5. Dan Bouchard
Dan Bouchard was a 6’, 190 lb. goaltender from Val d’Or, Quebec. Born on December 12th, 1950, the Boston Bruins spent their second round pick on his in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, with the 27th overall selection. Before making his NHL debut, he played in the OHA with the London Knights, the AHL between the Hershey Bears (12-16-2, 3.13) and the Boston Braves (27-13-7, 2.51), and one game with the Oklahoma City Blazers in the CHL. The Flames made him an original member of the team by selecting him in the Expansion Draft on June 6th, 1972.
Bouchard opened the 1972-73 campaign backing up fellow netminder Phil Myre. Bouchard went 9-15-10, earning two shutouts, a 3.09 goals against average, and 5.7 point shares. This first version of the Atlanta Flames went 25-38-15, finishing seventh in the NHL’s West Division.
1973-74 would see Bouchard play in 10 games more than Myre, supplanting him as the de facto number one goaltender with an NHL-10th 46 appearances. He was the first Flames goaltender to post a winning record, racking up a 19-18-8 mark with a league-fifth 2.77 goals against average and an NHL-fourth five shutouts with 8.8 point shares, seventh in the league. Atlanta finished their second season in the money, making the playoffs despite a losing record (30-34-14). They lost in the first round to the Philadelphia Flyers, four-games-to-zero. Bouchard went 0-1, allowing four goals in his start.
In 1974-75, Bouchard duplicated his 2.77 goals against average from the season past, ranking him seventh in the NHL. He was eighth in the league with three shutouts, and played in 40 contests for Atlanta, going 20-15-5 with an 8.6 point share. He was lockstep with compadre Myre, who also played in 40 contests. Both goalies played exactly 2400 minutes, but Bouchard allowed three goals less to edge out his partner. Atlanta improved by nine points, finishing 34-31-15 but somehow missing out on the postseason.
Bouchard supplanted Myre as a clear number one in 1975-76, appearing in 47 games to 37. He allowed 10 fewer goals in 500 more minutes, earning a league third 2.54 goals against average and pitching two shutouts. His 10.4 point shares ranked him eighth in the NHL, as he posted a 19-17-8 record. Atlanta locked up a playoff spot by going 35-33-12, then lost in two games to the Los Angeles Kings, by scores of 2-1 and 1-0.
1976-77 would see Bouchard and the Flames demonstrate the very essence of average, as the netminder went 17-17-5 and the team went 34-34-12. Bouchard earned a 3.51 goals against average in 2378 minutes on the ice, allowing 139 total goals and finishing with 5.7 point shares. He earned a single shutout through the season. Atlanta’s record entitled them to a third place finish in the Patrick Division and a playoff berth. The team lost in the first round to the Kings, two-games-to-one. Bouchard allowed five goals and took the loss in his only start.
In 1977-78, Bouchard earned a career high and NHL seventh 11.6 point shares. He played in 58 games (NHL sixth), going 25-12-19 on the season. He had two shutouts and allowed 153 markers in 3340 minutes, giving him a 2.75 goals against average. Bouchard was far and away the best Flames goaltender, as the combination of Myre and new edition Yves Belanger combined to go 9-15-0 with a 4.03 GAA. Overall, the Flames went 34-27-19 and earned a spot in the playoffs, but as in seasons past, were eliminated in the first round. The Detroit Red Wings were the enemy this time, and only took two games to dispatch our heroes. Bouchard took both starts, allowing seven goals.
Bouchard led the NHL in 1978-79 in starts and wins, with 64 and 32 respectively. He went 32-21-7 with three shutouts and an NHL-fourth 10.5 point shares. He allowed 201 goals in a career high 3624 minutes for a 3.33 goals against average. The Flames went 41-31-8 and earned a fourth place finish in the Patrick Division, losing in the first round of the playoffs in two straight contests to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bouchard played five of the six periods, allowing nine goals for a 4.50 GAA.
1979-80 would see Bouchard earn an NHL-fifth 9.5 point shares. He played the most of Atlanta’s four netminders, playing 3076 minutes over 53 starts. He allowed a total of 163 goals for a team-best 3.18 GAA. He also had two shutouts on his way to a 23-19-10 record. The club went 35-32-13 and earned 83 points for fourth place in the Patrick Division. In the first round of the postseason, they lost to the New York Rangers, three-games-to-one. Bouchard played every minute, allowing 14 goals in 241 minutes for a 3.49 GAA.
In 1980-81, Bouchard started out the season racking up a 4-5-3 record in 14 contests for the newly relocated Calgary Flames. He allowed 51 goals in 760 minutes for a career worst 4.03 GAA. On January 30th, the Flames traded him to the Quebec Nordiques for Jamie Hislop. Bouchard spent parts of five seasons in Quebec (107-79-36, 3.59 GAA) before closing out his career with the Winnipeg Jets (11-14-2, 3.79, .865). He returned to Atlanta after his retirement, where he remains to this day.
398 games, 168-139-75, 20 shutouts, 1154 goals allowed, 3.03 goals against average, 70.68 point shares.