Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter XLVI: 305-301

Today, a review of goaltender Vesa Toskala, defensemen Brian Engblom and David Hale, left winger Chris Lindberg, and center Todd Hlushko.

305. Vesa Toskala

Toskala was a 5’10", 195 lb. goaltender from Tampere, Finland. Born on May 20th, 1977, he backstopped several seasons for his hometown Ilves Tampere. He was a fourth round pick of the San Jose Sharks in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, 90th overall.

2000-01 would see Toskala make the transition to the North American game, spending the entire season with the Kentucky Thoroughblades (22-13-5, 2.77, .911). He spent most of the following season with the Cleveland Barons (19-33-7, 2.99, .912), also making his NHL debut for the Sharks, playing 10 minutes and stopping two shots.

Toskala played most of the next five seasons between the Sharks (65-28-10, 2.34, .914) and the Barons (15-30-3, 3.21, .903). He played the 2004-05 season back in Tampere, racking up a 0-1-2 record in very limited action.

Starting in 2007-08, Toskala played for the Toronto Maple Leafs for two and a half seasons (62-54-20, 3.08, .894). On January 31st, 2010, the Leafs traded him to the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks traded him to the Flames a month later for Curtis McElhinney.

Toskala spent the end of the 2009-10 season backing up incumbent netminder Miikka Kiprusoff. He appeared in six games, going 2-0-0 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.26 goals against average. He earned a victory in his first appearance, stopping 27-of-29 shots in a victory over the Minnesota Wild, 5-2 on March 7th. 10 days later, he earned a 3-2 decision by turning aside 32-of-34 shots against the Colorado Avalanche.

Toskala retired from professional hockey after posting a 1-15-5 record for Ilves Tampere in 2011-12.

All-Time Statline: Six games, 2-0-0, 97 shots faced, 89 saves, 2.27 goals against average, .918 save percentage, 0.72 point shares.

304. Brian Engblom

Engblom, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was born on January 27th, 1955. The 6’2", 200 lb. defenseman was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets, in the second round of the 1974 WHA Entry Draft, 22nd overall after his first collegiate season with the University of Wisconsin (36 games, 10 goals, 21 assists, 54 PiM). The Montreal Canadiens selected him in the second round of the 1975 NHL Entry Draft, also 22nd overall, after his second college season (38 games, 13 goals, 23 assists, 58 PiM).

Engblom, a stay-at-home type of blueliner, joined the Habs’ AHL farm club for the 1975-76 season, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs. He scored four times with 34 helpers and 79 penalty minutes in 73 appearances. The following season would see him stay with the club, scoring eight goals with 42 assists and 89 penalty minutes in 80 games.

Starting in 1977-78, Engblom would stay at the NHL level. After five seasons with Montreal (316 games, 14 goals, 87 assists, 298 PiM), the made appearances with the Washington Capitals (79 games, five goals, 23 assists, 67 PiM), the Los Angeles Kings (202 games, nine goals, 59 assists, 190 PiM), and the Buffalo Sabres (30 games, one goal, four assists, 16 PiM).

Just before the start of the 1986-87 season, the Sabres traded Engblom to the Flames for Jim Korn. He didn’t score any goals, going unsuccessful despite putting 31 shots on net through 32 games. He did manage to dish out four helpers, earn a minus-7 rating, and spend 28 minutes in the penalty box. His season ended when it was discovered that he had bone spurs in his spinal column. The injury forced his retirement. He went into broadcasting, and currently works as a color analyst for the Winnipeg Jets.

All-Time Statline: 32 games, zero goals, four assists, minus-7 rating, 28 penalty minutes, 0.74 point shares.

303. David Hale

Hale, a 6’1" defenseman, was born on June 18th, 1981. The native of Colorado Springs, Colorado weighed in at 215 lbs., and scored nine goals with 33 assists and 314 penalty minutes in 110 games over two seasons for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. The New Jersey Devils chose him in the first round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, 22nd overall.

Hale played three seasons for the Fighting Sioux of the University of North Dakota, racking up 10 goals, 16 assists, and 191 penalty minutes in 78 games. His first professional look was at the NHL level, in 65 games with New Jersey in 2003-04. He played 146 games for the Devils over three seasons, scoring zero goals and assisting on nine others with 119 penalty minutes. On February 27th, 2007, the Devils traded him with a draft choice (Jean-Simon Allard) to Calgary for a draft choice (Nick Palmieri).

Hale closed out the 2006-07 with Calgary, appearing in 11 contests for an average of 15:47 per appearance. He took 12 shots on goal, but didn’t score any points. He earned 10 penalty minutes and finished the season at minus-2. Later, he earned six penalty minutes in two playoff games for the Flames.

In 2007-08, Hale played in 58 games for the Flames, going scoreless on 35 shots on goal. He earned 46 penalty minutes and an even rating in 13:53 per contest. On October 26th, he scored his first Flames point, an assist in a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. On April 5th, he scored his second and final point for the Flames, another assist in a 7-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. He left via free agency following the season.

Hale eventually scored a goal, in his 258th career NHL game, on his 171st shot on goal. He did it with the Phoenix Coyotes on November 26th, 2008 in a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. After his time in Phoenix (48 games, three goals, six assists, 36 PiM), he played with the Tampa Bay Lightning (39 games, zero goals, four assists, 25 PiM), and the Ottawa Senators (25 games, one goal, four assists, six PiM). He currently plays at the semi-pro level in an Italian League.

