I thought Darryl Sutter was mad to trade for Olli Jokinen a year ago and I think he is mad to now trade Jokinen for Kotalik and Higgins. I don’t think the Flames can possibly be better for the trade this season and they sure won’t be better for it over the next couple of years.
I thought Darryl Sutter was nuts to go after Bouwmeester – even though I like Jay a lot as a player – because I thought Jay’s money would have been better spent on Mike Cammalleri or another forward. It turned out that Bouwmeester was too much like Phaneuf and Jokinen was too much like Iginla for the acquisitions to work out.
I suppose Matt Fenwick has a point when he suggests that Sutter does deserve some credit for recognizing that his plan was not working and taking decisive action to rectify the situation. The really bad thing about acquiring Jokinen was that it involved radical surgery on a healthy patient. This year the best thing you can say about the changes Sutter made is that the team looked terminally ill before the trades.
I’ll agree with Fenwick if the Phaneuf trade does turn the ship around. I doubt if it will because I don’t think teams remade with 30 games to go in a season fare very well. It will probably take some stuttering over a couple of weeks before Coach Sutter has sorted the new players into appropriate roles. That’s when we’ll find out whether the new Calgary Flames are any better may than the old. Even if things work out, a year ago the Flames were legitimate contenders and, no matter what, that ship has sailed. They’ve fallen to the point where they could easily miss the playoffs. That’s some crash under any circumstances, but the fact that the collapse can be directly attributed to decisions made by the general manager is very unusual.
Can Sutter survive this fiasco? I think his era in Calgary is probably drawing to a close.