Calgary Flames

The history of Darryl Sutter coached teams at the trade deadline

Are the Calgary Flames buyers? Are they sellers? No one knows at this point. A couple days after crushing a solid Buffalo Sabres team, the Flames hit arguably their lowest point in the season by blowing a two-goal lead with under three minutes left to the lowly Ottawa Senators. It’s still a huge question mark how Brad Treliving will handle the trade deadline this season.

Last week we took a look at how the Flames have handled their trade deadlines under Darryl Sutter the general manager. Now let’s take a look at how Darryl Sutter coached teams have handled the trade deadline. For this we’ll ignore any seasons in which he also held general manager duties, and only look at the seasons in which he was strictly a coach. Last season was actually just the second time he’s gone through a deadline as just the Flames coach. He did however spend six seasons behind the bench in LA. Let’s take a look.

2002–03 – Calgary Flames

2002–03 was Sutter’s first ever year in Calgary after being hired mid-season. The Flames were a tire fire that season to say the least, as they went into the trade deadline third last in the Western conference and 25th overall in the NHL. Needless to say this was a rebuilding year for the team. Sutter would make a couple shrewd deals at the deadline that would help the Flames make a run the next year in 2003–04.

Traded D Micki Dupont and F Mattias Johansson for D Shean Donovan

This is a deal that would pay off the following season, as Shean Donovan would play a key role in the Flames’ run to Game 7 of the final in 2003–04. Donovan’s stock was quite low at the time, as he was just a year removed from being placed on waivers. Sutter saw an opportunity and took it. In the deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins he gave up two rookies in Mathias Johansson and Micki Dupont.

Johansson would go on to play just 12 games in Pittsburgh and was out of the NHL following the season. Dupont meanwhile managed five games in the NHL after being dealt and was out of the league by 2007. Donavon would play 162 of 164 regular season games for the Flames over the next two seasons, including 31 of 33 playoff games. Overall this was a great move by Sutter.

Traded F Rob Niedermayer for D Mike Commodore and G Jean-Francois Damphousse

In yet another deal that would pay off the following season, Sutter picked up young defenceman Mike Commodore and goalie prospect J.F. Damphousse. from the Anaheim Ducks for veteran forward Rob Niedermayer. Niedermayer was in his second season in Calgary, and had just 38 points across 111 games with the team.

Damphousse had no NHL experience and would be out of the organization the following season. Commodore however would play a role in the 2003–04 run, much like Donovan. Despite playing just 12 regular season games in 2003–04, he’d suit up for 20 of 26 playoff games that season. He’d leave the Flames in free agency after the lockout, however his impact was felt during the 2003–04 playoffs.

Traded a fifth-round pick (Mark McCutheon) for F Dean McAmmond

This one was a very minor deal. The Flames sent a fifth to Colorado to re-acquire veteran forward Dean McAmmond, who was dealt by the Flames to Colorado only a few months prior. McAmmond wouldn’t play for the Flames in 2002–03, but would log 64 regular season games and no playoff games in 2003–04. He’d leave the Flames in free agency after the lockout.

2011–12 – Los Angeles Kings

Like the 2002–03 season with the Flames, Sutter was hired mid-season by the Kings in 2011–12. The Kings were far from a juggernaut when Sutter took over, as they sat 10th in the Western conference going into deadline day. They didn’t make any moves on the actual trade deadline, however they made a franchise-altering one a few days prior.

Traded D Jack Johnson and a first-round pick (Marko Dano) for F Jeff Carter

This was a big one. At the time Jack Johnson was just 25 years old and seven years removed from being picked third overall in the draft. Jeff Carter meanwhile was 27 years old, in his prime, and a bonafide top-six centre in the league. Despite sitting 10th in the West, Sutter and the Kings clearly weren’t afraid to mortgage the future to go all-in on a centre with playoff experience.

Luckily for them, Johnson would never reach anywhere close to his potential, and Columbus would use the Kings’ first-rounder on Marko Dano who only played 141 NHL games. Carter meanwhile would spend parts of 10 seasons in L.A., and rack up 383 points in 580 regular season games as well as 53 points in 73 playoff games. Most importantly he’d help guide the Kings to the Stanley Cup immediately in 2011–12 and then again in 2013–14 as an integral part of their roster. This was one of the greatest deadline week deals ever made.

