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Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter XCIV: 99-97

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Tonight's recap focuses on original Flames Bobby Leiter and Larry Romanchych, as well as more recent (and two-time) Flame Cale Hulse.

Larry Romanchych played a part in the Flames' first five seasons of existence, scoring 68 goals with 95 assists.
Larry Romanchych played a part in the Flames' first five seasons of existence, scoring 68 goals with 95 assists.

99. Cale Hulse

Hulse, a 6'3", 220 lb. defenseman from Edmonton, Alberta, was born on November 10th, 1973. He scored four goals with 18 assists and a bruising 250 penalty minutes with the Portland Winter Hawks in 1991-92, in the WHL. He was hard to ignore, and the New Jersey Devils proved it by choosing him in the third round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft with the 66th overall selection. He played another year in Portland (72 games, 10 goals, 26 assists, 284 PiM) before turning pro.

In 1993-94, Hulse made his first professional appearance with the Albany River Rats (198 games, 16 goals, 50 assists, 685 PiM), joining the Devils for his first look at the top level in December, 1995 (eight games, zero points, 15 PiM). On February 26th, 1996 the Devils traded him to the Flames with Tommy Albelin and Jocelyn Lemieux for Phil Housley and Dan Keczmer. Hulse went scoreless in three games for Calgary, with a plus-3 rating and five penalty minutes. He also played 13 games with the Saint John Flames, scoring twice with seven assists and 39 penalty minutes. He played in one playoff game for the Flames following the regular season. It would be his only career NHL postseason appearance.

1996-97 would see Hulse play his first full season at the NHL level with the Flames. He appeared in 63 games and scored one goal on 58 shots with six assists, a minus-2 rating and 91 penalty minutes. On February 7th, he tallied two assists in a 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals. His only goal of the season was on March 29th, a shorthanded marker in a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Calgary went 32-41-9 on the season, finishing in fifth place in the Pacific Division.

Hulse ranked fourth on the Flames in 1997-98 with 79 appearances. He scored five times on 117 shots with a team-fifth 22 assists, a plus-1 rating, and a team-third 169 penalty minutes. On November 9th, he scored twice, including a shorty in a 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. The Flames went 26-41-15, which stands as the worst record in the history of the franchise.

In 1998-99, Hulse played 16:38 per night, appearing in a team-seventh 73 games. He scored three times on 83 shots with nine assists, a minus-8 rating, and a team-third 117 penalty minutes. On February 26th, he assisted on both Calgary goals in a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. The Flames finished the season with a 30-40-12 record, good enough for a third place finish in the NHL’s Northwest Division.

1999-00 would see Hulse average 12:38 over his 47 NHL appearances with Calgary. He scored once on 41 shots with six helpers, a minus-11 rating, and 47 penalty minutes. He tallied his only marker of the season on December 10th, in a 3-2 win over the Canucks. The Flames went 31-36-10-5 that year, finishing fourth in the Northwest Division. Hulse was traded to the Nashville Predators on March 14th, with a draft pick (Denis Platonov) for Sergei Krivokrasov.

Hulse played with the Preds (225 games, three goals, 15 assists, 370 PiM), also making time with the Phoenix Coyotes (82 games, three goals, 17 assists, 123 PiM), and the Columbus Blue Jackets (27 games, zero goals, three assists, 43 PiM). The Jackets traded him back to the Flames on February 28th, 2006 for Cam Severson.

Hulse appeared in a dozen games for the Flames to close out the 2005-06 season, earning a single assist, a plus-1 rating, and 20 penalty minutes. He is married to actress Gena Lee Nolin, with whom he has two children. The two also each have a child from prior marriages.

All-Time Statline: 277 games, 10 goals, 44 assists, minus-16 rating, 449 penalty minutes, 10.36 point shares.

98. Larry Romanchych

Romanchych was born on September 7th, 1949 in Vancouver, British Columbia. A 6’1", 180 lb. right winger, he was picked by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft with the 24th overall selection after playing one season with the Flin Flon Bombers in the WCHL. Over his first three professional seasons, he appeared mostly with the CHL’s Dallas Black Hawks, scoring 60 goals and 69 assists in 182 games. He also totaled two assists in 10 games with Chicago in 1970-71.

