Anyone else vying for the title of Best #51 in Flames history had an uphill battle ahead of them as Dave Gagner put together one of the best one off seasons in his career with the Calgary Flames in 1996-97.
Gagner came to Calgary very late in his NHL career, having already spent 13 seasons in the league between New York (Rangers), Minnesota/Dallas and Toronto and was already an established point producer. After playing in only 28 games during the 1995-96 season with the Maple Leafs, Gagner was shipped to Calgary where he would put together his best point production in four years. In his one and only campaign with Calgary, Gagner would play in a career high 82 games, also putting up his last 60+ point season of his career. He would score 27 times and hand out 33 assists, the first time he’d collect more than 30 assists since 1992-93.
The Flames, as a team, were not very good during his one season, finishing 5th in the Pacific Division and making it only the second time in the last eight seasons where Gagner didn’t make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He did however, have a very solid season and his 60 points were second on the team, behind only Theo Fleury’s 67 points and only 10 more than rising Flames star Jarome Iginla.
At the end of the 1996-97 season Gagner was on the move again, this time to Florida, where he would play for a season and a half before finishing up his NHL career in Vancouver in 1998-99 after being traded there. Gagner had many post retirement activities including being a partial owner in a minor league hockey team, being an assistant coach with the London Knights and now is a member of the Orr Hockey Group as a player agent.
Other Players Having Worn #51 In Flame History
Rick Mrozik (2003), Roman Horak (2012-13), Kenny Agostino (2014-16)
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by Mark Parkinson