2012–13 – L.A. Kings

Going into the 2012–13 trade deadline, the Kings were in a much different spot than the year prior. They ranked sixth in the Western Conference and 11th in the NHL. Once again Sutter and the Kings made no deals on deadline day, however they made a big one prior.

Traded a second-round pick (Erik Cernak) and a second-round pick (Alex Lintuniemi) for D Robyn Regehr

This deal had Sutter written all over it. Robyn Regehr was of course an integral part of the Flames’ success during Sutter’s first tenure, and was the exact type of rugged, physical defenceman Sutter loved on his teams. Despite Regehr nearing the end of his career at 32 years old, the Kings—no doubt pushed by Sutter—paid a pretty penny and shipped off two second-round picks to Buffalo for the veteran.

Regehr would play parts of three seasons in L.A. before retiring in 2015. He’d log 158 regular season games and 26 playoff games. His biggest contribution would be in the 2012–13 playoffs, where he would play all 18 playoff games for the Kings. Unfortunately in 2013–14 he only suited up for eight of 26 playoff games due to injury.

Funnily enough, both of the second-round picks would actually be dealt back to the Kings in 2014, who selected Erik Cernak with one of them before dealing him to Tampa in 2017. Overall this wasn’t a great deal to make. Trading multiple high draft picks for an aging veteran defenceman is usually not a smart idea. In the end the Kings likely would’ve still won the 2014 Stanley Cup without Regehr’s eight games, but he helped them win a couple games so that’s what counts in the end I guess.

Traded D Davis Drewiske for a fifth-round pick

This was simply a cap dump for the Kings, as David Drewiske had played just 20 games that season and had no part in their previous playoff success. In return they received a fifth-round pick which they used on goalie Patrik Bartosak who never played in the NHL.

2013–14 – L.A. Kings

The 2014 deadline was one of the Kings’ busiest with Sutter as coach. Coming off a trip to the Western Conference Final, the Kings were once again all-in in 2013–14. They sat sixth in the West, but ninth in the NHL going into the deadline. As such they were once again primed for a deep playoff run and looking for reinforcements. Like in years prior, Sutter and the Kings made one big addition.

Traded F Matt Frattin, a second-round pick (Travis Dermott) and a third-round pick (Dominic Turgeon) for F Marian Gaborik

This was arguably the Kings largest deadline day deal under Sutter. Gaborik was considered one of the top forwards available at the deadline, so the Kings went all-in to bolster their forward group going into the playoffs. Gaborik was 32 years old with his best days behind him, but still carried a ton of offensive upside. He found immediate success with the Kings, posting 16 points in 19 regular season games.

Matt Frattin would only play 13 NHL games after being dealt, while the third-round pick turned into Dominic Turgeon who played nine games in the NHL. The second-rounder the Kings dealt away turned into Travis Dermott who is currently a depth defenceman.

Gaborik really made his mark in the playoffs that year, as he’d post 14 goals and 22 points in 26 playoff games to help lead the Kings to another Stanley Cup. His 14 goals were most in the playoffs that year and tied for the second most since the turn of the century. Gaborik would sign a massive extension with the Kings in the offseason and stick around for another four seasons. Needless to say this deal was a huge success for the Kings and one of the main reasons they won the Stanley Cup in 2014.

Traded a conditional seventh-round pick (Jacob Friend) for F James Livingstson

This deal had zero impact on either team. James Livingston was in the AHL at the time, and never made the NHL. The conditional seventh returned to the Kings as they did not re-sign Livingston after the season.

Traded F Nicolas Deslauriers and F Hudson Fasching for D Brayden McNabb, F Jonathan Parker, a second-round pick (Erik Cernak) and a second round pick (Alex Lintuniemi)

This deal didn’t amount to much for either team despite featuring four player and two draft picks. The Kings shipped out prospects Nicolas Deslauriers and Hudson Fasching for rookie Brayden McNabb, prospect Jonathan Parker, and the two second-round picks they traded to Buffalo for Regehr a couple years prior.

