Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter III: 520-516

HHOF Digital Archives

In Part III of our offseason-long every-Flames countdown, we take a look at five more forwards.

I used regular season point shares to rank the players from first to last. We're going to run them down from last to first. All Flames players, including the ones who played all or part of their Flames contests as part of the Atlanta Flames. A standard multiple was applied for each season, depending on how each players' collective win shares stacked up against the team's collective win shares.

520. Shane Churla

Churla was a 6'1, 200 lb. right winger from Fernie, British Columbia. Born on June 24th, 1965, he played two seasons in the WHA with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He scored 17 goals in 118 games, with 27 assists and 485 penalty minutes. The Hartford Whalers selected him 110th overall, in the sixth round of the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.

Churla reported to the AHL's Binghampton Whalers for the entire 1985-86 season. In 52 games, he accrued 306 penalty minutes. His four goals and 10 assists in the campaign served merely as an afterthought to his main function, that of a professional bruiser. The following season would see him split the year between Binghampton (24 games, one goal, five assists, 249 PIM) and Hartford (20 games, one assist, 78 PIM).

In 1987-88, after Churla played only two of his first 27 games with Hartford, the Whalers traded him with Dana Murzyn to Calgary for Neil Sheehy, Carey Wilson, and Lane MacDonald. He suited up for his first Flames contest on January 15th, in a 4-4 tie with the Vancouver Canucks. In total, he played in 29 games with Calgary that season, scoring a goal and five assists with 132 penalty minutes (Flames fifth). On March 5th, he tabbed two assists in a 7-4 Calgary win over the Edmonton Oilers.

1988-89 would see Churla spend most of the first part of the season with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles (32 games, three goals, 13 assists, 278 penalty minutes). He suited up five times for Calgary on three call ups, collecting a minus-three rating and 25 penalty minutes. On March 4th, the Flames traded him to the Minnesota North Stars with Perry Berezan for Brian MacLellan and a fourth round pick (Robert Reichel).

Shane Churla Vs. Ken Baumgartner

Churla spent parts of eight seasons with the Minnesota/Dallas Stars franchise. He appeared in 366 games with 24 goals and 36 assists. He also racked up 1,883 penalty minutes. Later, he played with the Los Angeles Kings (11 games, one goal, two assists 37 penalty minutes) and the New York Rangers (55 games, zero goals, one assist, 132 penalty minutes). He is currently a team scout for the Phoenix Coyotes.

All-Time Statline: 34 games, one goal, five assists, 157 penalty minutes, -0.60 point shares.

519. Rich Chernomaz

Chernomaz was a 5'8", 185 lb. right winger born on September 1st, 1963 in Selkirk, Manitoba. He played in parts of four WHL seasons between the Saskatoon Blades and the Victoria Cougars, playing 210 games and scoring 165 goals with 189 assists with 307 penalty minutes. The Colorado Rockies (New Jersey Devils) picked him in the second round of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, with the 26th overall pick. He appeared in two games for the Rockies near the end of the season, taking two shots on goal and finishing with a minus-2 rating.

Over the next four seasons, Chernomaz played most of his games in the AHL with the Maine Mariners, appearing 269 times and scoring 90 times with 118 helpers and 250 PIM. He also played in 35 games for the newly-moved Devils over three of those seasons, scoring eight goals with seven assists and 12 penalty minutes. He signed on with the Flames during the 1987 offseason.

Chernomaz suited up for the Flames for the first time on February 17th, 1988, scoring a goal in a 5-3 Calgary loss to the New York Rangers. He would only appear in one other contest with the Flames that season, and one game the next season. It would be three more seasons before he again appeared in the NHL. 1991-92 would see him take 21 fruitless shots on goal over 11 games, earning a minus-9 rating and six minutes in the penalty box.

Although Chernomaz appeared in a grand total of 14 games for the Flames, he was a part of the organization for six seasons, spent mostly with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles. In 442 IHL games, he put up 501 points (205 goals, 296 assists) with 1,000 penalty minutes. He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1993 offseason. He scored 179 points for the St. John's Maple Leafs in his two seasons with the franchise. Later on, he played four seasons with the Schwenninger Wild Wings in the German Elite League.

Chernomaz went into coaching after he retired from playing, serving in various roles in the German league for the last 15 seasons.

All-Time Statline: 14 games, one goal, zero assists, six penalty minutes, -0.57 point shares.

