There are just some numbers in Flames history that don’t present you with the obvious choice or even multiple choices. The #32 is one of those. Truthfully, it should have been Jon Gillies based on potential alone, but the hip injury during his first year in Stockton completely changed his career trajectory. And after that it came down to a numbers versus tenure versus contributions and we finally had a player for this number (for seven straight seasons a different player wore 32). Toni Lydman.
The Flames would draft the Finnish defenceman in the fourth round of the 1996 NHL Draft. He would play four years over seas in SM-liiga before making it to Calgary for the 2000-01 season. From that point on he would prove to be a very serviceable defenceman, pretty much what you would expect out of a fourth round pick. He would never play less than 60 games for the Flames, with his career best with Calgary being 81 in 2002-03. His best point totals while in Calgary would come in the 2001-02 campaign where he would put up 28 points, collecting career high in goals (6) and assists (22). During the Flames Stanley Cup run in 2003-04, Lydman would play in 67 regular season games tallying up 20 points, but would only manage to see the ice during the post season six times due to injury. Which was a rarity for a player who had become a reliable blue liner during his time with the Flames.
After the lockout of the 2004-05 season, the Flames traded Lydman to the Buffalo Sabres for a third round pick and he would play five seasons there. He would finish up his career in Anaheim after a three year stint with the Ducks and ultimately retire after the 2012-13 season.
He would finish his Flames career having played in 289 games, scoring 19 times and handing out 74 assists. The 19 goals he scored while in Calgary were the most he scored with any franchise in the NHL.
Other Players Having Worn #32 In Flames History
Pierre Rioux (1983), Danny Bolduc (1984), Bruce Eakin (1985), Rik Wilson (1986), Gary Roberts (1987), Kari Eloranta (1987), Brian Glynn (1988-90), Rick Lessard (1991), Darryl Olsen (1992), Chris Lindberg (1992-93), Mike Sullivan (1994-97), Cale Hulse (1998-2006), Lee Sorochan (2000), Paul Byron (2012-15), Niklas Backstrom (2016), Jon Gillies (2017-20)
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Is Toni Lydman the best Flames player to wear the #32?
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