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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Worst GM In Hockey Award: Darryl Sutter

While the rest of the hockey world awaits the fallout from the Ilya Kovalchuk fiasco, I figured I'd write something a little out of left field to distract us from the relatively uninteresting (and hopefully purposeful) summer Glen Sather is having. 

Today's topic is about Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter, who in my mind is currently one of the worst GM's in hockey. So while many Rangers fans lament the hiring of Glen Sather 10 years ago, I will confidently claim, well at least is wasn't Sutter. 

How bad could Darryl Sutter really be? 

Pretty bad, let's start with this summer. In probably one of the most bizarre signings in recent off-seasons, Sutter gave none other than Olli Jokinen a 2 year contract at $3 million per season AND A NO-MOVEMENT CLAUSE. 

My apologies for the caps, but for those of you who have been living under a rock the past 6 months, Sutter traded Jokinen to the Rangers around the deadline. 

Why was he traded? 

Easy, because at the time he had only scored 11 goals in 56 games for them, which is pretty bad considering they were paying him $5.2 million per season. Not to mention Jokinen played most of the season with Jarome Iginla, one of the best powerforwards in hockey. The best part about this trade though, was that Sutter included Brandon Prust, who was one of the best Rangers down the stretch and in return only received Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik, who by the way has two years @ $3 million per season left on his contract and yet another no-trade clause. So now they have 2 forwards taking up $6 million in cap space who scored a total of 14 goals last season while wearing a Flames jersey, one with a no-trade clause and another with a no-movement clause. 

Ok, so that's only a couple of bizarre moves, I'm cherry picking right? Perhaps, but then there is the panic trade with Dion Phaneuf. With the team in a fight for a playoff spot Sutter trades away one of the best offensive d-men in hockey to the Maple Leafs and doesn't receive a single prospect and/or draft pick in return. The only prospect in the blockbuster? Keith Aulie, and he goes the other way, to Toronto. Alright, so maybe Sutter doesn't ask for picks in return because his farm system is ripe with prospects ready to make it to The Show. Yeah, perhaps not. 

In the past 5 drafts they haven't had one pick become a regular, not one. The last draft pick to become an NHL regular is Brandon Prust, who they traded to Phoenix, then signed him back last offseason (are we seeing a pattern here?) and then traded him again to the Rangers. Finally, one of the biggest problems for the Flames is not only are they spent to the cap, but 10 players have no-trade or no-movement clauses, the most of any team in the NHL. So they have virtually no wiggle room unless they buy people out, which they started to do this summer. The first player to go, former Rangers forward Nigel Dawes? He was only making $850K, the third cheapest on the team and was the least of their problems. At least we don't have Sutter.