518. Martin Simard

Simard, a Montreal, Quebec native, was a 6'1", 215 left winger. Born on June 25th, 1966, he played 226 games in the QMJHL between the Quebec Remparts, the Granby Bisons, and the Hull Olympiques, lighting the lamp 98 times with 124 helpers and 391 penalty minutes. The Flames took note, signing him as a free agent during the 1987 offseason.

Starting with the 1987-88 season, Simard spent the next three seasons with the IHL's Salt Lake Golden Eagles, collecting 43 goals and 61 assists in 212 games, also amassing 653 minutes in the penalty box. In 1990-91, he again started the season with Salt Lake, tabulating nearly a point per game (54 games, 24 goals, 25 assists). The Flames called him up for his first NHL game on December 9th, a 3-2 Calgary win over the Edmonton Oilers. Simard earned 17 penalty minutes in the contest. He would go on to make two assists and 53 penalty minutes over 16 contests with the big club.

Simard started the 1991-92 season with the Flames. He scored his only career NHL goal in the season opener, a 9-2 thrashing of the Oilers. Over 21 NHL contests that year, he also made three assists and earned 119 penalty minutes. He was sent back to the Golden Eagles for a bit before the Flames traded him to the Quebec Nordiques for Greg Smyth on March 10th.

Martin Simard Vs. Robert Dirk

Simard spent most of the next six seasons between the IHL and the NHL. He had one more shot at the big time, appearing in seven games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992-93.

All-Time Statline: 37 games, one goal, five assists, 172 penalty minutes, -0.57 point shares.

517. Travis Brigley

Brigley was born in Coronation, Alberta on June 16th, 1977. Eventually, he grew up into a 6', 200 lb. left winger. He played in parts of four seasons in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, with 91 goals, 108 assists, and 164 penalty minutes in 205 contests. Calgary selected him in the second round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, with the 39th overall pick.

In 1997-98, Brigley spent most of his season in the AHL with the St. John's Flames, scoring 17 goals with 15 assists in 79 games. Calgary called him up in April, and would see him appear in two games. He skated a total of 30 shifts, earning two penalty minutes and taking one unsuccessful shot on goal. He scored 15 goals with 35 assists with St. John's the following season in 74 games.

Brigley started the 1999-00 season with Calgary. He played in 17 games for them through the first month and a half of the season, making two assists with a minus-6 rating while playing just over 14 minutes per contest. The Flames traded him with a sixth round draft pick and sent him to the Philadelphia Flyers for Marc Bureau on March 6th.

Aside from 36 games in 2003-04 with the Colorado Avalanche, Brigley spent the rest of his career playing in levels below the NHL. He played with the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms, the Louisville Panthers, the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, the Hershey Bears, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and the Springfield Falcons, also playing in the UHL (Knoxville Speed), the IHL (Detroit Vipers), in Britian (Cardiff Devils), the ECHL (Macon Whoopee), the ChHL (Bentley Generals), and in Norway and Germany.

All-Time Statline: 19 games, zero goals, two assists, six penalty minutes, -0.53 point shares.

516. Rico Fata

Fata was a 6', 205 lb. right winger from Saulte Ste. Marie, Ontario. Born on February 12th, 1980, he played in the OHL with the London Knights in 1996-97. While still only 17 in 1997-98, he enjoyed a breakout season, scoring 43 goals with 33 helpers in 64 contests with London. The Flames were happy to select him in the first round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft with the sixth overall pick.

Fata started the 1998-99 season with the Flames, appearing in the regular lineup through most of the first 20 games of the season. He played around eight and a half minutes per game, totaling one assist and four penalty minutes with a minus-6 rating. He also spent 23 games with the Knights (15 goals, 18 assists) and seven with Team Canada (one goal, three assists).

Rico Fata "Highlight" Reel.

Fata played most of the next two years with the St. Johns Flames, appearing in 156 contests and lighting the lamp 52 times with 58 assists. In a limited run with the Flames (seven games), he managed a minus-four rating and six PIM. He was selected by the New York Rangers in the 2001 Waiver Draft.

After two seasons with the Rangers (46 games, two goals, four assists, six PIM), Fata made appearances with the Pittsburgh Penguins (120 games, 21 goals, 26 assists, 74 PIM), the Atlanta Thrashers (six games, one assist, four PIM) and the Washington Capitals (31 games, four goals, four assists, 10 PIM).

All-Time Statline: 27 games, zero goals, one assist, minus-4 rating, 10 PIM, -0.51 point shares.

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