His career was so much more but the one Calgary Flames record that might never be broken is Lanny McDonald’s 66 goals in 1982-83. A Stanley Cup champion, Bill Masterton Trophy winner and King Clancy Trophy winner, McDonald is deserving of his spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame and deserving of his number 9 retired by the Flames and number 8 retired by his WHL junior club, the Medicine Hat Tigers.
As the King Clancy Trophy honour would indicate, Lanny McDonald was a leader on and off the ice during his National Hockey League career. He was captain with the Colorado Rockies and Calgary Flames, as well as with Team Canada at the 1981 IIHF World Hockey Championships.
Lanny McDonald – Junior Career
Lanny McDonald started his major junior career in 1970-71, appearing in just six WCHL games with the Calgary Centennials. The Centennials are the present day Tri-City Americans in the WHL.
In 1971-72 and 1972-73, McDonald starred with the Medicine Hat Tigers. In his first year with the team, Lanny scored 50 and assisted on 64 for 114 points over 68 games. He was teamed with WHL superstar Tom Lysiak, along with other future NHLers Stan Weir and Bob Gassoff. He tied for tenth in goal scoring, finished sixth or assists and tied for seventh in overall scoring with Lorne Henning of the New Westminster Bruins.
1972-73 was a standout season for Lanny and the Tigers. In 68 games, he scored 62 and assisted on 77 for 139 points. Again, he was teamed with Tom Lysiak, the league’s top scorer, along the Gassoff brothers, Ken, Bob and Brad. That Medicine Hat team had fire power with four players topping the 100 point plateau.
Medicine Hat finished second in the Western Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. McDonald was fifth in goal scoring, third in assists and third in points, behind Lysiak and Dennis Sobchuk of the Regina Pats. He was named a WCHL First Team All-Star.
The 1972-73 Medicine Hat Tigers were President’s Cup champions with a win over the Saskatoon Blades in the finals. Lanny scored 18 and assisted on 19 for 37 points over 17 playoff games.
The Tigers fell short at the Memorial Cup tournament. Held in Montreal, Quebec, Medicine Hat won one game and lost another, not reaching the final. The Toronto Marlboros were crowned champions with a win over the Quebec Remparts in the final game.
Lanny McDonald – NHL Career
Between 1973-74 and 1988-89, Lanny McDonald played in 1,111 regular season National Hockey League games. Over that time, he scored exactly 500 goals while adding 506 assists for 1,006 points.
Lanny McDonald Collection
Lanny was the fourth overall pick at the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft. He came in behind Dennis Potvin (Ottawa 67’s / New York Islanders), Tom Lysiak (Medicine Hat Tigers / Atlanta Flames) and Dennis Ververgaert (London Knights / Vancouver Canucks). He was also the tenth overall pick at the 1973 WHA Amateur Draft by the Cleveland Crusaders.
He started his career with the Maple Leafs. A trade on December 29, 1979 sent him to the Colorado Rockies with Joel Quenneville for Pat Hickey and Wilf Paiement. During the 1981-82 season, he was traded to the Flames for Don Lever and Bob McMillan.
After a slow start to his career due to injuries, Lanny broke out in 1976-77. He was fifth in the NHL with 46 goals and tied for eighth with 90 points, equaling Bobby Clarke of the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto teammate Darryl Sittler. McDonald was named a Second Team All-Star right winger, behind Guy Lafleur of the Montreal Canadiens.
The following year, his 47 goals placed Lanny fourth in the NHL. He tied for tenth in the race for the Art Ross Trophy with Wilf Paiement of the Colorado Rockies, the player he’d be traded for a few years later. Both had 87 points on the season.
In 1978-79, he tied for sixth with 43 goals, equaling Dave Taylor of the Los Angeles Kings. But, it wasn’t enough for the Maple Leafs oddball management and his time with the team was up midway through the 1979-80 season.
With the Rockies, 1980-81 was McDonald’s only full season with the club. He took on the team captaincy, taking over for Rene Robert. He was replaced by Rob Ramage after his departure to Calgary. Ramage and Lanny would come together again for Calgary’s 1988-89 Stanley Cup win.
In his first full season with the Flames, Lanny quickly made his mark. His 66 goals were second in the league, just five behind Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers. The 66 goals remains a Calgary Flames single season record. The closest contender is Gary Roberts with his 53 goals in 1991-92.
He was named a Second Team All-Star right winger that year for his second of two times, while Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders took First Team honours at that position. McDonald was also awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the game.
From 1983-84 to 1988-89, Lanny was co-captain of the Flames with Jim Peplinski. He replaced Doug Risebrough and was replaced by Brad McCrimmon.
Twice with the Flames, Lanny and the team competed against the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup finals. In 1985-86, they came up short, losing to the Habs in five games. In 1988-89, the were crowned champions with a win over Montreal in six.
The National Hockey League introduced the King Clancy Trophy for the 1987-88 season to honour leadership on and off the ice, along with humanitarian contributions in the local community. Lanny McDonald was the first recipient of this award.
On the international stage, Lanny played for Canada at the 1976 Canada Cup. Canada won the tournament with a win over Czechoslovakia in a best of three final. In 1981, he played for Canada at the World Championships in Sweden. He was team captain as Canada finished fourth, following the Soviet Union, Sweden and Czechoslovakia.
McDonald was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, along with Marcel Dionne, Woody Dumart and Bob Gainey. The Calgary Flames retired his number 9 upon his retirement. To date, Calgary has retired the numbers of two players, Lanny McDonald and Mike Vernon. His number 8 was retired by the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Tigers have also only retired two, Lanny and Tom Lysiak.
Lanny McDonald – Rookie Card
The Lanny McDonald rookie card appears as number 168 in both the 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee and Topps sets. The card shows him with the Toronto Maple Leafs and without his trademark moustache. The card refers to his stardom with the Medicine Hat Tigers and his slightly disappointing first year with the Maple Leafs.
Of course, as with any player with a Mc or Mac in their name, there is a Lanny McDonald error card due to his last name. The 1976-77 O-Pee-Chee card has the name spelled MacDonald instead of McDonald.
His final card is included in the 1989-90 O-Pee-Chee and Topps set as number 7. This is an error card. On the front, it states that Lanny retired on 2-28-89. However, he did not retire and continued on to complete the 1988-89 season, winning the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames. This is a typo and should read 8-28-89 as he officially announced his retirement on August 28, 1989.
Lanny McDonald Career Stats
|1971-72||Medicine Hat Tigers||WCHL||68||50||64||114||54|
|1972-73||Medicine Hat Tigers||WCHL||68||62||77||139||84|
|1973-74||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||14||16||30||43|
|1974-75||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||64||17||27||44||86|
|1975-76||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||75||37||56||93||70|
|1976-77||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||80||46||44||90||77|
|1977-78||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||74||47||40||87||54|
|1978-79||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||79||43||42||85||32|
|1979-80||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||35||15||15||30||10|