On June 6th, 1972, the Flames made Romanchych a charter member of the club when they chose him in the NHL’s Expansion Draft. He played in 70 games for the Flames maiden voyage, ranking fourth on the club with 18 goals on 157 shots and a team-second and career high 30 assists. He tallied a minus-11 rating and a team-eighth 39 penalty minutes. The proto-Flames posted a 25-38-15 record, which would stand as the worst mark in history until the 1997-98 campaign.

In 1973-74, Romanchych played in a career high and team-ninth 73 games. He scored a career-high and team-third 22 markers on 159 shots, with a team-second 29 helpers, a minus-7 rating, and 33 penalty minutes. The Flames were already markedly better, making their first playoff appearance after posting a 30-34-14 record. They lost in four straight games to the Philadelphia Flyers to open the postseason. Romanchych led the Flames with four points, scoring twice with two assists.

1974-75 would see Romanchych held to 53 games due to injury. He tallied eight goals on 64 shots with a dozen assists, a minus-9 rating, and 16 minutes in the penalty box. For the first time in their history, the Flames finished with a better-than-.500 record, going 34-31-15. The Patrick Division, however, was very strong, and the Flames did not qualify for the playoffs.

Romanchych ranked seventh on the Flames in 1975-76 with 16 goals, scored on 110 shots. He played in 67 games, earning 19 assists with a minus-7 rating and eight penalty minutes. The club returned to the playoffs by posting a 35-33-12 record, but lost in the opening, best of three series to the Los Angeles Kings, two-games-to-none.

In 1976-77, Romanchych scored four times on 42 shots, with five assists in 25 contests. He tallied a minus-3 rating and earned four penalty minutes. The balance of his season was spent with the Tulsa Oilers, the Flames CHL affiliate. He scored 20 times with 28 assists in only 37 games. He played for the AHL’s Maine Mariners in 1977-78 (79 games, 17 goals, 34 assists). In 1979, he founded Crescent Moving & Storage, Ltd., based out of White Rock, British Columbia.

All-Time Statline: 288 games, 68 goals, 95 assists, minus-37 rating, 100 penalty minutes, 10.55 point shares.

97. Bobby Leiter

Leiter, a 5'9", 164 lb. center, was born on March 22nd, 1941 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Before joining the inaugural season of the Atlanta Flames in 1972-73, he played with the Winnipeg Warriors (WHL, six games, one goal, three assists), the Kingston Frontenacs (EPHL, 89 games, 39 goals, 55 assists), the Boston Bruins (135 games, 20 goals, 28 assists), the Hershey Bears (AHL, 348 games, 117 goals, 187 assists), the Cailfornia Seals (WHL, 20 games, two goals, eight assists), and the Pittsburgh Penguins (78 games, 14 goals, 17 assists).

For the Atlanta Flames, Version 1.0, Leiter led the club with 78 games played, 26 goals scored (on 174 shots), 34 assists, and 60 points. He tallied a minus-12 rating and spent 19 minutes in the penalty box. Atlanta finished with a 25-38-15 record.

Leiter again appeared in every game for the 1973-74 season in Atlanta. He repeated his lamp-lighting performance with a team-second 26 more markers (on 178 shots). He ranked fifth on the club with 26 assists, earned a minus-7 rating and 33 penalty minutes.  Atlanta made the playoffs after posting a 30-34-14 record, but lost in four games to the Philadelphia Flyers. Leiter faded away during the postseason, playing in every game but failing to impact the scoresheet other than to earn one minor penalty.

1974-75 would see Leiter’s contribution to the Flames diminish by a third, to 52 games. He lit the lamp 10 times on 96 shots with 18 assists, a minus-15 rating and eight penalty minutes. Atlanta went 34-31-15.

In 1975-76, Leiter again played in far fewer matchups than in the season just past, totaling 26 games. He had two goals on 26 shots in what would be his last NHL hurrah, with three assists, an even rating, and four penalty minutes. After getting waived by the Flames, he signed on with the Calgary Cowboys in the WHL, scoring 17 goals and 17 assists in 51 contests, retiring after the close of the season.

All-Time Statline: 234 games, 64 goals, 81 assists, minus-31 rating, 41 penalty minutes, 10.67 point shares.