5 random players you forgot were on the Calgary Flames

Curtis Joseph, Calgary Flames. (Photo Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)
Curtis Joseph, Calgary Flames. (Photo Mike Ridewood/Getty Images) /
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The first captains of two NHL teams, an elite enforcer, and a stalwart veteran goalie are some of the most easily forgotten Atlanta/Calgary Flames alumni.

Peruse the Atlanta/Calgary Flames year-to-year results log, and the look of a table-scraps dependent develops.

The franchise’s formative years in Georgia yielded zero breaks out of the first round of the playoffs. Save a Cinderella run to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final and a Pacific Division semifinal victory in 2015, the last three decades in Alberta have rivaled the Southern sad-sack ’70s.

In between, the Flames did get some savory sparks to punctuate their change of scenery. A pair of Cup final runs in 1986 and 1989 (the latter culminating in a banner) saw them disrupt provincial rival Edmonton’s dynasty and inflict a dent on the tradition-rich Montreal Canadiens.

With that said, the Oilers won five Cups from 1984 to 1990. Meanwhile, the Habs snuffed the Flames in that 1986 final, then won another title in 1993.

So of course, when one sifts through the Atlanta/Calgary all-time roster, the not so obvious names are synonymous with successful eras or time-honored brands in other NHL markets. For every Al MacInnis, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Vernon, Jarome Iginla, and Miikka Kiprusoff, there is someone who came through the Flames on a fleeting basis between or after stretches of glory.

Take the following quintet for example.

Tom Chorske
Tom Chorske /

5. Tom Chorske

Calgary represents sour symmetry in Chorske’s career. It was where he agonizingly missed out on the ultimate international amateur tournament, then had his shortest-lived attempt to stick with an NHL team.

While a student-athlete at the University of Minnesota and first-round draft choice of the Canadiens, Chorske tried out for the 1988 U.S. Olympic team. A roster spot would have meant a ticket to the tournament at the Saddledome, but he was the last candidate cut from the tune-up tour.

Bouncing back from that setback, Chorske finished his run with the Gophers, then spent two years in Montreal’s system, playing the majority of 1990-91 in The Show. The next seven years in three other cities constituted the memorable middle of his career.

Though never a top-tier scorer, Chorske at least cracked consistent double digits in the Devils, Senators, and Islanders goal columns from 1991 to 1998. With New Jersey, he chipped in a little depth on long playoff runs in 1994 and 1995.

On Long Island, Chorske came close to matching his career scoring highs from four years earlier. Seeing action in all 82 games in 1997-98, he posted 12 goals (including four shorthanded) and 23 helpers for 35 points, six shy of his personal single-season watermark.

But the next year, health issues hampered him, and he had trouble starting anew. Over that season, he accumulated 26 outings for the Islanders, Capitals, and Flames.

With the Flames, Chorske had his shortest and least eventful of an eventual six NHL stops. He managed a mere seven games and was held scoreless in Calgary attire.