Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Mike Vernon
After starring in the Calgary minor hockey system, Vernon moved on to the local Wranglers of the junior Western Hockey League. He appeared in over 100 games in his first two seasons and attracted the attention of pro scouts across North America. Following a strong rookie season in junior, the Calgary Flames chose Vernon in the second round, 56th overall, at the 1981 NHL entry draft.

The Flames left the young goalie in junior in 1981-82 where he earned selection to the WHL first all-star team then brought him up to play one playoff game for the Oklahoma City Stars of the Central Hockey League. In 1982-83 Vernon made two appearances for the Flames but was sent back to junior.

During the 1983-84 season Vernon was elevated to the Colorado Flames of the Central Hockey League for seasoning. The rookie pro won 30 games and led the league with a 3.35 goals against mark to earn selection to the CHL second all-star team. Vernon remained in the minors when Calgary switched its farm team to Moncton of the American Hockey League prior to the 1984-85 season.

The affable goalie's NHL breakthrough came late in the 1985-86 schedule. After a regular season split between the Flames and their AHL and International Hockey League affiliates, he took over the starting reigns at the commencement of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The move paid off as Vernon led the Flames to their first ever appearance in the Stanley Cup final where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.

Between 1986-87 and 1993-94, Vernon was the Flames' undisputed first string goalie. In 1987-88 he won 39 games and helped Calgary win the President's trophy for having the most points in the regular season. Unfortunately, the team's Stanley Cup express was derailed by the arch-rival Oilers in the playoffs. The next year the team benefited from their previous experience and won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Although Al MacInnis won the Conn Smythe trophy, it was Vernon's heroics that paved the way for Calgary's success as he won 16 games and recorded three shutouts to lead all post-season goalies. Despite these numbers he was best remembered for stopping Vancouver's Stan Smyl on a breakaway in the overtime of the deciding game of the first round when the club was nearly upset by the upstart Canucks.

Through the early 1990's Calgary remained one of the top clubs in the NHL but could not duplicate their playoff magic of 1988-89. Eventually the Flames began to rebuild and shipped Vernon to a Detroit Red Wings team in need of a proven goalie. He shone when helping the Wings reach the 1995 Stanley Cup final where they were swept by the New Jersey Devils. The following season he helped Detroit set an NHL record by winning 62 regular season matches but appeared to be superseded by young netminder Chris Osgood.

In 1996-97 he was clearly the back up to Osgood during the regular season but coach Scotty Bowman opted to turn to the veteran when the playoffs began. Vernon played some of the best hockey of his career in winning 16 games and leading Detroit to its first Stanley Cup title in 42 years. He was presented the Conn Smythe trophy as the top player in post-season but this was the end for Vernon in Motown. The Wings banked on the talent and youth of Osgood and sent Vernon to the San Jose Sharks prior to the 1997-98 season.

The west coast agreed with Vernon as he recorded five shutouts and 30 wins while helping San Jose qualify for the playoffs. He did the same in 1998-99 but the club decided to go with youth and traded Vernon to the Florida Panthers. The likeable veteran provided solid goalkeeping and stability in 1999-2000 while helping the Panthers reach the post-season for the first time in three years. There since Vernon has returned to Calgary for a second stint with the team which he enjoyed great success, to provide leadership and a veteran attitude in the locker-room.

