Counterpoint: Darryl Sutter's Summer Moves Made the Flames a Ninth Place Team

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 02: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks moves in to steal the puck from Brendan Morrison #8 of the Calgary Flames at the United Center on March 2, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Flames 6-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The few remaining Darryl Sutter apologists love to point out that Brendan Morrison was a "genius" signing by Darryl. That the Alex Tanguay signing and Olli Jokinen signings revealed a better understanding of the new NHL or something. That he knew exactly what Tim Jackman would bring to the team.

The few remaining Darryl Sutter apologists are morons.

About a week ago Ryan wrote a post detailing how the departed GM Darryl Sutter's moves this past offseason made the Flames a "playoff" team.  Now I don't want to put words in Ryan's mouth, so I'm going to point out that he didn't argue that Darryl Sutter was a good GM or his signings are good for the Flames long term- merely that the Flames are a playoff team this year because of Darryl's offseason moves.

However, I have to disagree. The Flames are going to miss the playoffs this year, or if they're luck, hit 8th place, and the offseason signings are one of the reasons why.

Don't mistake me- Brendan Morrison, Alex Tanguay, Olli Jokinen, and Tim Jackman are all valuable players to the Flames team in the stretch run. That doesn't mean that they were necessarily "inspired signings" though. Through previous offseasons, Sutter had shown a predilection to sign retreads and has-beens. Players on their last legs that no other team wanted at the price Sutter would sign them for. Your Andre Roy's (though it's hard to say if Roy ever had legs better than his last legs), if you will. These signings in their intentions were no different. Olli Jokinen? Darryl Sutter had just traded him for since-departed Chris Higgins and AHL millionaire Ales Kotalik, and yet for whatever reason, Darryl Sutter brought him back. Alex Tanguay? Clearly signed because of his level of play a few years back, not because of his level of play the most recent season.

Tim Jackman was signing, while one of my favorites, was most likely an attempt at signing a big lumbering goon- not a hardnosed 4th liner who can actually play some. Now all of these are at very affordable costs, but that is as much of an indication of the market as it is of "Sutter's shrewdness"

But Brendan Morrison? The Brendan Morrison signing is the biggest indication that not only showcases Sutter's lack of smart signings this past offseason, as he was merely signed to fill in for injured players for less than $1M, but it indicates the failures of Darryl Sutter in every other way that has led the team to where it is now- at the outside looking in with no injury insurance.

As I noted yesterday- David Moss is out for an unknown amount of time with an ankle injury, and that's absolutely going to kill the Flames. He's one of the Flame's best forwards, hands down. And with Brendan Morrison out the remainder of the season, the center position is looking very lacking.

It's a troubling position to find yourself in when the two best centers on the team are out and you're left with a rookie who is highly sheltered, a sick Olli Jokinen, and Matt friggin Stajan to fill those spots. None of these players can handle top competition on a regular basis and do well. Stajan plays said top competition on a regular basis, but it can hardly be said that he does well when doing so. Olli Jokinen has historically struggled when playing with Jarome Iginla against top competition. And as I already mentioned, Mikael Backlund is highly sheltered. So who's left?  As I mentioned in the David Moss post I linked to earlier- some Frankenstein combination of Matt Keith, Greg Nemisz, or even Lance Bouma.

While Darryl Sutter acquired players who turned out to be impact players for the team, he also acquired older players who are often injured and failed to truly build injury depth. Granted, having two centers injured at the same time is unlikely, but then David Moss hadn't been a center in some years and was called to fill that position because of, get this, lack of depth. Jay Feaster attempted to add some depth at the trade deadline, but an (also) injured Fredrik Modin and Brett Carson will hardly get the job done. This shouldn't reflect too poorly on him, as he had limited assets to work with, but nonetheless, the Flames lack of depth is showing now, and it doesn't look pretty for the upcoming games.

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