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Calgary Flames

Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter CXXVIII: 19. Joe Mullen

Joe Mullen, three-time Stanley Cup Champion, three-time all-star, two-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy recipient, and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.



19. Joe Mullen

Mullen, a 5’9", 180 lb. right winger, was born in New York, New York on February 26th, 1957. He grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, and started playing roller hockey at the age of five. Eventually, he found his way to Boston College, where he scored 110 goals and 102 assists in 111 games for the Eagles, graduating with the Class of 1979. Despite averaging nearly two points per game, he went undrafted.

Mullen started playing at the professional level with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles in 1979-80, earning the CHL Rookie of the Year honors by scoring 40 times with 32 assists in 75 games. He made his NHL debut with the Blues in the postseason, appearing in a single game but not making an impact on the scoresheet. He was the CHL’s most valuable player the following season, with 59 markers and 58 helpers in 80 contests.

After 48 points in 27 CHL games with the Golden Eagles in 1981-82, Mullen joined the NHL for good. He played parts of five regular seasons for the Blues, totaling 151 goals and 184 assists in 301 games. The Blues sent him to the Flames with Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson for Eddy Beers, Charles Bourgeois, and Gino Cavallini on February 1st.

The second half of the 1985-86 season would see Mullen produce excellent numbers for Calgary. He scored 16 goals on just 61 shots (a 26.2% clip) with 22 assists, leading the team with four game winning markers in 28 contests. He finished the season with a plus-2 rating and 11 penalty minutes. The Flames went 40-31-9 and finished in second place in the Smythe Division. They defeated the Winnipeg Jets in three straight, then took care of the Edmonton Oilers and the St. Louis Blues in seven games each before losing in five to the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. Mullen scored a team leading 12 goals through the postseason, along with seven assists for a team-lead-tying 19 points.

Mullen continued his high-scoring ways for his first full season in Calgary, 1986-87. He ranked seventh in the NHL and led the team with 47 goals, scoring on 22.8% of his 206 shots over 79 games. He registered a plus-18 rating and collected a mind-numbing 14 penalty minutes, allowing him to take home the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. His 12 game winning markers led the NHL, and tripled the next guy down the Flames leaderboard (Steve Bozek had four). Far and away Calgary’s best forward with an 8.3 point share, he finished third on the team overall behind defenseman Al MacInnis (10.1) and goaltender Mike Vernon (8.7), but more on them in two weeks. The Flames posted a 46-31-3 record to again finish second in the Smythe, but dropped their first round matchup to the Jets in six contests. Mullen scored twice with a single assist through the series.

1987-88 would see Mullen again average over a point per game, one of six Flames to do so (that’s not even counting Brett Hull). He played in all 80 games and scored 40 goals on 205 shots, a 19.5% shot percentage. He also earned 44 assists went plus-28 with 30 penalty minutes and collected a team-second five game winning goals. His 7.4 point shares, though impressive, only ranked seventh on the Flames. He had 21 multi point games. On December 13th, he made four assists as the Flames defeated the Los Angeles Kings 10-7. 10 days later, he scored and dished out two assists in a 9-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. In a 5-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks on February 26th, he again scored a goal with two helpers. The Flames cruised through the regular season with a 48-23-9 record, then eliminated the Kings in the first round in five games before getting swept by the Oilers. Mullen scored twice with four assists in seven games.

In 1988-89, Mullen had the best offensive season of his considerable career. He led the team in scoring (no short order while with this bunch). He totaled a career high and NHL seventh 110 points, scoring 51 goals on 18.9% shooting, taking 270 shots on goal, leading the club’s skaters with an 11.0 point shares. He also earned 59 assists, an NHL leading plus-51 rating, and only 16 penalty minutes over 79 games. He had 28 multi point game, including 16 times with three or more points. On November 5th, he scored three goals with an assist in a 9-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres. On January 5th, he scored four times with a pair of assists in an 8-6 victory over the Kings. He again scored four goals in a 7-5 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 26th. He was selected to his first all-star game, earned his second Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, and was chosen as an NHL first-team all-star. Calgary finished with a franchise record 117 points, winning the President’s Trophy with a 54-17-9 record. They lost a total of six games through the four Stanley Cup Playoff series, defeating the Habs four-games-to-two for the title. Mullen scored a team leading 16 goals with eight assists, ranking second on the club with 24 points.

Mullen’s last season with the Flames would see him average less than a point per game for the first time while with the team. He scored 36 goals on 236 shots along with 33 assists in 78 games. He registered a plus-6 rating, 24 penalty minutes, and a team-second five game winning goals, and played in his second all-star game. On February 22nd, he scored a hat trick and a pair of assists in a 12-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The club went 43-23-15, winning the Smythe Division Title. They lost to Los Angeles in six games to open the postseason. Mullen had three goals.

During the 1990 offseason, the Flames traded Mullen to the Penguins for a draft pick (Nicolas Perreault). This was a mistake, as Mullen played six of the next seven seasons with the Pens. He scored a total of 153 goals with 172 assists over 379 games, with a one season break with the Boston Bruins (37 games, eight goals, seven assists). He joined the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Class of 2000.

All-Time Statline: 345 games, 190 goals, 198 assists, plus-105 rating, 95 penalty minutes, 35.83 point shares.

by Kevin Kraczkowski