The Calgary Flames, at least on paper, have what it takes to win games in today's NHL. They have size, skill, and great goaltending, and this should make for a great combination for success both in the regular season and in the postseason.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the franchise is how to build consistency, and improve on decent performances and make them better. The 2007-2008 season was no different than usual with a new bench boss (Mike Keenan) who led the team to a disappointing seventh place finish in the regular season and a first round exit in the playoffs for the third straight year.
Consistency and success were evident when Daryl Sutter was the bench boss of this team. His first full season saw his team go to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the eventual winner, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The past two seasons, the team should have fared better in the regular season. On paper, the team was talented and healthy, unlike other teams in the same division who finished higher in the standings. Both Mike Keenan and Jim Playfair (2006-2007 Flames Coach) lacked the skills to get this team motivated and determined enough to take themelves to the next level.
The truth is that Daryl Sutter is a bench boss, not a GM. He is a motivator and hard ass at the same time, and that is what this team needs. Tough love behind the bench will take this team to new levels. Keenan and Playfair should have been sent packing with their lacklustre performances.
With all the coaching and GM talent available, I would have to say that the Flames could find a great GM to back up Sutter-style hockey. Dave Nonis for instance is defence minded, and likes a big, heavy-hitting in-your-face hockey player.
First of all though, the Flames need to realize their need for change. Trading players in and out every season to play with the core of the team is not the answer. The players on the ice just need some direction and motivation to take them to the next level.