CALGARY – Flame fans who have lived in Calgary for the past decade will never forget the sting and sadness that resulted from Jarome Iginla's departure from the city.
After a 17-year era in which he was undoubtedly the greatest Flames player of all time, his departure in 2013 was one of those pit-in-your-stomach endings.
Many rumors had preceded the move and the logic was clear – it was time for him to go on for all sake.
Iginla's finish was the last in a long series of high-profile separations that the Flames went through, beginning in the early 90s when the core of the Cup champions was gutted. Without the help of a salary cap, the small market flames could not afford to keep such as Al MacInnis, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Vernon and Joe Mullen.
Each of these exits stood out.
But if you look at the five players who left Calgary and who hurt the most, none of the above make the list.
Instead, the list is filled by players who have left Calgary and recognized their ultimate potential elsewhere when Flames fans watched horrified:
Jean-Sabastein Giguere, goalkeeper of Anheim Mighty Ducks, stops a shot from Minnesota Wild in the second phase of Game 2 of the NHL Western Conference Championship series on Monday, May 12, 2003, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Giguere stopped 24 shots and closed out the wild for the second time in two games, 2-0. (Tom Olmscheid / AP)
5. J.S. Giguere
The QMJHL star was selected in the first round of the Hartford Whalers in 1995 and traded to Calgary with Andrew Cassels for Gary Roberts and Trevor Kidd.
It was planned to be the future starter of the Flames, but after four years in the organization – mostly in the AHL – he was the first player to be extradited by Craig Button after Al Coates was released as a GM was
With just 22 games of NHL experience in Calgary, it was found that the man who was once a building block simply couldn't improve his game at the highest level.
His goalkeeper coach Francois Allaire asked Anaheim to give Calgary a second all-rounder for J.S. Giguere. Giguere blossomed with the Mighty Ducks and became only the fifth (and youngest) player to receive the Conn Smythe Trophy, despite losing in the Stanley Cup final in 2003.
Four years later, he stopped the ducks on their first Stanley Cup crown with the help of a special water bottle that reduced air intake and cured his dehydration problems.
Flames fans watched enviously all the time when he played nearly 600 NHL games.
TORONTO – 90s: Doug Gilmour # 93 of the Toronto Maple Leafs runs against the Detroit Red Wings in the Maple Leaf Gardens around 1990 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Steve Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images)
4. Doug Gilmour
There is absolutely no question of how important Doug Gilmour was at the Flames Stanley Cup in 1989. He brought a lot of character, grit and fire into a team that needed these intangible assets to get over the mountain.
Not only that, they needed his skills. While Lanny McDonald often gets the honor of scoring the cup winner, Gilmour was actually the first of two that night to secure the cup at the Montreal Forum that night.
"Killer" was named one of the team captains the following season before a contract dispute prompted him to drop out of the team on New Years Eve 1991.
The next day, he was traded to Toronto as part of a ten-player deal with Jamie Macoun, Kent Manderville, Rick Wamsley, and Ric Nattress for Gary Leeman, Craig Berube, Michel Petit, Alex Godynyuk, and Jeff Reese.
The deal changed the course of both franchises when Gilmour took his outstanding two-way game in Toronto to new heights.
The following year, he broke Leafs' records with 127 points to get Toronto into its first winning season in 14 years. He reached the conference finale where he had 35 points before taking a high stick to Wayne Gretzky in a series of game 6-loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
That year he won the Selke Trophy, finished second to Mario Lemieux in the Hart Trophy poll, and was later named Leafs captain to begin a handful of years with the Leafs Cup contenders.
He later became a Chicago captain on a winding journey through the NHL that included 450 goals, nearly 1,500 games, a retirement from the Toronto jersey, and a choice in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Fans watched the fighting flames from afar – until Gilmour's career ended in his first league second leg after a deal from Montreal in 2002.
A collision with Dave Lowry at the Saddledome in Gilmour's second shift tore his ACL.
Marc Savard's farewell to the flames and eventual success with the Bruins were a difficult pill to swallow. (Winslow Townson / AP)
3. Marc Savard
Coates acquired Marc Savard from the Rangers in 1999 with the goal that the former CHL top scorer had a line with Jarome Iginla and Hnat Domenichelli.
After three years in Calgary, where he was about to become a point-per-game player, coach Greg Gilbert and Savard disagreed, which led to a rupture of the two wounds in 2002.
Button chose the coach's side and promised Savard that he would give him a fresh start elsewhere by swapping him for the little-known Russian prospect Ruslan Zainullin in Atlanta.
Zainullin never played a game in North America and the situation got worse when Button Gilbert fired a little more than two weeks later.
Savard was one of the NHL's top playmakers for the next eight years, exceeding 95 points twice before the concussions prematurely ended his career in Boston.
As great as Iginla's career in Calgary was, many often wondered how much better he and the flames could have been had he had a # 1 center to play with.
Savard – no, should have been – could have been this player.
It could have been useful in 2004 when the Flames lagged behind the Stanley Cup.
Former Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Martin St. Louis stands with his family as a banner with his number during the jersey retirement ceremony before an NHL hockey game between the Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, January 13th 2017 in Tampa, Florida (Chris O & # 39; Meara / AP)
1. Martin St. Louis
It's one thing to give up a player, let him go away for nothing, and then watch him win a Hart Trophy and Stanley Cup before being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
But it is very different if he wins the trophy at your expense – to steal it from your grasp in your own building.
St. Louis did this only four years after it was bought up by the Flames, shortly after it was not claimed in the draft extension.
Due to its size, St. Louis was a stud farm at the University of Vermont, which, after graduating from school as one of the most productive colleagues of its time, still did not attract NHL interest. Coates signed the five-foot-eight winger in February 1998 after seeing him shine in the IHL and sent him to Saint John, where he scored 26 points in 25 games before going in a 20-game playoff run, who ended two games before the end, 20 more added a calder cup.
After two more years of dominance in the AHL, but in the struggle against the big boys, Coates began the option year of the contract with St. Louis, only to be released and Button to buy it out.
He was contracted by Tampa Bay and won two championship titles, three Lady Byngs, a Hart, a Lester B Pearson Award, an Ice Hockey World Championship and Olympic gold in a career in which he scored more than 1,000 points and darken 1,000 games.
The real killer came in game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final, when the six-time all-star scored a double overtime goal at the Saddledome to stop an epic Red Mile celebration and sent the series back to Tampa where Blitz 2 won -1.