George Johnson is not messing around this morning, calling for the Calgary Flames, officially out of the playoffs, to be blown-up.
Johnson is serious. He says he suspects Jarome Iginla will be moved during the off-season and calls the season Darryl Sutter’s failure.
I get that Johnson is upset but it’s tough to autopsy a season moments after it ends.
Sutter made some bad moves, but they’re bad in retrospect. He put a lot of eggs in the Jay Bouwmeester basket, but the signing seemed completely risk-free at the time. What GM wouldn’t have signed Bouwmeester if they had the cap space?
And signing his brother, Brent Sutter, as coach also seemed like a no-brainer after Sutter’s time in New Jersey.
And as for moving Iginla?
Iginla likes it in Calgary. I’m not sure why you would move an extraordinary player who likes playing in your city. The Flames could get a lot for Iginla, but it would probably be picks and prospects that might take years to develop. I can’t think of a player comparable to Iginla that another team would be willing to give up for him.
However, I can think of a lot of inferior players GMs around the league would be willing to trade for Iginla.
The bigger issue, the issue that never seems to get addressed in Calgary, is that Iginla rarely seems to have anyone to play with. Michael Cammalleri worked well but he was allowed to sign with Montreal. You can’t force your team’s greatest asset to constantly do things the hard way. Iginla could have potentially had another 10-15 goals with better line mates over the course of this season.
Iginla’s performance in the Olympics reminded everyone just how great he can be when he’s playing with true NHL talent. Apparently Darryl Sutter didn’t take notice.
A lot of stuff went wrong for the Flames this season, but some of them were hard, if not impossible, to predict. Others, like Iginla’s need for high-quality line mates, seem a bit more obvious.
Many of this season’s troubles seem to come down to coaching. That’s something relatively easy to address.
So for now, I think Darryl Sutter deserves another season to establish if he can turn things around or if fixing the Flames is beyond his skill set.
If he can’t fix the mistakes of this season by next year, then maybe it is time to blow-up the Calgary Flames.