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Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter LXXXV: 128-125

Tonight's article features centers John Tonelli and Jiri Hrdina, left winger Kevin LaVallee, and goaltender Jamie McLennan.

Kevin LaVallee scored 66 goals with 65 assists in 212 games for the Flames.
Kevin LaVallee scored 66 goals with 65 assists in 212 games for the Flames.

128. Jiri Hrdina

Hrdina, a 6’, 195 lb. center from Prague, Czechoslovakia, was born on January 5th, 1958. In 1977-78, he played 35 games for Sparta Praha Jr., scoring six times with eight helpers. He ended up playing 11 seasons in the Czech league, scoring 124 goals and 190 assists in 344 contests. The Flames selected him in the eighth round of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft with the 159th overall choice.

Hrdina made his debut with the Flames on March 3rd, 1988. He earned an assist that night in a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. He ended up racking up points in seven of his nine games with Calgary, scoring twice on 13 shots with five assists, a plus-7 rating and two penalty minutes. Calgary earned the Smythe Division title with a 48-23-9 record, and got to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they lost four straight to the Edmonton Oilers. Hrdina only appeared in one game.

In 1988-89, Hrdina earned career highs in almost every category. He played in 70 games, scoring a team-sixth-tying 22 goals (including two game winners) on 147 shots with a team-sixth 32 assists, a plus-19 rating, and 26 penalty minutes. He had multiple points in 16 games, including seven performances of three points or more. He started out his career with a five game point streak, with five goals and six assists. It ended with his first hat trick, on October 17th in an 11-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings. On November 7th, he scored four times in a 6-3 win over the Hartford Whalers. The Flames went 54-17-9 and won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Hrdina only managed to appear in four games through the playoffs.

In 1989-90, Hrdina scored 12 times on 96 shots, appearing in 64 Flames games. He dished out 18 assists, earned a plus-10 rating and spent 31 minutes in the penalty box. He had six multi-point games on the season, including opening day on October 5th, when he scored two goals and two assists in a 10-7 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Flames went 42-23-15 for the season, winning the Smythe Division. By finishing with 99 points, the Flames fell one point short of topping 100 for four seasons in a row. The Flames were booted from the postseason in six games by the Kings. Hrdina earned one assist.

1990-91 would see Hrdina tally three assists in his first 14 games with Calgary. The Flames traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 13th for Jim Kyte. He scored nine goals with 27 assists in 93 contests for the Penguins, helping the team to two Stanley Cups in two seasons. He left the professional game with three Cups in five seasons.

All-Time Statline: 157 games, 36 goals, 58 assists, plus-32 rating, 63 penalty minutes, 6.94 point shares.

127. Kevin LaVallee

LaVallee, born on September 16th, 1961, was a 5’8", 180 lb. left winger from Sudbury, Ontario. He played two seasons in the OHA with the Brantford Alexanders, scoring 92 goals with 93 assists in 131 games. The Flames chose him in the second round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft with the 32nd overall pick.

LaVallee joined the Flames on the first opening day in Calgary, and appeared in a team-seventh 77 games with the team in 1980-81. He ranked eighth on the team with 15 goals on 131 shots, along with 20 assists, a minus-4 rating, and 16 penalty minutes. He also tied for sixth on the club with two game winning markers. Calgary posted a 39-27-14 record, helping the Flames earn the third seed in the Patrick Division. They defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in three straight and took out the Philadelphia Flyers in seven before losing in six to the Minnesota North Stars. LaVallee had two goals and three assists in eight contests.

1981-82 would see LaVallee play in a Flames-fourth 75 games, and score a team-second 32 goals on 169 shots. He also had a team-eighth 29 assists, a minus-9 rating, and 30 penalty minutes. He shared a four-way tie for third on the team with three game winning goals. Calgary posted a 29-34-17 record, earning a slot in the playoffs but failing out in three straight to the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round. For his part, LaVallee earned seven penalty minutes.

In 1982-83, LaVallee ranked fourth on the team with 19 goals on 139 shots, along with 16 assists in 60 contests. He also earned a minus-6 rating, 17 penalty minutes, and ranked third on the team with two game winners. The team went 32-34-14, finishing second in the Smythe Divison and defeating the Canucks three-games-to-one in the opening round of the postseason. They lost the next series in five games to the Edmonton Oilers. After the season, the Flames traded him to the Los Angeles Kings with Carl Mokosak for Steve Bozek.

LaVallee later played with the Colorado Flames (CHL, five games, five goals, four assists), the New Haven Nighthawks (AHL, 47 games, 29 goals, 23 assists), the Kings (19 games, three goals, three assists), the St. Louis Blues (102 games, 33 goals, 37 assists), the Pittsburgh Penguins (33 games, eight goals, 20 assists), Innsbruck EV (Austria, 107 games, 127 goals, 122 assists), Bern (Swiss), Milan (Italy, 36 games, 33 goals, 50 assists), the Ayr Raiders (Britain, eight games, 20 goals, 11 assists), and several other teams in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

All-Time Statline: 212 games, 66 goals, 65 assists, minus-19 rating, 63 penalty minutes, 7.02 point shares.

