After scoring 233 points in 239 regular season games over the next three seasons, MacInnis played the best hockey of his career in the 1989 playoffs. He led the Flames to their lone Stanley Cup championship by scoring 31 points in 22 games and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Though the Flames didn’t have the same postseason success following the 1989 run, MacInnis had his two best offensive seasons in the next two years, scoring 90 and then an incredible 103 points. The only blue liners to ever score more points than the 103 MacInnis had in 1990-91 are Paul Coffey and Bobby Orr.

MacInnis was dealt to the St. Louis Blues following an 82 point season in 1993-94 and continued to play at an exceptional level until he retired in 2003-04 after suffering an eye injury. He won a Norris Trophy in 1999, showing tremendous longevity as he was the league’s best defender ten years after being the MVP of the postseason.

MacInnis was well known for his legendary slap shot, and his 340 career goals are third most all time by a defenceman. His 1274 points also only rank behind Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey in the history of the game, and only Ron Francis and Dale Hawerchuk outscored him from the 1981 draft class.

MacInnis also ranks third behind Francis and Chris Chelios in games played among players taken in 1981, and the Flames can only hope they get a player half as good as Al when they step to the podium with the 15th pick for the second time in franchise history tonight.

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