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Calgary Flames

Flames Best #29 Of All Time: Joel Otto

The Flames found a diamond in the rough when they signed the Minnesota native.



As far as the #29 goes it’s really only attached to one player in Flames franchise history (sorry Mike Vernon, we’re almost to you) and that player is the Minnesota born Joel Otto.

Otto was never drafted, but was offered tryouts by many teams, yet it wasn’t until the Flames final called that Otto finally found a home. He would start the 1984-85 season with the Moncton Golden Flames of the AHL, playing in 56 games, collecting 63 points and racking up 89 PIM. His success in the AHL had him shipped to Calgary to finish off the 84-85 season where he would find success in limited time (17 games, 12 points).

Joel Otto’s first proper NHL season would be the 1985-86 season and as you’re finding with the Flames best young players, they all came into the fold at the right time. The Flames and Joel Otto would go to the Stanley Cup Finals that season and he was a big time cog in that machine. As a rookie he would score 25 goals, hand out 34 assists and sit in the bin for 188 minutes in his 79 regular season games and he would continue to be a force in the post season. Otto would suit up for 22 games and collect 14 points as the Flames would lose to the Montreal Canadiens in the Finals.

The centre’s success the previous season was just the start of a great run for Otto and the Flames. He would post four seasons of 50+ points, 30+ assists from 1985-1990 and the Flames would go to the playoffs in all four of those seasons and appear in two Stanley Cup Finals, avenging their loss to Montreal in 1986 by defeating them in 1989.

Not only was he a point producer at the centre position, but he was tough as well. He would have more than 100 PIM in nine of his 11 seasons in Calgary with his 213 from 1988-89 being the high water mark. Besides being tough he was also a reliable player, never playing less than 60 games a season until his final year with the Flames where he played in only 42 games.

Joel Otto’s career in Calgary would come to an end after the 1994-95 season as the Flames and free agent could not come to a contract agreement. He would sign with the Philadelphia Flyers and spend three seasons there, making the playoffs three times before retiring after the 1997-98 campaign.

During his time in Calgary Otto was a mainstay on the great Flames teams of the 1980’s. He would play in 730 games with Calgary, score 167 goals and tally up 261 assists. Known as a fantastic two way centre, Otto was also a Selke nominated player seven times during his tenure with the Flames. He was also a Calder Memorial Trophy nominee in his rookie season. He also ranks 60th all time in the NHL in PIM with 1,934.

As for his Flames rankings, Otto dots the franchise record book landscape. He’s 6th all time in games played (730), 3rd in penalty minutes (1642), 8th in PPG (57) and 10th with nine short handed goals.

After retiring from the NHL Otto would remain active in the Calgary community and with the Flames Alumni Association. He’s been involved with various charities in the area and has been an assistant coach with the Calgary Hitmen since 2006.

Other Players Having Worn #29 In Flames History

Greg Meredith (1981), Mike Dwyer (1981-82), Tim Bernhardt (1983), Jeff Brubaker (1984), Cale Hulse (1996-97), Erik Andersson 1998), Wade Belak (1999-2000), Mike Vernon (2001-2002), Jamie McLennan (2004-07), Craig MacDonald (2006), Brandon Prust (2009), Brendan Mikkelson (2011), Akim Aliu (2012-13), Reto Berra (2014), Deryk Engelland (2015-17), Dillon Dube (2019-20)

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by Mark Parkinson