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Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter CXXXIX: 8. Joe Nieuwendyk

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With 314 goals scored while in a Flames sweater, Calder Trophy, King Clancy, Smythe Trophy, Stanley Cup winner and Hall-of-Famer Joe Nieuwendyk finds himself at number eight on our countdown.

8. Joe Nieuwendyk

Joe Nieuwendyk was a 6’1", 195 lb. center from Oshawa, Ontario. Born on September 10th, 1966, he played three seasons of collegiate hockey with Cornell University. In 73 contests over three seasons with the Big Red, he totaled 68 goals and 71 assists. After his freshman season, the Flames selected him in the second round of the 1985 NHL Entry Draft with the 27th selection overall. On March 10th, 1987, he made his NHL debut with Calgary, scoring his first goal in a 6-3 win against the Washington Capitals. He totaled five goals and an assist in nine contests to close out the season. The team finished at 46-31-3, scoring twice with two assists in a six game series loss against the Winnipeg Jets.

In 1987-88, Nieuwendyk won the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the Rookie of the Year. He also finished third in the running for the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded for sportsmanship. He played in 75 games (not including his first all-star contest) and scored what would remain his career high with an NHL-fifth 51 goals on 212 shots. He added 41 assists for a team-third 92 points, with a plus-20 rating and 23 penalty minutes.  His eight game winning goals ranked first on the team, and his 31 power play markers led the NHL. He had 22 multi-point games, including 13 where he totaled three or more points, finishing the year with a team-sixth 8.7 point shares. He had his first hat trick in the sixth game of the year, and his 15th career NHL game on October 18th in a 6-5 loss to the Boston Bruins. It was one of four hat tricks he racked up on the season. He scored 34 points in a 16 game point streak from December 13th through January 21st, with 20 goals (including two hat tricks) and 14 assists. Calgary completed the campaign at 48-23-9, earning 105 points and a Smythe Division title. They defeated the Los Angeles Kings in five games before getting swept out of the second round by the Edmonton Oilers. Nieuwendyk scored three goals and four assists in eight games.

1988-89 would see Nieuwendyk continue his assault on NHL goaltenders, again totaling an NHL-fifth 51 goals on 215 shots. He added 31 assists for a team-fourth 82 points, with a plus-26 rating and 40 penalty minutes. He led the Flames with 11 game winning goals, 19 power play goals, and three shorthanded markers. He also played in his second all-star game. The talent on the Flames that season was so stacked that Nieuwendyk ranked fifth on the team with an 8.3 point share. He had 22 multi-point games, including two more hat tricks. On January 11th, he sunk five of his 12 shots on goal in an 8-3 win over the Jets. Calgary blew through the NHL’s regular season with a club record 117 points, earning the President’s Trophy at 54-17-9. The Flames earned their first Stanley Cup by defeating the Canucks, the Kings, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadiens in 22 combined games. Nieuwendyk pitched in with 10 goals and four assists, appearing in every postseason matchup.

Nieuwendyk played in 79 games for the 1989-90 Flames, scoring 45 goals on 226 shots with 50 assists for a career high and team leading 95 points. He had a team-third plus-32 rating, 40 penalty minutes, and a 9.0 point share, first amongst Calgary’s forwards. He had 26 multi-point games, 10 games of three points or more,  five four-point games, and played in his third all-star contest. He earned 19 points (nine goals and 10 assists) in a nine game point streak from October 15th through November 1st. On December 14th, he earned another hat trick, scoring three times with an assist in an 8-2 win over the Quebec Nordiques. Calgary earned another division crown with a 42-23-15 record before losing in the first round of the postseason to the Kings in six games. Nieuwendyk led the team with 10 points, on four goals and six assists.

In 1990-91, Nieuwendyk played in 79 games for Calgary, scoring 45 goals on 222 shots with 40 assists, ranking third with 85 points overall. He also totaled a plus-19 rating and 36 penalty minutes. He led the team with 22 power play goals, and was fourth on the club with 8.4 point shares. He had two dozen multi-point games, including six games with three or more. On October 27th, he scored two goals and three helpers in a 9-4 win over the Washington Capitals. He had a goal and three assists on November 8th, as the Flames defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 8-2. The team earned 100 points and a second place finish in the Smythe Division with a 46-26-8 record. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Oilers in seven games. Nieuwendyk scored four goals and an assist through the series.

1991-92 would see Nieuwendyk score 22 goals on 137 shots, with 34 assists for a team-fifth 56 points. He finished the season with the only negative plus/minus rating of his Flames career, at minus-1. He earned 55 penalty minutes, and only 4.1 point shares. He had 17 multipoint games, including on December 29th, when he tallied two assists and scored the game winner in a 6-2 win over Los Angeles. Calgary completed the circuit with a disappointing 31-37-12 record, missing the playoffs for the first time in 17 seasons.

Nieuwendyk totaled a Flames-fifth 75 points in 1992-93, rebounding from his down season with 38 goals on 208 shots with 37 assists, a plus-9 rating and 52 penalty minutes. He led the club with six game winning goals and with 14 power play markers, earning a total of 6.5 point shares. He finished with multiple points 21 times. He netted a hat trick on November 2nd, as the Flames set down the Canucks 5-3. On April 9th, he scored twice with three assists in an 8-1 win over Vancouver. The Flames posted a Smythe Division second best 43-30-11 record, then lost to the Kings in the first round of the playoffs, four-games-to-two. Nieuwendyk lit the lamp three times with six assists to his credit.

In 1993-94, Nieuwendyk would appear in his fourth all-star game, scoring a Flames-fifth 75 points in only 64 games. He scored 36 goals on 191 shots with 39 helpers, a plus-19 rating, and 51 penalty minutes. He was also fifth on the team with 8.2 point shares, and led the club with seven game winners. He had 17 multiple point games, with six games of three or more points. On December 14th, he scored three markers for another hat trick and added two assists in a win over Vancouver, 8-4. The Flames closed out the season at 42-29-13, then lost in the first round in seven games to the Canucks. Nieuwendyk contributed two goals and two assists.

1994-95 would see Nieuwendyk win the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, an annual award given to the NHL player demonstrating superior Leadership and Humanitarian Contribution. The season was shortened to 48 games due to the lockout (the first of three over the next 17 years, smh). Nieuwendyk appeared in 46 of them, scoring 21 goals on 122 shots with 29 assists, placing second on the club with 50 points. He also earned a plus-11 rating and 33 penalty minutes, ranking fourth on the club with 5.5 point shares. He totaled multiple points 17 times, and finished with three or more six times. He earned a hat trick on April 10th, in an 8-3 win against the San Jose Sharks. Calgary went 24-17-7 before bowing out of the opening round to the Sharks in seven games. Nieuwendyk had four goals and three assists in five games of the series.

Nieuwendyk started the 1995-96 campaign on the Flames inactive roster as he held out for a better contract. On December 19th, Calgary traded him to the Dallas Stars for Corey Millen and Jarome Iginla. Nieuwendyk played parts of seven seasons with the Stars, scoring 178 goals with 162 assists in 442 contests. He later joined the New Jersey Devils (94 games, 19 goals, 37 assists), the Toronto Maple Leafs (64 games, 22 goals, 28 assists), and the Florida Panthers (80 games, 31 goals, 33 assists). He entered the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Class of 2011, and his #25 jersey was retired by the Flames in 2014. He currently scouts for the Carolina Hurricanes.

All-Time Statline: 577 games, 314 goals, 302 assists, plus-135 rating, 330 penalty minutes, 57.91 point shares.