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Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter LXXXVII: 120-118

We shift gears and start covering three players per day in Chapter 87 of our summer-long feature. Today's subjects include center Mel Bridgman and defensemen Todd Simpson and Kevin Dahl.

Former Flames Captain Todd Simpson spent parts of four seasons in Calgary, totaling 30 points and 500 penalty minutes in 214 games.
Former Flames Captain Todd Simpson spent parts of four seasons in Calgary, totaling 30 points and 500 penalty minutes in 214 games.

120. Todd Simpson

Simpson was a 6'3", 215 lb. defenseman. The North Vancouver, British Columbia native was born on May 28th, 1973. He played two seasons in the WHL between the Tri-City Americans (81 games, seven goals, 21 assists, 228 PiM) and the Saskatoon Blades (51 games, seven goals, 19 assists, 175 PiM). He made his professional debut in 1994-95 with the Saint John Flames (80 games, three goals, 10 assists, 321 PiM).

1995-96 would see Simpson spend most of the season back in Saint John, scoring four times with 13 helpers and 277 penalty minutes in 66 games. He also made his first NHL appearance with Calgary, appearing in six games in October. The team went 0-3-3 in contests in which he appeared. He didn’t score, took only three shots on goal, and earned at least one penalty per game, totaling 32 penalty minutes with three fights and six minor penalties. The Flames posted a 34-37-11 record, finishing second in the Pacific Division and losing in the opening round in four straight to the Chicago Blackhawks.

In 1996-97, Simpson was one of three Flames to appear in a team leading 82 contests. He only scored one goal on 85 shots, with a team 10th 13 assists, a minus-14 rating, and a team-high 208 penalty minutes. On December 14th, he earned a season high two assists in a 4-1 Flames win over the Colorado Avalanche. Four nights and two games later, he scored his only marker of the season in a 3-3 tie with the Detroit Red Wings. Calgary went on to earn a 32-41-9 record and miss the postseason.

Simpson played 53 games for Calgary in 1997-98. He tallied a single goal on 53 shots, with five assists, a minus-10 rating, and a team-seventh 109 penalty minutes. Calgary’s 26-41-15 record wasn’t even close to a postseason berth. Simpson’s only goal of the season occurred on January 28th, when he netted the deciding marker and added an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

1998-99 would see Simpson appear in a team-seventh 73 contests, and score twice on 52 shots with eight assists, a team-best plus-18 rating, and a team-second 151 penalty minutes. On November 1st, he collected a goal, an assist, a plus-3 rating and four penalty minutes in 18 minutes on the ice in a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flames wouldn’t quite return to contention, however, closing the season with a 30-40-12 mark.

Just days prior to the 1999-00 season, the Flames traded Simpson to the Florida Panthers for Bill Lindsay. Simpson spent parts of two seasons in Florida (107 games, two goals, nine assists, 276 PiM), lair appearing with the Phoenix Coyotes (146 games, four goals, 21 assists, 299 PiM), the Ducks (46 games, four goals, three assists, 105 PiM), the Ottawa Senators (16 games, zero goals, one assist, 47 PiM), the Blackhawks (45 games, zero goals, three assists, 116 PiM), and the Montreal Canadiens (six games, zero goals, zero assists, 14 PiM).

Simpson went on to play with the Hannover Scorpions in Germany in 2006-07. In 2011, he starred on "Battle of the Blades."

All-Time Statline: 214 games, four goals, 26 assists, minus-6 rating, 500 penalty minutes, 7.70 point shares.

119. Kevin Dahl

Dahl, a native of Regina Saskatchewan, was born on December 30th, 1968. The 5’11", 190 lb. defenseman was drafted after his sophomore season at Bowling Green State University by the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs chose him in the 11th round of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft with the 230th overall selection. In four seasons at Bowling Green, he totaled 21 goals, 77 assists, and 257 penalty minutes in 165 contests before graduating with the Class of 1990.

Dahl spent the 1990-91 season in Montreal’s minor league system, between the ECHL Winston-Salem Thunderbirds (36 games, seven goals, 17 assists, 58 PiM) and the AHL Fredericton Canadiens (32 games, one goal, 15 assists, 45 PiM). The following season was spent mostly with Team Canada, where he totaled four goals and 15 assists in 53 games of international play. Unsigned by Montreal, he inked a free agent deal with the Flames on July 27th, 1991.

1992-93 would see Dahl make his NHL debut with Calgary. In 61 games he scored twice on 40 shots with nine helpers, a plus-9 rating and 56 penalty minutes for the 43-30-11 Flames, who finished second in the Smythe Division. On October 20th, he earned two assists as the Flames defeated the Los Angeles Kings, 6-2. He scored his first goal on November 12th, in a loss to the Boston Bruins, 5-3. The postseason would see the team bow out in six against the Kings in the opening round. Dahl had two assists and eight penalty minutes.

