August 23 2016 02:00PM
Darryl Sutter was simultaneously one of the best and worst general managers of the Calgary Flames. During his tenure, he took the team out of the Young Guns era and into their most successful spell since the 1980s. On the other hand, he also ignored the looming spectre of old age and unsustainability and sent the team crashing into rebuild mode.
The latter is mostly due to his drafting. If he wasn't trading draft picks away ("fun" fact! Sutter only drafted in the second round twice during his eight years), he was wasting them. There's the infamous 2005 and 2006 drafts, where the best selection he made was his own son (who played all of 60 NHL games). Of the 59 players he selected, only ten have player more than 100 games, and most of those ten are depth players. TJ Brodie, Dion Phaneuf, and Mikael Backlund are pretty much his only impact picks through his whole career.
It's absolutely stunning that a man who pretty much excelled at every other aspect of his job could fail so completely at drafting. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, we can look back and say he should've picked this player and this other player instead of this guy or Matt Pelech. That criticism can apply to every GM though. If given the chance to repick, everyone would grab certain NHLers.
The more interesting, and more fun, way to judge the quality of Darryl Sutter's picks is to put someone else in the exact same spot, but without any hockey knowledge, previous experience, scouting reports, statistical data, or what have you. Someone who is equally likely to take a seventh rounder in the first round as they would take a first rounder. Someone who could use all their picks on goalies. That someone is a hat.
August 22 2016 04:48PM
People like yours truly tend to complain whenever there’s a weak spot on an NHL team’s depth chart. For actual NHL players with their eyes on moving up the lineup, though, any weak spot represents a golden opportunity.
This fall, the opportunity at right wing is one that Nail Yakupov and Jesse Puljujarvi will seek to exploit, but they won’t be the only ones. Zack Kassian’s major-league career cannot have gone the way he had planned, but he can change the narrative in a substantial way if he starts off well this season.
August 22 2016 04:38PM
Nobody's perfect, and that's especially the case with general managers in the world of sports. Hockeytown's notorious mastermind, Ken Holland, is certainly no exception. While he's made plenty of good moves in his almost 20 year tenure with the Red Wings, he's had his fair share of bad one's as well. So, let's take a look at his five worst moves in his career.
August 22 2016 01:00PM
When Boston selected defenseman Mark Stuart 21st overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, there was a lot of calibre to his name. The stay-at-home defender proved to be a strong performer at Colorado College, serving as the captain, racking up PIM, dominating the game physically, and serving as a leader.
After a few years developing with the Bruins and playing with their AHL-affiliate in Providence, he was finally ready to enter the NHL in 2005. Providing a strong performance in the defenssive zone, combined with hitting and shot-blocking ability, Stuart was proving to be a solid defender to have on the bottom-pairing.
August 22 2016 12:00PM
This off-season has brought a lot of change for the Calgary Flames, as the organization has swapped a lot of bodies in and out – both on and off the ice. In addition to the on-ice acquisitions of Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson, Troy Brouwer and Matthew Tkachuk, the club has also added a new head coach in Glen Gulutzan and a pair of new assistant coaches in Paul Jerrard and Dave Cameron.
One of the big criticisms that many observers had of former Flames coach Bob Hartley was his special teams performance and deployments. Now that there's a new bench boss, it's likely a good time to take a look at what the Flames have available to kick off 2016-17 in terms of special teams – as they were among the worst in the entire NHL in that realm. Who should be on the power play and the penalty kill this season? And, anticipating how the roster might shake out, what's the best way to balance out ice-time and high-pressure, high-leverage minutes?