As we pick players for these numbers, it’s easy to select the Flames legends because they are obvious. Sometimes it’s based on impact on the franchise. Sometimes it’s a fan favourite. Sometimes it’s just who’s there and fills the void. Well, #44 checks all the boxes, with the exception of the last one because he was a meaningful and impact player for the early 2000’s Flames. And that player, for #44, is former Flames defenceman Rhett Warrener.
Warrener was an already established NHL regular who had been to the Stanley Cup Finals twice already when he joined the Flames in the summer of 2003 by way of a trade. In his eight prior seasons between Florida and Buffalo Warrener had a reputation as a solid defender, a durable player (only two seasons with less than 50 GP) and someone who showed up in the playoffs. As a matter of fact, Warrener went to the Cup Finals in his first season with Florida and in his first season in Buffalo. Guess where he went in 2003?
In his first season with the Flames Rhett Warrener continued his trend of being a durable and reliable player, suiting up in 77 games and collecting 17 points, the second best totals of his career. His physical prowess on the ice was on display as well, collecting 97 PIM, the third highest total of his NHL career. He was also an impact player in the 2003-04 playoffs, playing in 24 games on the way to his third Stanley Cup Finals appearance with a team in his first season with them. Ultimately the Flames would lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in the Finals, but Warrener would play significant minutes, collect an assist and be the steadying presence he was all year in the defensive end.
Warrener’s next two seasons in Calgary would see him play in 60+ games in both campaigns, but he would only collect 16 points total between the 123 games. But as was the case in his prior seven seasons he would be a plus player in those two years, again providing quality defence for the Flames.
Rhett Warrener’s final season in Calgary (2007-08) would be an injury plagued season, playing in only 31 games, the lowest total of his career since his rookie year of 1995-96. He would also miss out on his final chance at the NHL Playoffs as the Flames would make the post season, but be eliminated by the San Jose Sharks after only one round. The Flames and Warrener would part ways after that season with Calgary placing him on waivers, then on IR with the defenceman missing the entire 2008-09 season leading to Warrener’s retirement.
In four seasons with the Flames Rhett Warrener would play in 231 games, score 11 goals and dish out 26 assists. All of those totals would be the second best numbers of his 12 year NHL career and he would play in 37 playoff games as well, second best to his time in Buffalo. He was the Flames King Clancy nominee in 2008 and for his off ice efforts he was awarded the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award in both 2006 and 2007.
After retiring Warrener stay on with the Flames as a scout for a bit and is very active in the Calgary community with KidSport, the Alberta Children’s Hospital and various charities. You may also recognize him from his radio co-hosting duties on SportsNet 960 The Fan during the Boomer In The Morning Show.
Other Players Having Worn #44 In Flames History
Jonas Hoglund (1997-98), Rico Fata (1999), Rob Niedermayer (2002-03), Aaron Johnson (2010), Stefan Meyer (2011), Chris Butler (2012-14), Matt Bartkowski (2017-18)
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