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12-07-2010, 06:15 PM
Stewie Griffin
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The Real Reason to Fire Darryl Sutter

This is not a "ZOMG WE ARE LOSING! FIRE EVERYONE!" thread. This is my opinion as to why Darryl Sutter should be fired; in fact, he probably should have been fired two years ago. Basically, it's because he's kept the scouting staff intact; specifically, keeping Tod Button on the payroll. Moreso, it's because the entire situation has gotten worse over the past five years. Let me explain.

Darryl Sutter should have completely gutted the scouting department of the Flames after realizing their complete failure in previous draft years. The fact that this scouting staff has remained in place beyond 2005, in spite of some of their obvious mistakes in previous years is one of the main reasosns (in my opinion) Darryl should be out of a job as soon as possible. The other, and probably more critical reason, is the obvious sense of desperation shown in the 2010, and the upcoming 2011 drafts, and the fact that the Flames will be missing out on three of the top 50 draft picks in these two drafts. It's also no secret that Hockey's Future amongst others have ranked the Flames organization as one of (if not the) worst teams in terms of future prospects. Far be it from me to blindly believe these websites & magazines, but you have to consider - they do this organization and prospect ranking on a professional or semi-professional basis. While they might be off on the team's ranking, they're certainly not off by 30 spots. Five spots, maybe... but that still puts the Flames in the bottom five.

This analysis is strictly based on his success at the draft floor. As an extension of this, it is also limited to trading of the Flames' own draft picks and the resulting picks by the other teams, and the assets returned by those trades. It does not take into account the trades of player personnel only; nor does it take into account trading of player personnel for other team's picks (although the resulting choices form part of the analysis). Please also note that the grades are arbitrary, and are not based on any part of reality other than my opinion.

2003 Trades:
> Sharks — Traded 2003 third round pick (#97-Ryan Donally), two 2003 fifth round picks (#143-Greg Moore) (#173-Tyler Johnson) to Flames for 2003 second round pick (#47-Matt Carle) on 2003-06-21 This was a compensatory pick received from NHL as compensation for Group III free agent Curtis Joseph. See below.
> Maple Leafs — Traded Curtis Joseph to Flames for 2003 third round pick (#78-Danny Irmen), future considerations (2004 conditional eighth round pick (not exercised)) on 2002-06-30 (see above) (note: pre-Sutter trades)
> Avalanche — Traded Dean McAmmond to Flames for 2003 or 2004 fifth round pick (2003 #146-Mark McCutcheon) on 2003-03-11 (note: pre-Sutter trade)
> Rangers — Traded Mike Mottau to Flames for 2003 sixth round pick or 2004 sixth round pick (Rangers choice) (2003 #176-Ivan Dornic) on 2003-01-22 (note: pre-Sutter trade)

Flames 2003 Draft Picks:
#1 - Dion Phaneuf
#2 - Tim Ramholt
#3 - Ryan Donally
#4 - Jamie Tardif
#5 - Greg Moore
#6 - Tyler Johnson
#7 - Thomas Bellemare
#8 - Cam Cunning
#9 - Kevin Harvey

2003 Summary: The Flames under Craig Button made a few shrewd moves acquiring Mike Mottau (a defenseman now with the Isles) for a 6th round pick, Dean McAmmond for a 4th round pick, and Curtis Joseph for a few minutes prior to 2002 free agency to essentially get a 2nd round pick for a third round pick. However, the player drafted at that position (Matt Carle) was ultimately traded for two lower picks (Moore & Johnson) by a trademark Sutter move.

After the outcome of this draft, is it any wonder that Darryl Sutter has been more than willing to trade draft picks? With Getzlaff, Carter, Perry still on the board, nepotism (along with bad advice from the scouting staff?) ensured that the player with his brother's endorsement was drafted, and keeping the pick that was ultimately used on Matt Carle (and using it on him) would have certainly eased the sting of drafting Tim Ramholt instead of Shea Weber.

Craig Button's Grade: B+ The moves weren't great, but they made the best use of the system in place. Dean McAmmond for a 4th was a pretty good move too.

Sutter's Grade: D. This is based more on the draft results - not based on the players they got, but the ones they missed.

