Sutter Might Be Re-Visiting Failure to Prove He Was Actually Right

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 03:  Olli Jokinen #21 of the Calgary Flames passes the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on December 3, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Of all of yesterday’s free agent signings, Calgary’s were easily the most perplexing.

GM Darryl Sutter basically re-signed some of the Flames’ more notoriously poor signings, giving deals to Olli Jokinen (2 years/$6 million) and Alex Tanguay (1 year/$1.7 million).

Jokinen was traded out of Calgary last season, so basically Sutter took on some bad Ranger contracts (although Sutter says Ales Kotalik, another bounty from the Jokinen trade, might still be in the Flames’ plans) and gave up Brandon Prust to wind up retaining Jokinen’s services.

If the working definition of insanity is repeating the same act and expecting a different outcome each time, there’s a strong argument for doubting Sutter’s sanity.

In fact, the only person on-board, outwardly anyway, with yesterday’s NHL GM version of GROUNDHOG DAY seems to be Jarome Iginla, who’s pretty much reconciled himself to never playing with a worthy center again.

I think at this point in his career with the Flames, Iginla is just happy when the correct number of players show up for a game.

So what was Sutter thinking?

That’s the magic question.

My theory is that Sutter’s a proud and stubborn guy. He’s taken a lot of hits for his moves and he knows his job is in jeopardy. I suspect things have gotten so adverserial in Calgary, Sutter didn’t want to go in a different direction and seem like he was admitting his past mistakes.

So he decided to embrace his past mistakes and use them to save his job.

I think Sutter is thinking that if he can succeed with Jokinen and Tanguay, then he’s pretty much bullet proof for the next few years.

For Sutter, saving his job isn’t enough. I think he’s out to save his reputation by showing all of his moves have actually been sound, even if the results at the time didn’t support that idea.

It’s certainly a bold move and it seems doomed to failure, but it’s the only reasonable explanation I can think of for yesterday’s moves.

The only other thing I can think of, and this is a long-shot, is that Sutter let his thought process get away from him.

Like he was considering trading for Marc Savard and started wondering if he would get hammered for re-acquiring a former Flame.

And then he maybe started thinking that if he was going to get hammered for trading for Savard, he might as well sign Jokinen and not give anything up.

And then, once he had decided to re-sign Jokinen, maybe he figured, ‘As long as I’m taking some heat for this, I may as well grab Tanguay, too,’ and suddenly Sutter found himself re-acquiring some of his least successful players.

Or maybe Sutter is just planning a pay-per-view special where he walks us through yesterday’s logic.

Because at this point, I’d pay quite a bit to know what exactly was going through his mind.