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Calgary Flames

A look back at the 1980 trade between the Bruins and Flames

The day that 2 traded draft picks and a national hero altered the future of one franchise.



As the Bruins make their way to the Scotiabank Saddledome to battle the Flames Friday night, I thought it might be fun to look at the trade history between the two teams. We're all familiar with the recent deal for Dougie Hamilton and the failed deal for Jarome Iginla. You might be surprised to find out that the two teams (including the Flames time in Atlanta) have only traded with each other five times. The Hamilton deal is noteworthy because of his star potential and because it's recent. The Flames have done well in their deals with the Bruins, including the February 10, 2007 deal that sent Ference & Kobasew to Boston in return for Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart (not to mention the 114th pick in the draft that turned into TJ Brodie). However, there is one deal that stands out among them all. June 2, 1980.

The Flames were on their way to Calgary, but their goalie and American hero, Jim Craig was not. You remember Jim Craig? He had this little thing known as the Miracle on Ice. The Massachusetts native who backstopped America's impossible win over the Soviets at the 1980 Winter Games was drafted in 1977 and joined the Flames after the Olympics were over. Craig played all of 4 games for the Flames before they folded in Atlanta and he was dealt to the Boston Bruins.

"Ok," you say. What's the big deal? The Flames received Boston's 1980 2nd Round pick (#39) and drafted Steve Konroyd. Steve had a very respectable NHL career logging 895 games over 20 years. He finished his career with the Flames and 236 total points (41 goals and 195 assists). The second pick the Flames received from Boston was their 1981 3rd round pick (#56) which they turned into……Mike Vernon.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Flames gave up an American sports icon and received two picks in return, one that lead them to a Stanley Cup Championship in 1989. Konroyd left Calgary after the 1986 season, but we all know what happened to Mike Vernon.

Just for some perspective, here's some of the basic numbers comparing the careers of Vernon and Craig:

Vernon Craig
20 years 3 years
781 games played 30 games played
385-273-92 11-10-7
2,206 Goals allowed 100 goals allowed
2.98 GAA 3.78 GAA
0.890 career SV% 0.839 career SV%
5 time NHL All Star None
Two Stanley Cups None

The numbers aren't even close. The Flames absolutely fleeced the Bruins in that deal. Vernon is a 5 time All Star, 2 time Cup Champion, Conn Smythe winner and he beat up Patrick Roy. What else needs to be said? Mike Vernon was a major cog in the machine that won the 1989 Stanley Cup for the Calgary Flames and he backstopped them at the end of his career as well. He's also one of two Flames to have their number retired.

Jim Craig's NHL career didn't last long, but he will always have 1980. He brought unimaginable joy to a country by doing the impossible. The Bruins gave up, in the end, a lot to get Jim Craig only to have him play one season. He did get another shot with Minnesota, but that was another short stint that ended with his retirement. Who knew that on June 2, 1980 that the deal between the Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames would turn into what it became? The Bruins were getting an Olympic hero and Massachusetts native (he also played at BU) and the Flames got 2 draft picks. The 39th pick in 1980 turned into Konroyd, which I'm sure they were thrilled with, but it was the 56th pick the next year that really changed the fortunes of one franchise.

by Mark Parkinson