There’s been some quality players to wear the #24 over the years in Calgary. You could argue for Iggy’s one season with 24 on his back. There’s Craig Conroy in his second run with the Flames. My personal favourite, Jiri Hudler (MY MAN HUDLER!). Or even someone as recent as Travis Hamonic. All really good Flames players who’ve worn the #24. But none of them wore it as long or as well as former Flames Captain Jim Peplinski.
Peplinski was drafted by the Atlanta Flames in the 4th round of the 1979 NHL draft (same draft as Paul Reinhart, not a bad draft so far eh?) and would make his NHL debut after the team moved from Atlanta to Calgary for the 1980-81 season. In his rookie season Pep would play in 80 games and amass 38 points and the first 100+ PIM season of his career (he’d have 9 of those with 89’s 241 being his highest). His 38 points were good enough to finish 9th on the team is scoring for the season.
His best NHL regular season would come the following year, his sophomore campaign with the Flames. He would play in his second lowest game total of his career (74), but end up putting up the best goal and assist numbers of his 11 year career. His 30 goals and 37 assists would be his high water mark, but it was a disappointing end to the season as Calgary wouldn’t get far in the playoffs, getting swept 3-0 by the Vancouver Canucks.
Peplinski would Captain the Flames during their two Stanley Cup Finals runs in both 1985-86 and 1988-89. He would put up the first of three straight 50+ point seasons as the Flames went to the Finals in 1985-86, losing to the Canadiens 4-1. During that post season the Flames Captain would log 22 games, score five times and collect nine assists. His 1988-89 season 38 points was the lowest of his career since 1983-84 where he only had 33, but he was durable, playing in 79 regular season games and another 20 in the post season (7 points), en route to his one and only Stanley Cup Championship. Peplinski, like Tim Hunter, was a passenger during Game 6 as he watched the Flames hoist the Cup for the first time.
Peplinski would start the 1989-90 season, but retire after only six games and at the time as the leader in games played in franchise history (705). He attempted a brief comeback in 1996, but once again walked away from the game after only six contests.
Peplinski played for the Flames for 11 seasons total and only the Calgary Flames. He would finish his career with 705 games played, 161 goals, 263 assists and 1,467 penalty minutes. He was also known for being remarkably healthy, playing in 70+ games every year up until the 1989-90 season. Which is a miracle seeing how hard he and those Flames teams played in the 80’s. His 705 games played is now 7th all time in franchise history and his 1,467 minutes spent in the bin is 4th all time in franchise history.
After he retired, Peplinski would spend time as an analyst on Hockey Night In Canada, he opened a small fleet vehicle leasing company, has been involved with the Special Olympics, Big Brother Canada and was the organizer of the alumni game at the 2011 Heritage Classic between the Flames and Canadiens.
Other Players Having Worn #24 In Flames History
Kerry Ketter (1973), Don Martineau (1974), Dean Talafous (1975), Ken Houston (1976), Cam Botting (1976), Harold Phillipoff (1978-79), Serge Beaudoin (1980), Gord Wappel (1980), Jarome Iginla (1996), Jim Wiemer (1998-2006), Denis Gauthier (1998), Jukka Hentunen (2002), Blake Sloan (2002-03), Ville Nieminen (2004), Jamie Lundmark (2006-07), Craig Conroy (2007-11), Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (2012), Jiri Hudler (2013-16), Travis Hamonic (2018-20)
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Is Jim Peplinski the best player in Flames history to wear the #24?
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