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Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter CXX: 34-33

In tonight's story, we go over two historic centers, Bob MacMillan and Joel Otto.

34. Bob MacMillan

MacMillan was a 5’11", 185 lb. center from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Born on September 3rd, 1952, he played two seasons in the OHA with St. Catharines Black Hawks starting in 1970-71, scoring a total of 53 goals and 103 assists in 98 contests. The New York Rangers selected him in the first round of the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft, with the 15th overall pick. He then spent two seasons in the WHA with the Minnesota Fighting Saints, putting up 27 goals and 61 assists in 153 games.

MacMillan’s first season of NHL affiliation was spent between the Rangers (22 games, one goal, two assists) and their AHL team in Providence, the Reds (46 games, 18 goals, 29 assists). He then played parts of three seasons with the St. Louis Blues (188 games, 46 goals, 83 assists). On December 12th, 1977, the Blues traded him with Yves Belanger, Dick Redmond and a second round pick (Mike Perovich) to the Flames for Phil Myre, Barry Gibbs, and Curt Bennett.

MacMillan instantly made an impact in Atlanta, leading the team with 31 goals scored in only 52 games in 1977-78. Even more impressive, he did it only 148 shots for a team leading 20.9% shot percentage. He added 21 helpers, a team best plus-28 rating, and 26 penalty minutes. Three of his markers were game winners, and his 6.3 point shares led all skaters on the team. Atlanta finished with a strong 34-27-19 record, but lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Detroit Red Wings in two straight games. MacMillan earned two assists over the short series.

1978-79 would see MacMillan earn the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded annually to recognize good sportsmanship. In 79 games played, he led the Flames with 108 points, scoring 37 times on 194 shots with an NHL-third 71 assists. He again led the club with a plus-34 rating, and earned only 14 penalty minutes. His 9.7 point shares would prove to be a career high, and second amongst the club’s skaters (behind Guy Chouinard). The club went 41-31-8 to place fourth in the Patrick Division before losing in the first round to the Toronto Maple Leafs in two games. MacMillan played in both contests, earning one assist.

In 1979-80, MacMillan played in 77 contests, and ranked third on the team with 61 points. He lit the lamp 22 times on 164 shots with 39 assists, a plus-3 rating, and 10 penalty minutes. He led the club with three short handed goals and with four game winners. The team went 35-32-13 during the regular season to again earn a fourth place finish in the Patrick Division. They lost in the first round of the postseason to the New York Rangers, three-games-to-one. MacMillan played in all four games, going scoreless with nine penalty minutes.

MacMillan stayed with the Flames for their move to Calgary during the 1980 offseason. 1980-81 would see him score 28 goals on 162 shots with 35 assists. He ranked third on the team with a plus-18 rating and spent 47 minutes in the penalty box, and led the team with four shorthanded goals. The Flames went 39-27-14 on the season, then defeated the Chicago Black Hawks in three straight and the Philadelphia Flyers in seven before dropping the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals in six games to the Minnesota North Stars. MacMillan led the Flames with eight goals, also earning six assists while appearing in all 16 contests.

MacMillan played 23 games for Calgary in 1981-82, scoring four goals on 26 shots with seven assists, a minus-11 rating, and 14 penalty minutes. The Flames traded him with Don Lever to the Colorado Rockies for Lanny McDonald and a fourth round pick (Mikko Makela) on November 25th.

MacMillan spent the better part of three seasons with the Rockies/New Jersey Devils (199 games, 54 goals, 84 assists) before ending his career with Chicago in 1984-85 (36 games, five goals, seven assists). He served with the PEI legislature from 2000-03.

All-Time Statline: 308 games, 122 goals, 173 assists, plus-72 rating, 111 penalty minutes, 24.58 point shares.

33. Joel Otto

Otto was born on October 29th, 1961 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. A 6’4", 220 lb. center, he played college hockey with Bemidji State University. He skated with them for three seasons, totaling 84 goals and 104 assists in 99 contests.

Prior to the 1984-85 season, Otto signed a contract with the Flames through free agency. His first professional season would see him spend 56 games with the Moncton Golden Flames, where he totaled 27 goals and 36 assists. He joined the Flames for 17 contests, scoring four times on 27 shots with eight assists, a plus-3 rating, and 30 penalty minutes. The team went 41-27-12, then lost in four games to the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the playoffs. Otto scored twice with an assist and 10 penalty minutes.

1985-86 would see Otto score a career high and team-sixth 59 points on 25 goals and 34 assists. He took 147 shots on goal and posted a team-fourth plus-23 rating with a team-fifth 188 penalty minutes. He placed eighth in the season ending voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s rookie of the year. Calgary went 40-31-9 and placed second in the Smythe Division. The club defeated the Jets in three straight before eliminating the Edmonton Oilers and the St. Louis Blues in seven games each. They dropped the Stanley Cup Finals in five games to the Montreal Canadiens. Otto lit the lamp five times with 10 helpers and 80 penalty minutes through 22 games.

