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Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter XCVI: 93-91

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Tonight's recap will see our focus on center Bill Clement, defenseman Paul Baxter, and goaltender Rick Tabaracci.

Bill Clement played a combined 444 games between the Atlanta and Calgary versions of the Flames, scoring 85 goals with 139 assists.
Bill Clement played a combined 444 games between the Atlanta and Calgary versions of the Flames, scoring 85 goals with 139 assists.

93. Bill Clement

Clement, a 6'1", 194 lb. center, was born in Buckingham, Quebec on December 20th, 1950. He played three seasons of hockey at the junior level with the OHA’s Ottawa 67’s, totaling 43 goals, 83 assists, and 204 penalty minutes in 145 games. The Philadelphia Flyers selected him in the second round of the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft with the 18th overall choice.

Clement made his professional debut in the 1970-71 season with the AHL’s Quebec Aces (69 games, 19 goals, 39 assists). The following year would see him spend time between the Richmond Robins (26 games, eight goals, nine assists) and the Flyers (49 games, nine goals, 14 assists). Overall, he played four seasons with Philadelphia, totaling 53 goals and 52 assists in 229 contests. He spent most of the 1975-76 campaign with the Washington Capitals (46 games, 10 goals, 17 assists).

On January 22nd, 1976, the Caps traded Clement to the Atlanta Flames for Gerry Meehan, Jean Lemieux, and a draft choice (Greg Carroll). He played in 31 games for the Flames, with a team-10th 13 goals on 71 shots, a team leading 18.3% shot rate. He added 14 assists, a team-ninth plus-3 rating, and 29 penalty minutes. The Flames earned a 35-33-12 record, then lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs, two-games-to-zero. Clement earned an assist on Atlanta’s only goal.

Clement played in 67 games for the Flames in 1976-77, ranking seventh on the club with 17 goals on 114 shots. He tallied a team-fifth 26 helpers, earned a minus-4 rating, and spent 27 minutes in the penalty box. Calgary went 34-34-12, but drew and lost to the Kings for the second season in a row, two-games-to-one. Clement had a goal and an assist.

1977-78 would see Clement score a team-seventh 20 goals on 105 shots with a team-fourth 30 assists, along with a team-fifth plus-18 rating and 34 penalty minutes in 70 games. He led the club with three shorthanded goals. Atlanta went 34-27-19, but were swept out of the playoffs in two games by the Detroit Red Wings. Clement had no impact on the outcome, other than to earn one minor penalty.

In 1978-79, Clement scored a dozen goals on 86 shots, over 65 games. He tabbed a Flames-eighth 23 assists, a team worst minus-5 rating, and 14 penalty minutes. Atlanta finished with a 41-31-8 record, but lost the first round in two straight games to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Clement started to noticeably trail off a bit in the 1979-80 season, collecting seven goals on 51 shots with 14 assists in 64 games. He posted a minus-3 rating and 32 penalty minutes. His two short-handed goals ranked him second on the team. The Flames went 35-32-13 for their last season in Atlanta, then lost in the first round to the New York Rangers three-games-to-one.

The Flames moved to Calgary during the 1980 offseason, and Clement remained with them. He scored 12 goals on 94 shots in a team fifth 78 games. He assisted on 20 other goals and racked up a team-worst minus-16 rating with 33 penalty minutes. The Flames finished the season with a 39-27-14 record, then defeated the Chicago Black Hawks in three games and the Philadelphia Flyers in seven before losing in six to the Minnesota North Stars.

1981-82 would be Clement’s last season in the NHL. He played in 69 of Calgary’s games (team ninth), scoring four goals on 56 shots with 12 assists, a minus-2 rating and 28 penalty minutes. The team went 29-34-17, then lost in the first round of the postseason to the Canucks in three games. He has been in broadcasting ever since.

All-Time Statline: 444 games, 85 goals, 139 assists, minus-3 rating, 197 penalty minutes, 11.17 points shares.

92. Paul Baxter

Baxter, born on October 28th, 1955 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was a 5'11", 189 lb. defenseman. He earned his chops between three junior level clubs in Winnipeg between 1972-74, with the WCHL Jets and Clubs, and the MJHL Monarchs. The WHA’s Cleveland Crusaders chose him in the first round of the 1974 Amateur Draft with the 11th overall selection. He played five games with Cleveland that season, earning 37 penalty minutes and zero points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins chose Baxter in the third round of the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft with the 49th overall selection, but he chose to remain with the Crusaders, where he tallied three goals with seven assists and 201 penalty minutes during the 1975-76 campaign. He then joined the Quebec Nordiques for four seasons, for three more WHA seasons and one after the Nordiques joined the NHL. In 279 games, he scored 29 markers with 95 assists and 869 penalty minutes. He then finally joined Pittsburgh for three seasons (202 games, 25 goals, 69 assists, 851 PiM). He led the NHL with an incredible 409 penalty minutes in 1981-82.

