For the past year Darryl Sutter has been the topic of a number of NHL headlines, not one for which he should be proud. In the last 12 months he has transformed a Cup-contending Flames squad, into a club struggling to find an identity, now featuring 6 different forwards than it did at the start of the year. Flames fans are calling for his imminent departure - and it's not hard to see why.
Surprising and unwarranted signings and trades have had Cowtown shaking their heads for a long time. Here is a run-down of Sutter's recent 'handy-work':
On March 4, 2009, the Calgary Flames announced a trade that would see them receive Olli Jokinen in a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes. In an attempt to put his team 'over the top', Sutter acquired a player that was most known for his unimpressive streak of 799 regular season games player without seeing a single minute of action in the post-season. Would his underachieving be a thing of the past? Flames fans had hope. They hoped, they hoped, and they continued to hope into the 09-10 season.
Less than a year later, after a 'surprisingly' (cough cough) slow start to the 09-10 season, Jokinen was packaged away in a questionable deal to the New York Rangers, in exchange for perennial under-achiever Chris Higgins, as well as a player that had racked up significant 'frequent flyer press box miles' under the tutelage of John Tortorella, in Ales Kotalik. Essentially then, Sutter managed to trade away a first round draft pick, Brandon Prust (who was later re-acquired), and speedy winger Matthew Lombardi in exchange for Higgins and Kotalik. A useless trade? I think so.
Perhaps topping this deal was Sutter's attempt to 'shake-up' his team near the halfway point in the 09-10 season. And what better way to blow up his underachieving team than to make a blockbuster deal with perhaps the most underachieving team in the NHL; the Toronto Maple Laughs. It was a trade that Toronto fans cried tears of happiness over, and one that Flames fans would soon cry tears of sheer 'what the F&$%' over.
In exchange for a once thought cornerstone of the Flames franchise in Dion Phaneuf, Sutter acquired a quartet of players that each have their own 'special' way of being more useless than the other.
Matt Stajan: A first line centre? No. A second line centre? No. A centre for Jarome Iginla? Yes. After signing Stajan to a four year contract worth $3.5 million a year, does Darryl Sutter SERIOUSLY think that Matt Stajan, the man who couldn't even be a quality number one centre on the Leafs, is the Flames top line centre of the future? Wow.
Niklas Hagman: Twenty goal scorer? Yes. Other team player attributes? No. This player is more invisible in a hockey game than Casper the Friendly Ghost, and, dare I say it, Matt Stajan.
Ian White: Quality defenseman? Yes. Joining Frodo on his quest in the Lord of the Rings as a fellow hobbit? Yes. Have fun signing him to anything less than $3 million a year after this season, Darryl.
Jamal Mayers: A nice guy? Yes. Should he be in the NHL? No. Enough said.
Without even having to discuss his obscene signing of Daymond 'Greybeard' Langkow to $4.5 million a year deal for four years, and without having to touch on his team's inability last year to field a complete line-up for a number of games due to cap-space issues, it is exceedingly obvious that Darryl Sutter needs to be shown the door. Or should we let him trade Jarome Iginla first?