All-Time Statline: 69 games, zero goals, two assists, minus-2 rating, 56 penalty minutes, 0.74 point shares.

302. Chris Lindberg

Lindberg, a 6’1", 190 lb. left winger from Fort Frances, Ontario, was born on April 16th, 1967. He played 71 games over two seasons with the University of Minnesota at Duluth, scoring 27 goals and 28 assists. When the 1988-89 season ended, he signed a free agent contract with the Hartford Whalers.

Lindberg spent his first season between the Binghampton Whalers (32 games, four goals, four assists) and the Virginia Lancers (26 games, 11 goals, 23 assists). He played a total of 119 games for the Canadian National Team, scoring 59 goals and 70 assists in international play. He helped the team to the Silver Medal in the 1992 Winter Games.

Prior to the 1991-92 season, the Flames signed Lindberg as a free agent. He played 17 games for the Flames, scoring two goals on 19 shots with five assists, 17 penalty minutes, and a plus-3 rating. On March 28th, he scored a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Minnesota North Stars.

In 1992-93, Lindberg played in 62 contests for Calgary, totaling nine goals on 74 shots with 12 helpers, a minus-3 rating, and only 18 penalty minutes. He had a marker and an assist on October 17th as the Flames set down the San Jose Sharks, 6-2. He repeated the accomplishment on February 3rd, in a 5-4 win against the New Jersey Devils. He added an assist in two playoff games after the regular season.

Lindberg signed with the Quebec Nordiques in free agency after the season. After his time in Quebec (37 games, six goals, eight assists), he would make appearances with the Cornwall Aces (23 games, 14 goals, 13 assists), the Krefeld Penguins (Germany, 153 games, 85 goals, 118 assists), the Grand Rapids Griffins (18 games, eight goals, 14 assists), Zug (Swiss, two games, one goal, one assist), Rapperswil-Jona (Swiss, 43 games, 22 goals, 28 assists, 114 PiM), the Canadian Team (nine games, six goals, two assists), Zurich (Swiss, 22 games, five goals, eight assists, 62 PiM), Lugano (Swiss, 19 games, nine goals, eight assists), Olten (Swiss, seven games, six goals, six assists), Ajoie (Swiss, 37 games, 21 goals, 35 assists, 152 PiM), and VSV EC (Austria, 23 games, seven goals, 21 assists).

All-Time Statline: 79 games, 11 goals, 17 assists, even rating, 35 penalty minutes, 0.77 point shares.

301. Todd Hlushko

Hlushko, born on February 7th, 1970, was from Toronto, Ontario. He was a 5’11", 185 lb. center when selected by the Washington Capitals in the 12th round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft with the 240th overall pick.

Prior to his selection, Hlushko played two seasons at the Junior level in the Ontario Hockey League, between the Guelph/Owen Sound Platers (91 games, 37 goals, 35 assists, 102 PiM) and the London Knights (40 games, 27 goals, 17 assists). After the draft, he joined the AHL’s Baltimore Skipjacks for two seasons (140 games, 25 goals, 49 assists, 168 PiM) before an extended stay with the Canadian National Team (121 games, 49 goals, 32 assists). He also scored a goal in a two game NHL debut with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1993-94.

Calgary signed Hlushko to a free agent contract during the 1994 offseason. The 1994-95 campaign would see him score four goals in eight games for Canada, spend 46 games at the AHL level with the Saint John Flames (22 goals, 10 assists), and appear in two contests for Calgary. In his second game, he earned an assist in a win over the Dallas Stars, 6-0 on February 11th. He appeared in one postseason game for the club, earning a minor penalty.

In 1995-96, Hlushko scored 14 times with 13 helpers and 70 penalty minutes in 35 games for Saint John. He would also go scoreless in four games for Calgary, earning six penalty minutes and taking six shots on goal.

Hlushko spent the entire 1996-97 season with Calgary. He totaled seven goals on 76 shots with 11 assists, 49 penalty minutes, and a minus-2 rating. He scored his first NHL goal on October 27th, in a 4-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. On March 1st, he had his first career multi-point game, earning two assists in a 4-1 triumph against the Stars.

Calgary chose to employ Hlushko at the AHL level for the majority of the 1997-98 season, with Saint John (33 games, 10 goals, 14 assists). For Calgary, he went scoreless on seven shots in 13 games, with an assist, an even rating, and 27 penalty minutes. He did not appear at the NHL level again.

Hlushko later played with the Grand Rapids Griffins (82 games, 24 goals, 26 assists), the Cologne Sharks (Germany, 55 games, 13 goals, 28 assists), the Mannheim Eagles (Germany, 203 games, 52 games, 71 assists), the Hannover Scorpions (Germany, 41 games, three goals, nine assists), and Dundas Real McCoys (Ontario Minor League, 40 games, 16 goals, 42 assists).

All-Time Statline: 77 games, seven goals, 13 assists, 84 penalty minutes, 0.78 point shares.

Thanks for checking us out today. Tomorrow, we break the seal on the top 300, including a Zyuzin, a Volcan, and a Westgarth.

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