2004 Trades:
> Rangers — Traded 2004 first round pick (#24-Kris Chucko), 2004 second round pick (#46-Adam Pineault) to Flames for 2004 first round pick (#19-Lauri Korpikoski), 2004 eighth round pick (#247-Jonathan Paiement) on 2004-06-25
> Panthers — Traded Marcus Nilson to Flames for 2004 second round pick (#53-David Booth) on 2004-03-08
> Penguins — Traded Andrew Ference to Flames for conditional third round pick (2004 #85-Brian Gifford) on 2003-02-09
> Sharks — Traded Lynn Loyns to Flames for 2004 fifth round pick (#152-Bret Nasby), future considerations (?) on 2004-01-09

2004 Flames Draft Picks:
#1 - Kris Chucko
#3 - Brandon Prust
#3 - Dustin Boyd
#4 - Aki Seitsonen
#4 - Kris Hogg
#6 - Adam Pardy
#6 - Fred Wikner
#7 - Matt Schneider
#7 - Jimmy Spratt
#9 - Adam Cracknell

The 2004 cup run contained players acquired by sacrificing picks in this draft: Marcus Nilson and Andrew Ference (also next year's draft, but we'll get to that) While drafting David Booth would have been nice, I'm okay with losing out on the possibility of drafting him for the Cup run, and would make that trade any day. This was also the year that Sutter signed some undrafted kid named Giordano. He turned out okay.

As for the draft itself, apparently it was decided Calgary needed a forward, after drafting a pair of defensemen (Phaneuf, Ramholt) the year prior. So they drafted... Krus Chucko. Yay! Granted, at that point there was not a lot of forward depth remaining, but imagine if the Flames had taken forwards with the 2003 picks, and been "stuck" with someone like Mike Green in 2004. Unfortunately hindsight is 20/20. This was a good year to trade down for more picks, as it was very hit and miss beyond the top five; and it would have been beneficial to sacrifice the #1 pick for even more 2nd/3rd round picks instead of drafting Kris "why the long face" Chukco.

Sutter's grade: B-. Definite improvement was possible here, but did "good enough" in the third round at least... Signing an undrafted Giordano also turned out to be a great move.

2005 Trades:
> Sharks — Traded Miikka Kiprusoff to Flames for 2005 conditional second round pick (#35-Marc-Edouard Vlasic) on 2003-11-16
> Sabres — Traded 2005 third round pick (#74-Dan Ryder) to Flames for 2005 third round pick (#87-Marc-Andre Gragnani), 2005 fourth round pick (#96-Chris Butler) on 2005-07-30
> Blackhawks — Traded Ville Nieminen to Flames for Jason Morgan, conditional draft pick (2005 #167-Joe Fallon) on 2004-02-24

Flames' 2005 draft picks:
#1 - Matt Pelech
#3 - Gord Baldwin
#3 - Dan Ryder
#4 - J.D. Watt
#5 - Kevin Lalande
#5 - Matt Keetley
#6 - Brett Sutter
#7 - Myles Rumsey

The best things to come out of the 2005 draft were the remaining pieces of the 2004 cup run: Miikka Kiprusoff and Ville Niemenen. Anyone who says they'd take Vlasic over Kipper straight up is a liar. This was an odd year, with the lockout causing the draft lottery that the Flames lost miserably and coupled with the snake draft causing the Flames to lose out on a relatively high 2nd round pick.

Sutter's grade: C+, can't fault him for Dan Ryder's personal issues, as he may have been the best pick by the Flames in this draft, but some shrewd trades the year before did help the team .

2006 Trades:
> Avalanche — Traded Alex Tanguay to Flames for Jordan Leopold, 2006 second round pick (#59-Codey Burki), 2006 or 2007 (2007 or 2008 per ESPN) conditional pick (2007 #49-Trevor Cann) on 2006-06-24
> Coyotes — Traded Jamie Lundmark to Flames for 2006 fourth round pick (#119-Doug Rogers) on 2006-03-09

Flames' 2006 Draft Picks:
#1 - Leland Irving
#3 - John Armstrong
#3 - Aaron Marvin
#4 - Hugo Capentier
#5 - Juuso Puustinen
#6 - Jordan Fulton
#7 - Devin DiDiomente
#7 - Per Jonsson

Jury's still out on Irving; who might be another "Flames First Round Goalie Pick Official Bust" (patent pending), and while Puustinen might have worked out had he not decided to tuck and run back to Europe, the rest of these picks were bad picks in a weak draft, and other than Irving, I'll be surprised to see any of them ever play in the NHL...

As for the trades, trading any picks in this draft for NHL capable talent was a good move; Lundmark is still better than anyone the Flames picked up in this draft year, and trading for Tanguay was supposed to solve the team's scoring woes. It did, kind of.