On September 29th, 1983, the Flames signed Baxter to a free agent contract. That first season would see him play in a team-fifth 74 contests, with seven goals on 87 shots and 20 helpers. He earned a minus-1 rating and a team-leading 182 penalty minutes. The Flames finished the season with a 34-32-14 record, defeating the Vancouver Canucks in four contests then losing in seven to the Edmonton Oilers. Baxter had two assists and 37 penalty minutes, appearing in each of Calgary’s 11 games.

In 1984-85, Baxter played in 70 games for the Flames, ranking 10th on the club. He kicked in with five goals on 83 shots with 14 assists, a team-second plus-39 rating, and a team-third 126 penalty minutes. The 41-37-12 Flames went on to lose the best-of-five opening round in four games to the Winnipeg Jets. Baxter had an assist and 18 penalty minutes in the series.

Baxter would see his playing time limited due to injury in 1985-86 to 47 contest, in which he tallied four goals on 41 shots with three assists, a plus-5 rating and a Flames-fourth 194 penalty minutes. Calgary got all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals that season, making short work of the Jets before requiring seven games apiece to dispatch the Oilers and the St. Louis Blues. The Montreal Canadiens defeated Calgary in five. Baxter appeared in 13 of the contests, earning one assist and 55 penalty minutes.

1986-87 would be Baxter’s last season in the NHL. He appeared in just 18 games, earning two assists and going goalless on 13 shots. He also totaled a minus-5 rating with 66 penalty minutes. He went into coaching after his retirement, and will be entering his fourth season with the NAHL’s Wichita Falls Wildcats this coming year.

All-Time Statline: 209 games, 16 goals, 39 assists, plus-38 rating, 568 penalty minutes, 11.26 point shares.

91. Rick Tabaracci

Tabaracci, a 5'11", 190 lb. goaltender, was born in Toronto, Ontario on January 2nd, 1969. He went 23-32-3 with a 5.20 goals against average in 1986-87 with the OHL’s Cornwall Royals. Despite his high GAA (which was commonplace at the time), the Pittsburgh Penguins spent a second round selection on him, drafting him 26th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. He spent most of the next two seasons honing his craft with the Royals, going 57-38-11 with a 3.80 GAA.

Before making his way to Calgary, Tabaracci appeared professionally with the Muskegon Lumberjacks (one playoff game), the Penguins (0-0-0), the AHL’s Moncton Hawks (26-32-7), the IHL’s Fort Wayne Komets (8-9-1), the Winnipeg Jets (15-26-7), the Washington Capitals (21-31-7), the AHL’s Portland Pirates (3-0-0), and the IHL’s Chicago Wolves (1-1-0).

On April 7th, 1995, the Caps traded Tabaracci to the Flames for a draft choice (Joel Cort). He appeared in five games down the stretch for Calgary, going 2-0-1 backing up 22-year-old Trevor Kidd. In his first start, on April 12th, he stopped 31-of-32 Kings shots in a 4-1 victory over Los Angeles. He also defeated Los Angeles in his second start just five days later, stopping 27 shots in a 5-2 win. Calgary’s 24-17-7 record got them into the playoffs, but the San Jose Sharks took them out in seven contests. Tabaracci stopped all nine shots that he faced in relief, but didn’t earn any decisions.

In 1995-96, Tabaracci posted a 19-16-3 record with a 2.94 GAA and an .892 save percentage while sharing number one goaltender duties with Kidd. On January 6th, he stopped all 20 Panthers’ shots in a 2-0 blanking of Florida. On March 27th, he turned aside 29-of-29 shots in a 1-0 struggle against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flames eventually closed the season with a 34-37-11 record, then lost in four straight in the first round of the playoffs against Chicago. He went 0-3 in the postseason against them, allowing seven goals on 84 shots.

1996-97 would see Tabaracci go 2-4-0 in seven games for Calgary, with a 2.33 GAA and a 91% save success rate. In his first start of the season, he shut out the Buffalo Sabres on 19 shots, to earn a 3-0 victory on October 6th. On November 19th, the Flames traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Aaron Gavey. Tabaracci went 20-25-6, .902, 2.75 in 55 contests as the Bolts number one goaltender. After the season, they traded him back to the Flames for a draft pick (Eric Beaudoin).

Tabaracci was the Flames nominal number one goaltender in 1997-98, when he played in 42 games and went 13-22-6, .893, 2.88. From December 9th through the 12th, he went 3-0, stopping 82-of-85 shots. On March 20th, he did his part for the win by turning aside 31-of-32 shots as the Flames topped the New York Islanders, 4-1. After the season, the Flames traded him to the Washington Capitals for "future considerations."

Tabaracci played two seasons after leaving the Flames, with the Caps (4-12-3), the Atlanta Thrashers (0-1-0), and the Colorado Avalanche (1-0-0).

All-Time Statline: 97 games, 36-42-10, four shutouts, 2422 shots faced, 2170 saves, .896 save percentage, 2.81 goals against average, 11.41 point shares.