In the history of the Flames franchise, 606 players have tugged a red sweater over their heads and suited up for a regular season game. Of those, 22 played just a single game for either the Calgary or Atlanta Flames. We call them One Game Wonders.
Let’s talk about another One Game Wonder, American forward Bill Arnold.
A product of the U.S. National Development Program, Arnold was drafted by the Flames in the fourth round in 2010 and then headed to Boston College. He quietly developed a damn good resume during his amateur years: he won gold at the World Under-18s, played in a World Juniors, and captured an NCAA championship. His calling card was as a strong 200-foot player, and he developed a repuation as one of the top two-way players in all of college hockey.
Arnold came to increased prominence as a senior, as he anchored a line alongside Kevin Hayes and fellow Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau captured the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player and the Flames sent a plane (and Craig Conroy) to sign him and Arnold. They both signed, then hopped a plane and flew west. The Flames were eliminated from post-season contention, but Arnold and Gaudreau made their NHL debuts in Game 82 in Vancouver.
The game itself was a 5-1 Flames loss. Arnold began the game centering Gaudreau and Paul Byron. Gaudreau was swapped with T.J. Galiardi mid-game and then Byron was tossed from the game for a nasty hit on a Sedin twin, leading to Arnold bouncing around a bit for the second half of the game. He ended up playing 13:35 with a minus-1 rating and winning five of nine face-offs.
That was Arnold’s NHL peak, unfortunately. He spent the following season with the AHL’s Adirondack Flames, where his 38 points was fifth on the team. The next season he had 22 points for the Stockton Heat, good for seventh on the team. Not looking like a lock for NHL duty, and with other prospects in the pipeline, Arnold wasn’t re-signed. He decided to leave hockey and use his college degree rather than try to grind out a living in the minors.
Arnold was a damn fine college hockey player. He won a national title and got a degree. He didn’t have nearly the NHL success of his more famous linemates, but he gave it the proverbial old college try.