126. John Tonelli

Tonelli, a 6’1", 195 lb. center, was born in Hamilton, Ontario on March 23rd, 1957. He played two seasons in the OHA with the Toronto Marlboros, scoring 67 goals with 123 assists in 139 games. He then played three seasons at the major league level in the WHA with the Houston Aeros (224 games, 64 goals, 86 assists, 278 PiM).

While still with the Aeros, Tonelli was chosen by the New York Islanders in the second round of the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft, with the 33rd overall selection. He joined the Isles starting with the 1978-79 season, and in total played eight years with the club (594 games, 206 goals, 338 assists). On March 11th, 1986, New York traded him to Calgary for Richard Kromm and Steve Konroyd.

Tonelli appeared in nine games to close out Calgary’s 1985-86 season, scoring three goals on 18 shots with four helpers, a minus-1 rating and 10 penalty minutes. One of his markers was a game winner. The Flames totaled 22 playoff contests before losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final. Tonelli appeared in every game, scoring seven goals and nine assists.

In 1986-87, Tonelli played in a Flames-sixth 78 games, scoring a team-third 20 goals on 150 shots with a team-eighth 31 assists, a minus-2 rating, and a team-ninth 72 penalty minutes. The Flames went 46-31-3, earning second in the Smythe Division with 95 points. The Winnipeg Jets sent the team to the showers after a six game series victory in the opening round.

1987-88 would see Calgary go 48-23-9, earning the Smythe Division crown and setting down the Kings in five games before losing to the Oilers in four. Tonelli ranked ninth on the team with 74 games played, with a Flames-ninth 17 goals on 128 shots. He had a team-sixth 41 helpers with a plus-10 rating and 84 penalty minutes. He earned multiple points 11 times, including six games where he collected three or more points. He dished out four assists in an 8-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks on November 15th. On November 28th, he scored three goals with an assist in another 8-4 win, over the Los Angeles Kings. He scored two goals with five assists in six playoff games.

During the offseason, Tonelli signed on with the Kings through free agency. He played with the Kings for three seasons (221 games, 76 goals, 86 assists, 221 PiM), later playing with the Chicago Blackhawks (33 games, one goal, seven assists, 37 PiM), and the Quebec Nordiques (19 games, two goals, four assists).

All-Time Statline: 161 games, 40 goals, 76 assists, plus-7 rating, 166 penalty minutes, 7.07 point shares.

125. Jamie McLennan

McLennan was a 6’, 190 lb. goaltender from Edmonton, Alberta. Born on June 30th, 1971, he played three seasons in the WHL with the Spokane Chiefs and the Lethbridge Hurricanes starting in 1988-89 and going 52-22-6 through his last two seasons. In the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, he was selected in the third round by the New York Islanders, with the 48th overall choice.

Sometimes known as "Noodles," McLennan played with the Richmond Renegades (ECHL, 16-12-2), the Capital District Islanders (AHL, 21-24-8), New York’s Islanders (17-27-9), the Salt Lake Golden Eagles (IHL, 8-12-2), the Denver Grizzlies (3-0-1), the Worcester IceCats (32-20-5), the Utah Grizzlies (9-2-2), the St. Louis Blues (38-27-8), the Minnesota Wild (5-23-9), and the Houston Aeros (25-18-4).

During the 2002 offseason, McLennan was traded from Minnesota to the Flames for a ninth round pick (Mika Hannula). He went 2-11-4 backing up top goalie Roman Turek, with a .892 save percentage and a 2.99 goals against average. On November 4th, he stopped 26-of-28 shots in a 4-2 win over the Islanders for his first Calgary win. The very next night, he earned his second and final win of the year, stopping 30-of-32 shots as the Flames defeated the New Jersey Devils, 3-2.

McLennan went 12-9-3 for Calgary in 2003-04 as the primary backup to Miikka Kiprusoff. He stopped 91% of shots faced, allowing only 2.2 goals per 60 minutes on the ice. He posted four shutouts - that’s one every six and a half games. He got his first one on October 14th, stopping 19 shots in a 1-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers. On January 5th, he turned aside 36 Rangers’ shots in a 5-0 win over New York. On March 6th, the Flames traded him to the Rangers with Blair Betts and Greg Moore for Chris Simon and a draft pick (Matt Schneider).

McLellan only played four games for the Rangers (1-3-0), later playing with the Florida Panthers (2-4-2). During the 2006 offseason, the Flames resigned him through free agency. He went 3-5-1 with an .895 save percentage and a 3.60 goals against average as Calgary’s only backup to Kiprusoff. He retired following an 8-4-0 record with the Nippon Paper Cranes in Japan in 2007-08.

All-Time Statline: 57 games, 17-25-8, four shutouts, 1428 shots faced, 1285 saves, .900 save percentage, 2.73 goals against average, 7.26 point shares.