clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter CXLIV: 3. Al MacInnis

Hockey Hall of Famer, seven-time all-star, all-time Flames leader with 609 assists, Conn Smythe Trophy, James Norris Trophy, and Stanley Cup Champion Al MacInnis.

3. Al MacInnis

Al MacInnis was a 6’2", 204 lb. defenseman from Inverness, Nova Scotia on July 11th, 1963. In 1980-81, he scored 11 goals with 28 assists in 47 games for the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League. Based on that, Calgary selected him in the first round of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft with the 15th choice overall. He played 59 games for them the following season, ramping his production up to 25 goals, 50 assists, and 145 penalty minutes in 59 games. He went scoreless in a two game debut for the Flames starting on December 30th, 1981.

In 1982-83, MacInnis played another 51 games with Kitchener, and scored 38 goals with 46 assists. He scored his first NHL point on October 23rd, an assist in a 5-5 tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 14 games total for the Flames that season, he scored a single goal on seven shots with three helpers, an even rating, and nine penalty minutes.

With nothing left to prove at the junior level, MacInnis started the 1983-84 campaign with the CHL’s Colorado Flames, tabbing a point per game over 19 games. This performance earned his a full-fledged callup to Calgary’s version of the Flames. He played 51 games at the NHL level that season, lighting the lamp 11 times on 160 shots along with a team-fourth 34 assists. He posted an even rating and 42 penalty minutes. Despite his limited time with the club, he ranked third amongst the team’s skaters with 5.3 point shares. The Flames earned a playoff berth with a 34-32-14 record and 82 points, placing them second in the Smythe Division. After dispatching the Vancouver Canucks in four games, the Flames were doused by the Edmonton Oilers in seven. MacInnis appeared in all 11 games, scoring two goals with a dozen assists through the series.

1984-85 would see MacInnis rank second on the Flames with 52 assists in 67 games. He also scored 14 goals on 259 shots, with a plus-7 rating and 75 penalty minutes. 41 points (eight goals, 33 assists) were collected on the power play to lead the team. With 7.1 point shares, he was second on the club behind only fellow defenseman Paul Reinhart, and he was selected to play in the all-star game for the first time. The club went 41-27-12 for 94 points, finishing third in the Smythe Division. They dropped a best-of-five series in four games to the Winnipeg Jets in the opening round of the postseason. MacInnis scored one goal and two assists.

In 1985-86, MacInnis played in 77 games for the Flames, ranking seventh in the NHL with a plus-38 rating. He scored 11 goals on 241 shots with a team-leading 57 assists, and spent 76 minutes in the penalty box. He led all team skaters with 8.9 point shares. He again led the power play unit by totaling 42 points with the man-advantage, including 38 assists. Calgary regressed by five points, earning 89 with a 40-31-9 record, but tore through the Campbell Conference by sweeping the Jets and defeating the Oilers and St. Louis Blues in seven games apiece. MacInnis led the NHL with 79 shots-on-goal, but only scored four times. He did lead the team with 15 assists.

MacInnis was named to the NHL’s All-Star Second Team in 1986-87. He was ninth in the league with 56 assists and with 10.1 point shares. He played in 79 games, scoring a then-career high 20 goals on an NHL-ninth 262 shots with a team-second plus-20 rating and 97 penalty minutes, leading the club with 10.1 point shares. Calgary played 46-31-3 on the season, finishing second in the Smythe Division with 95 points. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Jets in six games. MacInnis scored a single goal in four appearances.

1987-88 would see MacInnis appear in his second all-star game. For the first time in his career, he averaged more than a point per game through the regular season, by totaling a team-sixth 83 points in 80 appearances, with 25 goals (on 245 shots) and 58 assists. He was second on the blueline with 9.4 point shares, and second on the team with 46 power play points (seven goals, 39 assists). He had multiple points 18 times, including six games with three or more. He had a season-high five points by scoring a goal with four assists on March 30th in a 9-7 loss to Los Angeles. He had three goals and six assists in seven playoff matches as the Flames defeated the Kings in five games then lost to the Oilers in four straight.

In 1988-89, MacInnis was again named to the NHL All-Star Second Team. He tied for third on the club with 58 assists (Joe Mullen and Doug Gilmour tied for first with 59), adding 16 goals on 277 shots. He collected an NHL-ninth plus-38 rating and spent a Flames-eighth 136 minutes in the penalty box. He led the team with 37 assists and with 45 points on the power play. His 11.1 point shares ranked seventh in the NHL and led all Flames. He again had 18 multi-point games, including four three-pointers. The team went 54-17-9, winning the President’s Cup with 117 points. They claimed the Stanley Cup by defeating their four opponents in 22 games. MacInnis won the Conn Smythe Trophy by proving to be the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs, leading the NHL with four game winning goals, 24 assists, and with 31 overall points. For reference, he collected nine game winning markers over the first 449 games of his career. On May 8th, he earned an assist on the first goal and scored the game winner 15 minutes into overtime in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks to put the Flames on top, three-games-to-one.

