The Flames have been stuck on mediocre land for the last few seasons and fans deserve something to cheer about. So its time to make a trade to get better and maybe make the playoffs or blow it all up and rebuild.
Either way, is GM Darryl Sutter the right man for the job? Lets take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of Sutter’s reign to see if he is the guy you want trading away Jarome Iginla or Miikka Kiprusoff.
BAD – One of Sutter’s first trades was to trade away Chris Drury to Buffalo for Rhett Warrener and Steven Reinprecht. Reinprecht had decent offensive upside but could never stay healthy long enough to be a regular scoring threat, while Drury went on to have back-to-back 30 goal seasons and back-to-back career highs in points in Buffalo.
GOOD – Sutter traded a second round draft pick in 2005 to San Jose for Kiprusoff. Kipper went on to become one of the league’s elite goaltenders and took the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals. This was one of Sutter’s best transactions as a GM.
UGLY – Failed to keep Craig Conroy with the team and Conroy signed with Los Angeles. Conroy scored 22 goals and a career high 66 points in his first season with the Kings. Sutter realized his mistake and traded for Conroy in the 2006-07 season.
GOOD – Sutter traded Oleg Saprykin and Denis Gauthier to Phoenix for Daymond Langkow. Saprykin and Gauthier never really developed into regulars in the NHL and both are no longer playing. Langkow scored back-to-back 30 goal seasons in his second and third seasons with the Flames and had a career high 77 points in the 2006-07 season, before injuries slowed him down. Injuries aside, this was a steal for Sutter.
BAD – Sutter made a great trade to get Kristian Huselius from Florida for Steve Montador and Dustin Johner. Huselius played for the Flames for three seasons and scored career highs in goals (25) and points (77) in the 2006-07 season. Sutter was unable to re-sign Huselius, who signed with Columbus.
GOOD TURNED BAD PART ONE – Traded Jordan Leopold and two draft picks to Colorado for Alex Tanguay. Tanguay had a career year in his first year with the Flames, scoring 81 points, but struggled in his second season with the Flames. Tanguay has never scored over 60 points since his career year in 2006-07. Tanguay was traded to Montreal for a first round draft pick in 2008 and a second round draft pick in 2009. Sutter signed Tanguay this off-season in the hope that Tanguay can resurrect his career.
GOOD TURNED BAD PART TWO – Traded a first round draft pick in 2008 and a second round pick in 2009 to Los Angeles for Mike Cammalleri and a second round draft pick in 2008. Cammalleri scored a career-high 39 goals and 82 points in his single season with the Flames. Sutter failed to re-sign Cammalleri, who signed with Montreal.
GREAT – Traded a conditional second round draft pick in 2009 to Chicago for Rene Bourque; one of the greatest trades Sutter has made. Bourque has been a consistent scorer for the Flames, with back-to-back 20 goal seasons, but injuries have slowed his career. Bourque is on pace for a career year and has been the Flames’ best player this season. Sutter was able to re-sign Bourque to a six-year contract extension, which is a fantastic signing.
BAD – Traded Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and a first round draft pick to Phoenix for Olli Jokinen and a third round draft pick. Lombardi was a consistent 30-40 point second line player for the Flames who went on to have a career season last year with Phoenix scoring 53 points. Jokinen finished strong with Calgary scoring 15 points in 19 games but didn’t last the new season with Calgary only scoring 35 points in 56 games.
How bad is Jokinen? Sutter basically gave him away to the Rangers whe he traded Jokinen and Prust to New York for Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik. The Jokinen experiment failed the first time, but the additions of Kotalik or Higgins were never really an upgrade. Kotalik lasted just 26 games with Calgary, scoring five points, while Higgins only last 12 games, scoring just three points. So what does Sutter do this off-season: He signs Jokinen to a TWO year contract. Sutter has a pattern of trading away or letting a player go only to bring that player back.
BAD – Sutter decided not to sign fan favorite Theo Fleury to a comeback contract. Fleury scored one goal and three assists in the 2009-10 preseason and would have put fans in the seat. Instead, he decided to go with the players he signed that off-season; all of which were gone after one season.
UGLY – Traded Anton Stralman to Columbus for a third round draft pick in 2010. Stralman never played a game for Calgary, but he went on to score 34 points last season for Columbus. Stralman had a ton of potential to be a gritty offensive defenceman that Sutter basically gave away for a draft pick.
BAD – Traded Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie to Toronto for Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White. Phaneuf’s first four seasons with Calgary, he scored 47 or more points in each of those seasons and had a career high of 60 points in his third year. Phaneuf struggled to start the 2009-10 season and was quickly shipped off for a bunch of second and third line players. The best player Sutter acquired from Toronto was White, who was quickly shipped off to Carolina after a slow start this season.
UGLY – Sutter’s free agent record is not good as he has failed to sign a superstar or elite free agent and of the 30-plus free agents he signed, only three played more than three seasons with the Flames. Only three free agents Sutter signed are still with the team (Bourque, Mark Giordano and Cory Sarich). The highest scoring free agent signed by Sutter was Todd Bertuzzi who scored 44 points and Tony Amonte who scored 42 points. Twenty-one of Sutter’s signings lasted a single season or less—that is not a very good record.
So let me ask again is Darryl Sutter the man you want running the Calgary Flames?
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