Deslauriers amounted to nothing more than a fringe NHLer in four seasons in Buffalo, which he still is to this day. Hudson Fasching would end up being a bust after a successful college career and currently has just 61 games played in the NHL. Coming back to the Kings, Brayden McNabb didn’t play a game for the Kings during their 2013–14 Stanley Cup run, but played 201 regular season games and five playoff games across the next three seasons before being claimed in the expansion draft in 2017.

Jonathan Parker would never play in the NHL and retired in 2016. With the two second-round picks, the Kings would nail it with Cernak, and miss the mark with Lintuniemi. They’d end up dealing Cernak in the Ben Bishop deal a couple years later in 2017 though. Overall, no one in this deal contributed much to the success of either team, but it was great value at the time for the Kings.

2014–15 – L.A. Kings

This season was the beginning of the end for Sutter and the Kings. After winning the Stanley Cup the year prior the Kings went into the 2015 trade deadline sitting 10th in the Western conference and 18th in the NHL. Unlike years prior they were far from a lock to make the playoffs. Still, Sutter and the Kings made their one typical big addition around the deadline.

Traded D Roland McKeown and a first-round pick (Julien Gauthier) for Andrej Sekera

Before their two previous Cup wins, the Kings made a big addition around the deadline in Carter and Gaborik. This year they tried to recreate that magic by picking up one of the top defenders available in Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes. Sekera was in his prime at 27 years old and coming off a 44-point season, so the acquisition cost wasn’t cheap.

The Kings gave up one of their top prospects in Roland McKeown and a first-round pick. In the end Sekera played just 16 regular season games for the Kings as they would miss the playoffs that year. Sekera would then leave in free agency following the season. They dodged a bullet though as McKeown never reached his potential and to date has played just 16 NHL games. Meanwhile the Hurricanes would use the Kings first rounder on Julien Gauther who has played just 133 NHL games so far and only managed five with the Hurricanes.

This was a huge and incredibly risky gamble by Sutter and the Kings and one that didn’t pay off at all. The Kings sat right around where the Flames currently do in the standings and paid a top prospect and first-rounder for a rental. Here’s hoping the Flames don’t make the same mistake this year.

2015–16 – L.A. Kings

After a disappointing 2014–15 season, the Kings were back in 2015–16. Going into the deadline they sat fourth in the Western Conference and seventh overall in the NHL. With an aging roster and a closing Cup window, Sutter and the Kings once again made some big swings around the deadline in order to fill out their roster.

Traded D Christian Ehrhoff for D Rob Scuderi

Trying to get the band back together, the Kings shipped out the freshly signed veteran Christian Ehrhoff to Chicago in order to bring back 37-year-old Rob Scuderi. Scuderi was with the Kings from 2009 to 2013 and won a Cup with the team in 2012 before leaving in free agency.

Scuderi would log 21 regular season games with the Kings that year and play in all five playoff games. He’d retire the following season. Ehroff meanwhile would play eight games with the Blackhawks and go over to Europe following the season. In the end this was a move made purely to bring back one of Sutter’s guys who he had won with before, as both were well past their prime at the time of the deadline.

Traded Valentin Zykov and a conditional fifth-round pick for F Kris Versteeg

In another move to bring in some veteran help, Sutter and the Kings went out and acquired 29-year-old Kris Versteeg from the Carolina Hurricanes for prospect Valentin Zykov and a conditional draft pick. Versteeg was still a decent contributor and sat with 33 points in 63 games going into the deadline. Considering Versteeg was a pure rental and more of a middle-six option, the price was a little steep.

Zykov was one of the Kings’ top prospects at the time, and was still only 20 years old. Once again though, a top prospect the Kings traded just didn’t pan out. Zykov would only play 25 games across three seasons with the Hurricanes, and has played in Europe since 2020. Versteeg meanwhile would put up five points in 14 regular season games and two points in five playoff games that year as the Kings would get bounced in the first round. He’d leave in free agency in the offseason. All said, this deal was a fail for both sides.

Traded F Scott Sabourin for F Brett Sutter

Not much to say here. Both Scott Sabourin and Brett Sutter were AHL players at the time of the deal. One was just Sutter’s son. Neither amounted to anything in the NHL.