Sutter's grade: C-. He didn't do enough to help the team long-term, and frankly didn't do enough to help them short-term either.

> Blues — Traded 2007 first round pick (#24-Mikael Backlund), 2007 third round pick (#70-John Negrin) to Flames for 2007 first round pick (#18-Ian Cole) on 2007-06-22
> Avalanche — Traded Alex Tanguay to Flames for Jordan Leopold, 2006 second round pick (#59-Codey Burki), 2006 or 2007 (2007 or 2008 per ESPN) conditional pick (2007 #49-Trevor Cann) on 2006-06-24
> Devils — Traded David Hale, 2007 fifth round pick (#147-Jean-Simon Allard) to Flames for 2007 third round pick (#79-Nick Palmieri) on 2007-02-27
> Kings — Traded Craig Conroy to Flames for Jamie Lundmark, 2007 fourth round pick (#109-Dwight King), 2008 second round pick (#48-Mitch Wahl) on 2007-01-29
> Sabres — Traded 2007 fourth round pick (#116-Keith Aulie) to Flames for two 2007 fifth round picks (#139-Bradley Eidsness) (#147-Jean-Simon Allard) on 2007-06-23
> Avalanche — Traded 2007 fifth round pick (#143-Mickey Renaud) to Flames for two 2007 sixth round picks (#155-Jens Hellgren) (#169-Radim Ostrcil) on 2007-06-23
> Capitals — Traded 2006 seventh round pick (#187-Devin Didiomete), 2007 sixth round pick (#155-Jens Hellgren) to Flames for Chris Clark, 2007 seventh round pick (#199-Andrew Glass) on 2005-08-04

Flames' 2007 draft picks:
#1 - Mikael Backlund
#3 - John Negrin
#4 - Keith Aulie
#5 - Mickey Renaud
#7 - C.J. Severyn

So this was another patented move by Sutter to trade down in the first round and pick up another pick later on. Both of those picks were used to find highly touted prospects, although Negrin's future value has been dropping like a stone lately, to the point of being a training camp away from career AHLer.

The Flames traded up a few times too, picking up a few more players who would be highly touted prospects in Keith Aulie and Mickey Renaud (RIP) Trading Chris Clark for what was ultimately a sixth round pick was a disaster; as Clark has gone on to become a bit of a power forward; and was, in my opinion, one of the key role guys with the Flames in the '04 cup run.

Sutter's grade: C- Trading Clark for a bag of pucks (okay, sixth round pick) was a terrible move. Trading for David Hale and a 5th for a 3rd was a questionable move. Trading down in the draft (to get the guy you wanted anyways) and another pick too was pretty shrewd. Might be one of Sutter & co's better draft years, but only becuase there are fewer busts when there are fewer picks overall. Backlund has developed well, and he's the only reason the grade isn't outright failure.

2008 Trades:
> Kings — Traded Mike Cammalleri, 2008 second round pick (#48-Mitch Wahl) to Flames for 2008 first round pick (#17-Jake Gardiner), 2009 second round pick (#51-Brian Dumoulin) on 2008-06-20 (Flames later traded Alex Tanguay, 2008 fifth round pick (#138-Maxim Trunev) to Canadiens for 2008 first round pick (#25-Greg Nemisz), 2009 second round pick (#49-Stefan Elliott) on 2008-06-20)
> Kings — Traded Craig Conroy to Flames for Jamie Lundmark, 2007 fourth round pick (#109-Dwight King), 2008 second round pick (#48-Mitch Wahl) on 2007-01-29 (recovered in above trade)
> Canadiens — Traded 2008 first round pick (#25-Greg Nemisz), 2009 second round pick (#49-Stefan Elliott) to Flames for Alex Tanguay, 2008 fifth round pick (#138-Maxim Trunev) on 2008-06-20

2008 Draft Picks:
#1 - Greg Nemisz
#2 - Mitch Wahl
#3 - Lance Bouma
#4 - Nick Larson
#4 - T.J. Brodie
#6 - Ryley Grantham
#7 - Alexander Deilert

This draft day involved a fairly complicated set of trades, trading Tanguay to get a first round pick, and trading a first round pick to get Cammalleri. The Cammalleri trade was also crafty, as it reacquired the Flames' 2nd round pick earlier sacrificed in the Conroy trade. IMO, Sutter ultimately came out the winner in these deals. Turns out T.J. Brodie might wind up as a bit of a mid-round gem and fill in nicely as a #4/5 puck moving defenseman.