Following a final two seasons in Calgary, Vernon announced his retirement from the game in September of 2002. Mike Vernon's number 30 was retired by the Calgary Flames on February 6, 2007.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1979-80 Calgary Canucks AJHL 31 21 7 0 0 2.95 7 3 4 0 0 3.30
1980-81 Calgary Wranglers WHL 59 33 17 1 1 3.77 22 14 8 1 3.87
1981-82 Calgary Wranglers WHL 42 22 14 2 3 3.68 9 5 4 0 3.42
1981-82 Oklahoma City Stars CHL 1 0 1 0 3.43
1981-82 Portland Winter Hawks M-Cup 3 1 2 0 0 5.61
1982-83 Calgary Wranglers WHL 50 29 18 2 3 3.26 16 9 7 0 3.89
1982-83 Calgary Flames NHL 2 0 2 0 0 6.59
1982-83 Canada WJC-A 4 3 0 0 0 3.33
1982-83 Portland Winter Hawks M-Cup 3 3 0 0 0 4.67
1983-84 Calgary Flames NHL 1 0 1 0 0 22.22
1983-84 Colorado Flames CHL 46 30 13 2 1 3.35 6 2 4 0 3.63
1984-85 Moncton Golden Flames AHL 41 10 20 4 0 3.92
1985-86 Calgary Flames NHL 18 9 3 3 1 3.39 21 12 9 0 2.93
1985-86 Moncton Golden Flames AHL 6 3 1 2 0 3.37
1985-86 Salt Lake Golden Eagles IHL 10 6 4 0 1 3.40
1986-87 Calgary Flames NHL 54 30 21 1 1 3.61 5 2 3 0 3.65
1987-88 Calgary Flames NHL 64 39 16 7 1 3.53 9 4 4 0 3.96
1988-89 Calgary Flames NHL 52 37 6 5 0 2.65 22 16 5 3 2.26
1989-90 Calgary Flames Fr-Tour 3 2 0 0 0 1.39
1989-90 Calgary Flames NHL 47 23 14 9 0 3.13 6 2 3 0 3.33
1990-91 Calgary Flames NHL 54 31 19 3 1 3.31 7 3 4 0 2.95
1990-91 Canada WEC-A 2 0 1 0 0 4.93
1991-92 Calgary Flames NHL 63 24 30 9 0 3.58
1992-93 Calgary Flames NHL 64 29 26 9 2 3.26 4 1 1 0 6.00
1993-94 Calgary Flames NHL 48 26 17 5 3 2.81 7 3 4 0 2.96
1994-95 Detroit Red Wings NHL 30 19 6 4 1 2.52 18 12 6 1 2.31
1995-96 Detroit Red Wings NHL 32 21 7 2 3 2.26 4 2 2 0 2.72
1996-97 Detroit Red Wings NHL 33 13 11 8 0 2.43 20 16 4 1 1.76
1997-98 San Jose Sharks NHL 62 30 22 8 5 2.46 6 2 4 1 2.41
1998-99 San Jose Sharks NHL 49 16 22 10 4 2.27 5 2 3 0 2.43
1999-00 San Jose Sharks NHL 15 6 5 1 0 2.49
1999-00 Florida Panthers NHL 34 18 13 2 1 2.47 4 0 4 0 3.04
2000-01 Calgary Flames NHL 41 12 23 5 3 3.23
2001-02 Calgary Flames NHL 18 2 9 1 1 2.76
NHL Totals 781 385 273 92 27 2.97 138 77 56 6 2.68


WHL First All-Star Team (1982, 1983)
WHL Goaltender of the Year (1982, 1983)
WHL Player of the Year (1982, 1983)
Hap Emms Memorial Trophy (Memorial Cup Top Goaltender) (1983)
CHL Second All-Star Team (1984)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1989)
William M. Jennings Trophy (1996) (shared with Chris Osgood)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1997) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993)
Traded to Detroit by Calgary for Steve Chiasson, June 29, 1994. Traded to San Jose by Detroit with Detroit's 5th round choice (later traded back to Detroit - Detroit selected Andrei Maximenko) in 1999 Entry Draft for San Jose's 2nd round choice (later traded to St. Louis - St. Louis selected Maxim Linnik) in 1998 Entry Draft and San Jose's 2nd round choice (later traded to Tampa Bay - Tampa Bay selected Sheldon Keefe) in 1999 Entry Draft, August 18, 1997. Traded to Florida by San Jose with San Jose's 3rd round choice (Sean O'Connor) in 2000 Entry Draft for Radek Dvorak, December 30, 1999. Claimed by Minnesota from Florida in Expansion Draft, June 23, 2000. Traded to Calgary by Minnesota for Calgary's 8th round choice (Jake Riddle) in 2001 Entry Draft and the rights to Dan Cavanaugh, June 23, 2000.
Officially announced retirement, September 13, 2002.