How to mess up an NHL roster in one year or less

21May10

If the clock isn’t ticking on Daryl Sutter’s time at the helm of the Calgary Flames, it should be.

Not only did the Flames collapse down the stretch in the 2009-2010 NHL regular season and miss the playoffs, but in the process their not-so-clever general manager severely hamstrung the team with some hideous contracts and immoveable players with a series of head scratching trades.

As noted by Scott Cullen, on tsn.ca, the Flames are in a very tough spot heading into the 2010-2011 season, with little cap room and a slew of players (eight) with no-trade/no-movement clauses.

How did this happen?

In a word: panic. Sutter panicked.

How else does anyone explain trading a franchise defenceman in Dion Phaneuf to a 29th place team for a bunch of afterthoughts — Matt Stajan? Ian White? Niklas Hagman? — or dealing Brandon Prust and Olli Jokinen for Chris “six goals” Higgins and the thoroughly underwhelming Ales Kotalik?

Sutter made a flurry of moves leading up to the trade deadline, each of them progressively more desperate, and frankly, worse.

The Flames are a mess and their gm is to blame. With no cap room and a bunch of horrible contracts, don’t look for any big changes in Cowtown this off-season.

Expect the crash-and-burn to continue until a new gm is brought in to clean Sutter’s disaster up. It’s going to be a long summer in Calgary and an even longer season next year.

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