MacInnis finished the 1989-90 season with an NHL-second 12.1 point shares (as an illustration as to how good he was, the 12.1 total was only the fifth best season of his career). He played in his third all-star game and for the first time was an NHL All-Star First Team member. Nobody in the NHL was on the ice for more power play goals than MacInnis was, 94 in total. He was third with overall points on the Flames, with 90. He scored 28 goals on 304 shots with 62 helpers, along with a plus-20 rating and 82 penalty minutes. He had two or more points 23 times, with eight performances of three or more. In a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on December 30th, he scored two goals to include the game winner, adding an assist. On February 22nd, he tabbed four assists in a 12-2 drubbing of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Overall, the Flames posted a 42-23-15 record, earning 99 points and another division title. The Kings would eliminate them in six games. MacInnis scored twice with three assists while appearing in every game.

1990-91 would see MacInnis become just the fourth defenseman in NHL history to break the 100-point barrier. He soared 28 goals on 305 shots with an NHL-third 75 assists while playing in 78 contests. Incredibly, his 103 points would rank him second on the club, one behind #4 all-time Flame Theoren Fleury. He played in his fourth all-star game and was named to his second NHL All-Star First Team. His career high 14.1 point shares was the third highest total in the league. He finished with an NHL-third plus-42 rating, 90 penalty minutes, and a team-high 63 points with the man-advantage (17 goals, 46 assists). He had 29 multiple point games, with 13 games of three or more points. On October 20th, he had two goals with two assists in an 8-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. He had a goal and four assists on February 23rd as the Flames defeated the Quebec Nordiques, 10-8. All told, the Flames put up 100 points on a 46-26-8 campaign before losing in the first round to the Oilers in seven games. MacInnis scored twice with three assists.

In 1991-92, MacInnis earned his way into his fifth all-star game with a team-second 77 overall points. For the Flames, he scored 20 times on 304 shots in 72 games, with a team-leading 57 helpers, a plus-13 rating, and 83 penalty minutes. He led the team with 48 power play points, scoring 11 with the man advantage. Despite his point share regressing to "only" 9.6, it was still good enough to finish with more than everyone except for left winger and Flame #7 Gary Roberts. He had 19 games where he finished with more than one point, including eight with three or more. On November 11th, he scored twice on the power play and added two assists in a 7-6 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets. He earned a hat trick on March 16th in a 4-3 loss to the Hartford Whalers. The team posted a 31-37-12 record finishing fifth in the Smythe Division, seven points short of the postseason.

MacInnis was limited to 50 games for Calgary in 1992-93, due to a dislocated hip. He scored 11 goals on 201 shots with a still impressive 43 assists, with a plus-15 rating and 61 penalty minutes. He had 17 multi-point games on the season, including six three-pointers. On October 8th, he nearly single-handedly defeated the Oilers by dishing out three assists and the game winning goal in a 7-2 victory. He scored twice with two assists as the Flames came up short against the Jets, 5-4 on March 30th. Calgary returned to the postseason with a 43-30-11 record, qualifying with the second spot in the Smythe with 97 points. The Kings cut it short, however, by dropping the Flames in six. MacInnis scored once with six helpers through the series.

1993-94 would be MacInnis’ last season in Calgary. He played in his sixth all-star game, and was named to the NHL All-Star Second Team for the third time. In 75 contests, he lit the lamp 28 times on 324 shots with a team-leading 54 assists, a team-third plus-35 rating, and 95 penalty minutes. As in most of his seasons with the Flames, he led the team in power play points, with 46 on 12 goals and 34 assists. His 13.3 point shares led the team and ranked him seventh in the NHL. He had 18 games with two points, two with three, and on March 20th, scored a goal with five assists in a win over Toronto, 6-3. Thanks in no small part to MacInnis’ heroics, the Flames returned to first place in the Pacific Division by going 42-29-13. The Canucks dropped them in the opening round, taking seven games. MacInnis scored twice with six assists in defeat.

Here’s the only MacInnis highlight film you need, (unless you like St. Louis).

During the 1994 offseason, the Flames traded MacInnis with a fourth round choice (Didier Tremblay) to the Blues for Phil Housley and two second round choices (Steve Begin, John Tripp). He stuck around St. Louis for 10 seasons, scoring 127 goals with 325 assists, a plus-132 rating, and 551 penalty minutes. His plus-373 all-time rating is the 16th best mark in NHL history as of this article. Out of the 15 ranked ahead of him, 13 are in the Hall of Fame. The other two are Brad McCrimmon and Nicklas Lidstrom. So you think plus/minus is an outdated stat? Stats don’t lie. Lidstrom joined the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Class of 2007. He currently serves as the Blues’ Vice President of Hockey Operations.

All-Time Statline: 803 games, 213 goals, 609 assists, plus-241 rating, 960 penalty minutes, 107.09 point shares.