Mike Cammalleri: Canadiens Gain Was Darryl Sutter's Big Loss

Steve McSween@dansallowsSenior Analyst IMay 1, 2010

WASHINGTON - APRIL 15:  Michael Cammalleri #13 of the Montreal Canadiens shoots and scores in the first period against the Washington Capitals in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on April 15, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

There are defining moments in every NHL general manager's career.

For Brian Burke it was in 1999, when he wheeled and dealed his way at the NHL Entry Draft, and came away with the Sedin twinkies.

In 1991, Pittsburgh GM Craig Patrick acquired Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson, and Grant Jennings from the Hartford Whalers for Zarley Zalapski, John Cullen, and Jeff Parker, and turned a good Penguins team into a great one.

And unless Darryl Sutter can pull off a magic trick worthy of Chris Angel, then his defining moment may just be the failure to keep Mike Cammalleri in the fold last July, and going out and signing defenseman Jay Bouwmeester instead.

For $2 million more per year, no less!

I often wonder what was going through the Flames GM's head when he looked at his roster that boasted an elite goaltender and an abundance of quality blueliners. Yet, he let his leading goal-scorer and second overall point getter walk to Montreal for $5 million per, in order to sign yet another defenseman.

It was about as brainless as calling the late Anna Nicole Smith talented.

And it has been magnified by what Cammalleri has done for the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs so far, scoring 6 goals and 11 points in 8 games. He also has added energy, won faceoffs, and been great on the Habs special teams.

Basically, the same things he did in Calgary for one year. 

Yes, Sutter did acquire Mikka Kiprusoff from San Jose for a 2nd round pick (Marc-Edouard Vlasic), but when you look at his entire body of work with the organization it isn't very impressive.

Not for lack of trying mind you.

It seems like everything he touches these days just doesn't pan out in Cowtown, from Tony Amonte and Olli Jokinen, to the recent busts of Niklas Hagman and Ales Kotalik, who couldn't score with a fistfull of hundred dollar bills at a Las Vegas brothel.

That being said, the ones that did seemed to get away, as before Cammalleri it was Kristian Huselius who scored 34 and 25 goals respectfully before being snatched by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

While I was pessimistic to what the Canadiens GM Bob Gainey did over the summer, his moves have seemed to work, something that can't be said of the aforementioned Darryl Sutter since acquiring Kipper in 2003.

The Flames season didn't fizzle because of the Phaneuf trade, it was extinguished long before hand.

In the summer of 2009 to be exact.

That was when Mike Cammalleri was scooped up by the Canadiens GM Bob Gainey.

Yes, Montreal's gain, was truly the Calgary Flames biggest loss this season, and Darryl Sutter is going to have try and define himself with his next move.

That may be tough to do with no picks in the first three rounds of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and little cap space to lure a big name free agent.

Then again, if Pat Quinn could acquire Markus Nalsund for Alek Stojanov back in the day, then maybe, just maybe there is a flickering hope that the Flames will catch fire again.

If the Cammalleri led Canadiens have taught me anything in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's that anything is indeed possible.