It was expected.
The Calgary Flames have parted ways with Head Coach Darryl Sutter after leading the team to an underwhelming 38-27-17 record. They only missed the playoffs by three points, but that doesn’t define the mediocre season the Flames had.
In three seasons as Head Coach of the Flames, Sutter finished with a record of 210-136-43, leading the team to one playoff appearance in 2021-22.
It was looking so good for the Flames during the 2021-22 season, and we saw them clinch the Pacific division with 111 points and having two 100+ point scorers in Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, as well as Jacob Markstrom sporting a .922Sv%.
In the playoffs, we saw the dominance of what Markstrom can do as the Flames outdueled the Stars in seven games to advance to the second round, which set up the Battle of Alberta. Unfortunately, it would end there. Connor McDavid torched the Flames, scoring 12 points in the five game series.
The Flames entered the offseason facing many questions, mainly what the contract situation would be with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. The first of the moves happened on July 14 when Johnny Gaudreau signed a seven year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. That was the first blow for the Flames.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov had a fantastic 2021-22 campaign as Huberdeau scored 115 points and Barkov scored 88, but they were vital to Florida’s success. Neither fan base was expecting the massive trade that were to take place a week later.
July 25 will always be looked upon as a franchise altering trade both for the Florida Panthers and the Calgary Flames. Rarely does it happen in the history of the NHL, where two 100 point scorers are involved in a deal.
Fast forward to this season, the Florida Panthers are in the second round of the playoffs, coming off a stunner..that puts it lightly..a historic upset in seven games against the Boston Bruins, who set multiple regular season records. Matthew Tkachuk was a force to be reckoned with, scoring 11 points in seven games.
For Huberdeau, he can only watch from his living room couch. This season was abysmal. He scored 55 points in 79 games. We also saw Sutter bench Huberdeau as the Flames were trying to make a playoff push.
It’s clear that the system Sutter was implementing with the Flames didn’t fit Huberdeau’s style of play. Something the Flames need to address as they are locked into Huberdeau until the end of the 2030-31 season, paying him $10.5M per year.
This is your franchise player. Get a coach that fits his needs and gets Huberdeau back to producing at the rate he was in Florida. That’s what is important for the Flames in the upcoming years.