In 1986-87, Otto appeared in 68 games for Calgary, and scored 19 goals on 127 shots along with 31 assists to rank seventh on the club with 50 points. He went plus-8 with a team-second 185 penalty minutes. Calgary finished up at 46-31-3 before losing in the first round to the Jets, in six games. Otto earned two assists appearing in only two contests.

Otto scored 13 goals on 105 shots with a career high 39 assists in 62 games for the Flames in 1987-88. He had a plus-16 rating and a team-fourth 194 penalty minutes. He was third on the team with four game winning shots. He finished the season in contention for the Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s top defensive forward. He would rank in the top 21 for the award in nine of the next 10 seasons. He had multiple points on a dozen occasions, including March 28th, when he scored twice to include the game winner in a  7-2 win over the Blues. Calgary earned a 48-23-9 record to finish first in the Smythe Division. They defeated the Los Angeles Kings in five games before getting swept by the Oilers in four. Otto had three goals and two assists with 26 penalty minutes.

1988-89 would see Otto earn a career high and team-fourth 213 penalty minutes in 72 games. He scored 23 goals on 123 shots with 30 assists to rank eighth on the club with 53 points. He posted a plus-12 rating, and had multiple points in 12 more games. On December 1st, he earned an assist and scored the game winning marker in a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers. On New Years Eve, he scored twice with an assist in a 4-4 tie with the Jets. Calgary earned a franchise record 117 points with a 54-17-9 record. They cruised through all four rounds of the postseason to earn their first ever Stanley Cup. Otto scored six times with 13 assists and 46 penalty minutes while appearing in all 22 games.

In 1989-90, Otto appeared in 75 contests, scoring 13 goals on 96 shots with 20 assists, a plus-4 rating, and a team fifth 116 penalty minutes. On November 4th, he scored and tabbed two assists in a  7-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. On January 5th, he again scored and added two helpers as the Flames topped the Hartford Whalers, 6-4. Calgary earned a Smythe Division winning 42-23-15 record before losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Kings in six games. Otto had a pair of goals and as many assists in the series.

Otto scored 19 goals on 109 shots in 1990-91, adding 20 assists in 76 games. He uncharacteristically ranked last on the team with a minus-4 rating, and earned a team-second 183 penalty minutes. Four of his goals were game winners, including one of the two he scored on October 30th in a 4-2 win over the Devils. The team placed second in the Smythe Division with a 46-26-8 record, then lost in the first round of the playoffs in seven games to the Oilers. Otto kicked in with a goal and two assists.

1991-92 would see Otto play 78 games with Calgary, scoring 13 times on 105 shots, along with 21 assists. He earned a minus-10 rating with a team-fourth 161 penalty minutes. On December 17th, he scored a goal and two assists in a 7-4 win against the Jets. Calgary missed the postseason by going 31-37-12 through the regular season.

In 1992-93, Otto appeared in 75 games for the Flames. He scored 19 goals on 115 shots with 33 assists, a plus-2 rating, and a team-fourth 150 penalty minutes. On April 1st, he scored twice with an assist in a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota North Stars. Calgary went 43-30-11, then lost the Division Semi-Finals to the Kings in six contests. Otto had four goals and two helpers while appearing in each of the six games.

Otto played in a career high 81 games in 1993-94. His offensive output dropped significantly, with 11 goals on 108 shots and 12 assists, a minus-17 rating, and 92 penalty minutes. Despite the dropoff, he earned the first hat trick of his career on November 3rd, scoring three goals on three shots in a 6-3 win over the Hartford Whalers. Calgary won the Pacific Division with a 42-29-13 record before dropping the opening round of the playoffs in seven games to the Canucks. Otto played in three of them, earning an assist.

1994-95 would be Otto’s last season with the Flames, and would see him play in 47 of the 48 contests of the lockout-shortened season. He scored eight times on 46 shots with 13 assists, a plus-8 rating, and 130 penalty minutes. Calgary went 24-17-7 that season, then lost in the first round to the San Jose Sharks in seven games. Otto earned three assists in the seven games.

Otto signed with the Flyers through free agency during the 1995 offseason. He played three seasons with Philadelphia, scoring 28 goals with 52 assists in 213 games. He joined the Calgary Hitmen coaching staff in 2006-07 for the next four seasons. He rejoined the staff in 2012-13 and is still with the club.

All-Time Statline: 730 games, 167 goals, 261 assists, 1642 penalty minutes, 24.77 point shares.