In 1993-94, Dahl was limited to 33 NHL games with the Flames. He went scoreless on 20 shots, with three assists, a minus-2 rating and 23 penalty minutes. None of his points were earned after October. The Flames went 42-29-13 through the regular season, earning the Pacific Division title before losing in seven games to the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round.

1994-95 would see Dahl score a career high four goals for the Flames on 30 shots in 34 games. He also pitched in with eight assists, earned a plus-8 rating, and spent 38 minutes in the sin bin. He dished out two helpers on February 11th, in a 6-0 blanking of the Dallas Stars. Calgary again won a division title, with a 24-17-7 record, but again lost in the opening round, in seven games to the San Jose Sharks.

Dahl appeared in 32 Flames contests in 1995-96, scoring one goal on 17 shots along with a single assist, a minus-2 rating and 26 penalty minutes. His goal was a game winner, in a 4-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on January 17th. Calgary finished at 34-37-11, but still finished second in the Pacific Division. They were swept in the opening round by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dahl joined the Phoenix Coyotes for the 1996-97 season, totaling two games with the NHL club. Most of the year was spent with the IHL Las Vegas Thunder (73 games, 10 goals, 21 assists, 101 PiM). He resigned with the Flames after the season.

In 1997-98, Dahl played 45 games with the Chicago Wolves, scoring eight goals with nine assists and 61 penalty minutes. His time with the Flames was limited to 19 games. He went scoreless on 17 shots, earned one assist, posted a minus-3 rating, and spent six minutes in the penalty box. The Flames finished the season with a 26-41-15 record.

Dahl would go on to play with the Toronto Maple Leafs (three games, zero goals, zero assists, two PiM), the Wolves (133 games, six goals, 14 assists, 168 PiM), the Columbus Blue Jackets (four games, zero goals, zero assists, two PiM), and the Nuermberg Ice Tigers (126 games, eight goals, 34 assists, 235 PiM).

All-Time Statline: 179 games, seven goals, 22 assists, plus-10 rating, 149 penalty minutes, 7.81 point shares.

118. Mel Bridgman

Bridgman, born on April 28th, 1955, was a 6', 190 lb. center. The native of Trenton, Ontario was the first overall selection in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft, by the Philadelphia Flyers. He was also chosen fourth overall in the WHA Amateur Draft, by the Denver Spurs.

Bridgman earned a lot of notice in his final two seasons with the WCHL’s Victoria Cougars, where he compiled 92 goals and 120 assists in 128 games, also earning 324 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut with the Flyers on opening day in 1975, and spent nearly half of his career in Philadelphia (462 games, 119 goals, 205 assists, 971 PiM). On November 11th, 1981, the Flyers traded him to Calgary for Brad Marsh.

After joining the Flames, Bridgman played in 63 games for Calgary. He scored a team-fourth 26 goals on 141 shots with a team-third 49 assists, a team-second plus-16 rating, and a team-fifth 94 penalty minutes. He had two shorthanded markers and three game winners. The Flames stumbled along to a 29-34-17 record, but made the playoffs as the Smythe Division’s third seed. The Vancouver Canucks eliminated the Flames in three straight. Bridgman scored twice, leading the team.

In 1982-83, six Flames played in every contest, Bridgman tied for seventh on the club by playing in 79 of the 80 contests. He lit the lamp 19 times on 131 shots, good for fourth on the team, along with a team-seventh 31 assists. He had a minus-1 rating and a team-fourth 103 penalty minutes. Calgary finished second in the Smythe at 32-34-14, and defeated the Canucks in four games in the opening round. They were eliminated in the Division Finals in five by the Edmonton Oilers. Bridgman scored three times with four assists in the nine games to bring his Flames’ career to a close. According to Wikipedia:

Throughout his career Bridgman was known as a consistent offensive contributor, a smart defensive center, and a gritty, hard-nosed, power forward who would check and drop the gloves with regularity.

Soon after the season ended, the Flames traded Bridgman to the New Jersey Devils with Phil Russell for Steve Tambellini and Joel Quenneville. Bridgman went on to play with the Devils (288 games, 76 goals, 148 assists, 386 PiM), the Detroit Red Wings (70 games, eight goals, 13 assists, 61 PiM), and the Canucks (15 games, four goals, three assists, 10 PiM).

All-Time Statline: 142 games, 45 goals, 80 assists, plus-15 rating, 197 penalty minutes, 7.87 point shares.