Grade: B. Sutter peaked at this draft, although I'm starting to wonder if Nemisz's success wasn't more to do with his linemates than actual talent...

> Devils — Traded 2009 first round pick (#23-Tim Erixon), 2009 third round pick (#84-Nicolas Deslauriers) (later traded to the Kings with 107th pick for the 74th pick (Ryan Howse)) to Flames for 2009 first round pick (#20-Jacob Josefson) on 2009-06-26
> Kings — Traded Mike Cammalleri, 2008 second round pick (#48-Mitch Wahl) to Flames for 2008 first round pick (#17-Jake Gardiner), 2009 second round pick (#51-Brian Dumoulin) on 2008-06-20
> Flyers — Traded Jim Vandermeer to Flames for 2009 third round pick (#81-Adam Morrison) on 2008-02-20

2009 Flames Draft Picks:
#1 - Tim Erixon
#3 - Ryan Howse
#4 - Henrik Bjorklund
#5 - Spencer Bennett
#6 - Joni Ortio
#7 - Gaelan Patterson

So in 2009 the Flames made another convoluted series of trades for extra draft picks, as well as picking up Jim Vandermeer for their original 3rd round pick. A couple of prospects to watch came out of this draft in Tim Erixon and Ryan Howse; as well as longshot goaltending prospect Joni Ortio.

Sutter's grade: B-, strictly based on the future potential of guys like Erixon and Howse. If these don't pan out, this is at least a D.

> Coyotes — Traded Olli Jokinen, 2009 third round pick (#67-Josh Birkholz) to Flames for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust, 2009 or 2010 (Flames option) first round pick (2010 #13-Brandon Gormley) on 2009-03-04
> Blackhawks — Traded Rene Bourque to Flames for 2009 or 2010 second round pick (Flames choice) (2010 #43-Bradley Ross) on 2008-07-01
> Sharks — Traded Henrik Karlsson to Flames for 2010 sixth round pick (#163-Konrad Abeltshauser) on 2010-06-26

2010 Flames draft picks:
#3 - Max Reinhart
#3 - Joey Leach
#4 - John Ramage
#4 - Bill Arnold
#5 - Michael Ferland
#7 - Patrick Holland

Putting off the inevitable; that's the theme of the 2010 draft. Unfortunately this was the year that the Flames mortgaged the future somewhat in favour of short-term gain, in Jokinen and Bourque; this wouldn't have been as bad had the Flames made the playoffs; however these picks wound up being picks #13 and #43 overall; with Phoenix taking Brandon Gormely and the Maple Leafs taking Brad Ross, both highly touted prospects that would give the Flames prospect pool an instant boost. While Bourque was a nice addition, it's obvious that Jokinen was/is not. Trading for Karlsson was the best move of this draft, and hopefully the Flames have stolen another goaltender from the Sharks.

Sutter's grade: F. There's no way to sugar coat this one. Missing the playoffs coupled with missing the first two draft picks hurt the team. After seeing the start of this season, the team might as well have just considered this draft year a wash, and given the Oilers the third round pick from this year as well, instead of saving it for 2011 (which might as well be a high 2nd pick) While I probably wouldn't trade Bourque for Brad Ross straight up (I'd have to consider it though) I would probably trade Tim Erixon for Brandon Gormley (I would also have to think about it).

2011 Trades:
> Maple Leafs — Traded Colin Stuart, Anton Stralman, 2012 seventh round pick (?-?) to Flames for Wayne Primeau, 2011 second round pick (?-?) on 2009-07-27
> Oilers — Traded Steve Staios to Flames for Aaron Johnson, 2010 or 2011 third round pick (Flames choice) (2011 ?-?) on 2010-03-03

The 2011 entry draft hasn't happened yet, and already the Flames are missing prime choices in the first three rounds. Should Sutter still be in charge for the 2011 entry draft, and if the Flames don't have a lottery pick with a shot at a top four pick, you can almost bet dollars to donuts that this year's first round pick pick will be traded for a lower first round pick and a later pick in the 2nd or 3rd round.

Sutter grade: F. When you consider the 2nd and 3rd picks were traded with Wayne Primeau for essentially a third round pick in 2010, a 7th round pick in 2012, and Steve Staios, this not only makes this draft a failure before it's even started, but in fact erodes the last bit of respectability from previous transactions that were seen as positives.


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