We close out our offseason series taking a look back at past Calgary Flames rosters with the dominant 2018–19 squad. After falling flat and missing the playoffs the year prior, the Flames fired head coach Glen Guluztan just two years into his tenure behind the Flames bench and named Bill Peters head coach for the 2018–19 season.
With expectations low, the Flames would come out of nowhere to post one of their most dominant regular seasons in franchise history en route to finishing first in the Western Conference and second in the NHL. Unfortunately it would all come crashing down in the playoffs as they’d get bounced in just five games as the number one seed.
A large part of the roster that year still plays in Calgary. Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Rasmus Andersson, Andrew Mangiapane, Noah Hanifin, Oliver Kylington and Dillon Dube are still on the Flames roster. Michael Stone meanwhile was recently hired in a player development role.
The 2018–19 season would be Johnny Gaudreau’s breakout as a true superstar in the NHL. He’d shatter his previous career-highs to the tune of 36 goals and 99 points in 82 games. The total ranked first on the Flames by a wide margin and eighth in the NHL.
Gaudreau would experience a couple down years following this season but would once again show his true colours with 115 points in 2021–22. As we all know, he’d choose to leave for Columbus in a free agent in 2022. This past season Gaudreau and the Blue Jackets finished 31st in the NHL with Gaudreau posting his lowest full season point total in six years.
The 2018–19 season was and still is the best season of Sean Monahan’s career. He’d post a career-high in goals with 34, assists with 48 and points with 82 to finish second on the Flames in scoring. At just 24 years old it looks like the sky was the limit for Monahan.
Unfortunately a slew of serious injuries would follow this season over the next couple years and he’d never be the same again. Monahan was eventually traded during the 2022 offseason. He’s since played with the Montreal Canadiens, which is where he’ll play in 2023–24 after re-signing this past offseason.
Acquired in the blockbuster offseason trade with Carolina, Elias Lindholm made his Flames debut in 2018–19. He’d immediately show his value in Calgary, posting a career year with 27 goals and 78 points. He’d also find a home on the team’s top line at right wing, forming the famous “Purple Gatorade” line with Gaudreau and Monahan.
Lindholm has since developed into a true top line centre in Calgary, but now Lindholm’s status is currently up in the air. As a pending 2024 free agent and still unsigned, Lindholm may be entering his final year as a Flame.
Now in his third year in the NHL, Matthew Tkachuk had a breakout year in 2018–19 with 77 points in 80 games to finish fourth on the Flames in scoring at just 21 years old. He was a key part of the 3M line and one of the team’s best two-way players that season.
Tkachuk would develop into one of the best wingers in the entire NHL over the next five seasons in Calgary before refusing to re-sign last summer. He’s currently entering year one of an eight-year extension with the Panthers after posting a career-high 109 points with them last season.
Mikael Backlund continued to be Mr. Reliable for the Flames in 2018–19, operating as the centre on the famous 3M line. He’d post 21 goals and 47 points this season, an improvement over the previous year.
Backlund has become one of the best Flames of all time and currently sits third all time for games played as a Flame. At 35 years old, his current status is unknown as trade rumours swirl but regardless of what happens he’ll always be a fan favourite and all-time great in Calgary.
The Flames needed help on the wing going into the year so they and went out and handed James Neal a massive five-year, $28.75 million deal in free agency. Neal’s first year in Calgary would be the stuff of legend—for all the wrong reasons. After scoring 20 goals in the previous nine seasons of his career, he’d post just seven in 2018–19 and only 19 points. He was also reportedly widely unliked in the locker room.
Following the season, Neal was dealt to Edmonton in a swap of bad contracts for Milan Lucic. Neal has since spent time in the NHL and AHL and is currently a free agent.
Michael Frolik would have a bounce back year in 2018–19 with 34 points in just 65 games. He’d also remain a key part of the Flames forward group on the 3M line and on the penalty kill.
The 2018–19 season would end up being the beginning Frolik’s last full season in Calgary as he’d be dealt during the following 2019–20 season. After two more years in the NHL, he’d head over to Europe in 2021 which is where he’s played the last two seasons.
The 2018–19 season remained status quo for Sam Bennett. Now 22 years old and in his fourth NHL season, he once again failed to reach his rookie point total and registered just 27 points, a one-point improvement over the previous season.
Over the next two seasons as a Flame, he’d fail to make an impact before eventually being traded at the 2021 trade deadline to Florida for a prospect and draft pick, seven years after being picked fourth overall. Bennett’s career has since found a second wind as he’s become a solid second line player for the Florida Panthers.
The 2018–19 season still stands as the best of Mark Jankowski’s career. At 24 years old, he’d post career-highs in assists with 18 and points with 32 while playing primarily on the Flames’ third line.
Unfortunately Jankowski would never build of his career year and instead saw his point totals plummet the following year. He’d eventually leave as a free agent in 2020. He’s spent the last three seasons bouncing around the AHL and NHL and is currently a free agent.
Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Derek Ryan made a big impact in his first year in Calgary in 2018–19 as the team’s fourth line centre. He’d match his career-high 38 points while posting elite underlying numbers.
Ryan would spend two more years in Calgary and continue to operate as one of the NHL’s most underrated centres. Unfortunately in 2021 the Flames would let him walk in free agency and he’d sign for the rival Oilers. He’s spent the last two years in Edmonton and he recently re-signed there.
Garnet Hathaway would become a regular in the Flames lineup in 2018–19, playing in 76 games and posting 19 points. To this day, his line with Ryan and Mangiapane that season is one of the best fourth lines the Flames have had in recent memory.
Following the season, he’d leave as a free agent for Washington. He’s since developed into one of the better fourth liners in the NHL and recently signed a multi-year deal with the Flyers.
Signed as a sleeper free agent prior to the season in the hopes he could finally reach his potential, Austin Czarnik failed to become a regular in the Flames lineup in 2018–19. Across his 54 games, he posted 18 points.
The Czarnik experiment would fail in Calgary and he’d leave in 2020 as a free agent after spending most of the season in the AHL. He’s since bounced around the NHL and AHL the past three seasons and recently signed with the Detroit Red Wings.
A sixth-round pick of the Flames at the 2015 NHL draft, Andrew Mangiapane would make his rookie season debut in 2018–19. He’d eventually earn a full-time spot on the Flames’ fourth line and post 13 points across 44 games.
Mangiapane has become a core piece of the Flames roster over the past four years and one of the more underrated wingers in the entire NHL. He’s currently signed for two more years in Calgary.
The 2018–19 was the best season of Mark Giordano’s career. Operating as the team’s number one defenceman, he’d post a career high 74 points in 78 games to finish second in the NHL among defencemen in scoring. His season would earn him the franchise’s first ever Norris Trophy.
Giordano served as the Flames captain and number one defenceman for two more years until being claimed in the 2021 expansion draft, leaving as the second longest tenured player and captain in Flame history. He’s spent the last two seasons playing for his hometown Maple Leafs. Here’s hoping he signs a one-day contract to retire as a Flame in the future.
Acquired in the blockbuster Caorlina trade in the offseaso, a 21-year-old Noah Hanifin made his Flames debut in 2018–19. He’d post a career-high 33 points while playing on the team’s second pairing.
Hanifin took a couple years to settle in Calgary but has since become a reliable top four defenceman and key piece of the Flames blueline. As a pending free agent and reportedly unwilling to re-sign in Calgary, Hanifin is very likely entering his last year as a Flame.
With Hamilton out of the picture, T.J Brodie reclaimed his spot on the team’s top paring alongside Giordano in 2018–19. He’d put up 34 points in 79 games while also playing over 21 minutes a night.
Brodie would remain an integral part of the Flames defence for one more year before leaving as a free agent in 2020. He’d leave the franchise with the fourth most games by a defenceman in franchise history. He currently plays with Giordano in Toronto.
Now in his second year as a Flame, the 2018–19 season was by far Travis Hamonic’s best in Calgary. In a shutdown role, he’d post solid underlying results while adding on 19 points on the Flames’ second pairing.
Unfortunately it would be downhill from there and Hamonic would leave as a free agent in 2020 after just one more year in Calgary. He’s spent the last four seasons split between Ottawa and Vancouver and recently re-signed for the Senators.
Drafted in the second round of the 2015 draft, Rasmus Andersson made his rookie season debut in 2018–19 as regular on the Flames blueline. He’d play in 79 games and add on 19 points as a 22-year-old.
Andersson has since developed into a bonafide top four defenceman and an integral part of the Flames blueline. He’s also one of the top candidates for the vacant captaincy. He’s currently signed for three more years in Calgary.
Like Andersson, Oliver Kylington was selected in the second round of the 2015 draft and made his rookie season debut in 2018–19. He would play in 38 games and add on eight points.
Kylington would struggle to remain in the Flames lineup over the next couple years before having a breakout season in 2021–22. He unfortunately had to take a year off this past year due to personal issues, but appears to be ready to return to the Flames in 2023–24.
In his second season with the Flames, Mike Smith’s play would experience a big fall of in 2018–19. He’d post an .898 save percentage and would lose his starting role to David Rittich at multiple times throughout the season. He would rebound in the playoffs at least, standing on his head for most of the first round.
Following the season Smith would leave as a free agent, joining the rival Oilers as a free agent. Smith has spent four years with the Oilers but missed the entire 2022–23 season due to injury.
The 2018–19 season remains the best of David Rittich’s career. In his third year as a Flame he’d play in 45 games and post a .911 save percentage and ridiculous 27–9–5 record.
Rittich would spend another two underwhelming years in a 1A/1B situation in Calgary before being dealt at the 2020 trade deadline to Toronto. He’s spent the last two seasons as a backup in Nashville and Winnipeg and recently signed with the Los Angeles Kings for the upcoming season.