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Flames All-Time Countdown Chapter CXXXVII: 10. Reggie Lemelin

Goaltender Reggie Lemelin ranks fourth on most goaltender categories. He racked up 144 wins over nine seasons with the Flames.



10. Reggie Lemelin

Reggie Lemelin, a 5’11″, 170 lb. goaltender, was born in Quebec City, Quebec on November 19th, 1954. He accrued a 32-33-1 record in the QMJHL with the Sherbrooke Castors, starting in 1972-73. The Philadelphia Flyers made him a seventh round draft pick with the 125th overall selection in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft.

Before making his NHL debut after signing a free agent contract to play with the Flames before the 1978-79 season, Lemelin played four seasons at the minor league level. He appeared for seven games with the Richmond Robins, and three with the Springfield Indians, but spent most of his time with the Philadelphia Firebirds racking up an 81-65-11 (incomplete) record.

1978-79 would see Lemelin allow 55 goals over 18 NHL games as a rookie. He totaled an 8-8-1 record, a 3.32 goals against average, and 2.9 point shares while backing up full-time number one Dan Bouchard. Atlanta finished the season with a 41-31-8 record. Bouchard went 0-2 in the postseason, allowing nine goals in 100 minutes on the ice in the short series sweep against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In 1979-80, Lemelin played most of his season with the CHL’s Birmingham Bulls, going 13-21-2 and stopping 88.4% of his shots faced with 3.76 goals allowed per 60 minutes on ice. He also went 0-2-0 in a short stay with the Flames, allowing 15 goals in seven and a half periods. The last version of the Atlanta Flames finished with a 35-32-13 record before losing in the first round of the postseason to the New York Rangers, three-games-to-one.

Lemelin earned a 3-8-2 record with the Bulls in 1980-81, with a 4.44 GAA and a .864 save percentage. In part time work with the relocated Flames, by then, of course in Calgary, he racked up 14 wins (including two shutouts) against six losses and seven ties. He played 1629 minutes over 29 appearances, allowing an NHL-eighth 3.24 goals per 60 minutes played. He ranked second out of the three goalies on the club with 5.5 point shares, but was first with one point share earned every 296:11. The Flames finished with a 39-27-14 record and finished third in the Patrick Division. They defeated the Chicago Black Hawks in three straight and the Philadelphia Flyers in seven before losing to the Minnesota North Stars in six. Lemelin posted a 3-3 record, allowing 22 goals in 366 minutes for a 3.61 goals against average.

In 1981-82, Lemelin spent the entire season in Calgary, the first time he didn’t make any appearances at levels below the NHL. He spent the season backing up Pat Riggin. He appeared in 34 games, collecting 10 victories and six ties against 15 losses. He allowed 135 goals in 1866 minutes for a 4.34 goals against average and collected 4.2 point shares. The Flames went 29-34-17, but made the postseason anyway by finishing third in the Smythe Division. The Vancouver Canucks defeated them in three straight games to open the playoffs. Lemelin did not appear.

1982-83 would see Lemelin and Don Edwards co-manning the number one goaltender position, with Lemelin earning a two minute edge in time on ice, 2211-to-2209. He eared a 16-12-8 record, earning a best-amongst-Flames-goaltenders and team-fourth 6.5 point shares. He allowed 133 goals in his 39 appearances, good for a 3.61 goals against average. Calgary went 32-34-14, finishing second in the Smythe Division despite a sub-.500 record. They defeated the Canucks three-games-to-one before losing out to the Edmonton Oilers in five. Lemelin went 3-3, allowing 27 goals in 327 minutes for a 4.95 goals against average.

Lemelin played an NHL sixth 51 games in 1983-84 in his first season as Calgary’s unchallenged number one netminder. He racked up a 21-12-9 record and stopped an NHL-fourth 89.3% of shots faced. He led the team with 9.5 point shares and earned a 3.50 goals against average. Calgary went 34-32-14 to finish second in the Smythe Division. They defeated the Canucks in three and the Oilers in seven through the Stanley Cup playoffs. Lemelin went 4-4 and earned a 4.29 GAA.

In 1984-85, Lemelin was fifth amongst NHL goaltenders with 56 appearances, placing third with 30 wins overall. He went 30-12-10 with a 3.46 goals against average, and a .888 save percentage. His 10.5 point shares were the third highest total in the league. He was a big step up from backup Don Edwards, who posted an 11-15-2 record. Together, they backstopped the Flames to a 41-27-12 record. Lemelin was the only one to goaltend for the Flames in the playoffs, going 1-3 (the win was a shutout) and allowing 15 goals in 248 minutes.

1985-86 would see Lemelin rank third in the league with a career high 60 appearances between the pipes and lead the NHL with 1787 shots faced. He went 29-24-4 with with two shutouts and an .872 save percentage and a 4.08 goals against average. The club went 40-31-9 to place second in the Smythe Division, then won three playoff series before dropping the Stanley Cup Finals to the Montreal Canadiens in five games. Lemelin only appeared in three games, going 0-1 in 109 minutes.

1986-87 would be Lemelin’s last campaign as a Flame, posting a 16-9-1 record, earning two shutouts, allowing 3.25 goals per game, and stopping 88.6% of shots faced. The Flames went 46-31-3 and earned a second seed in the playoffs, losing to the Winnipeg Jets in six games to open. Lemelin went 0-1 allowing six goals in 101 minutes. He left after the season, signing with the Boston Bruins through free agency during the offseason.

Lemelin played six seasons with Boston, posting a 92-62-17 record, an .884 save percentage, a 3.09 save percentage, and six shutouts. He retired following the 1992-93 season.

All-Time Statline: 324 games, 144-100-46, six shutouts, 1082 goals allowed, 3.67 goals against per game allowed, 51.78 point shares.

by Kevin Kraczkowski