2016–17- L.A. Kings

It was do or die time for Sutter and the Kings going into the 2017 deadline. The team was aging, past their prime, and firmly on the playoff bubble. Yet they still went all-in one more time, once again making their obligatory big move around the deadline.

Traded G Peter Budaj, D Erik Cernak and a seventh-round pick (Wyatt Kalynuk) for G Ben Bishop and a fifth-round pick (Drake Rymsha)

If you’re a Flames fan you’ll remember this deadline day. The Flames reportedly had a deal in place for Bishop, however they couldn’t get a hold of owner Murray Edwards to approve the deal and that was that. This opened to door for the Kings to swing in and acquire Bishop. Considering Bishop was likely a rental the cost wasn’t cheap as they had to give up 19-year-old prospect Cernak in the deal.

As mentioned Cernak has gone on to have great success in Tampa Bay. Meanwhile Bishop played just seven regular season games for the Kings and posted a .900 save percentage. The Kings would miss the playoffs that season and deal Bishop in the offseason instead of losing him in free agency. Neither the seventh-rounder nor fifth-rounder found any success in the NHL.

Traded F Dwight King for a conditional fourth-round pick

This was simply a move to offload an expiring contract. The conditions on the pick weren’t met, so the Kings go nothing in return for veteran Dwight King. In a wild change of events, Sutter actually allowed one of his guys who helped the Kings win Cups in 2012 and 2014 get traded away. King was out of the NHL following the season.

Traded a conditional fourth-round pick for F Jarome Iginla

A deal to bring a tear to a grown man’s eye. In his final year in the NHL, Sutter and the Kings made a last ditch effort to get into the playoffs by sending a conditional pick to Colorado to reunite Sutter with a 39-year-old Jarome Iginla. Iginla would post a respectable nine points in 19 games for the Kings, but the Kings would fail to make the playoffs. Iginla would retire following the season and the conditions on the pick were not met. Let’s be honest, it should’ve been the Flames who made this deadline deal and went into the playoffs with Iginla one final time.

2021–22 – Calgary Flames

Sutter’s most recent season with the Flames saw the team pull off some pretty big moves around the deadline, to varying success. Like his days with the Kings, the Flames and Sutter made one big deal around the deadline to solidify their roster going into the playoffs as they were locked into a playoff spot.

Traded F Emil Heineman and a first-round pick (Filip Mesar) for F Tyler Toffoli

Sutter likes his guys. Tyler Toffoli was one of his guys in L.A., so it wasn’t a shock to anyone when the Flames went all-in to acquire Toffoli. Toffoli was coming off a remarkable 28-goal, 44-point shortened season, so his price wasn’t going to be cheap especially considering he carried three more years on his contract. As such, the Flames paid up to get their guy.

The Flames shipped out 21-year-old Emil Heineman as well as a first-round pick that ended up being Filip Mesar. Heineman hasn’t seen a ton of success since being traded but still has some NHL potential. He currently has 11 points in 25 games in the SHL. Mesar meanwhile is still incredibly young at 19 but is currently a point-per-game player in the OHL.

Toffoli meanwhile has posted 71 points across 91 regular season games, as well as five points in 12 playoff games for the Flames. This season he’s been a perfect fit on the Flames’ top line and has been one of their most consistent forwards. This was a classic win-win deal, and an especially great one for the Flames.

Traded a second-round pick (David Goyette), a third-round pick, and a seventh-round pick for F Calle Jarnkrok

This one seemed like an overpay the day it was made, but the fit was perfect so most were able to stomach the price. Calle Jarnkrok is a Swiss Army knife-style player, who can play up and down a lineup and wherever you need him. In other words what should be a perfect fit under Sutter.

Jarnkrok would just never gel with the Flames roster though. He posted one single goal and eight points across 29 games with the Flames, with his lone goal coming in the final game of the season. Meanwhile the Kraken selected forward David Goyette with the Flames second-round pick. He currently has 65 points in 45 games in the OHL. We’ll have to wait to see who they pick with the third and seventh round picks this upcoming draft.

Depending how the draft picks turn out for the Kraken, this could turn out to be an all-time deadline miss by Sutter and the Flames.

Traded a fifth-round pick for F Ryan Carpenter

There isn’t much to this one. Ryan Carpenter is a fringe NHLer and played just eight regular season games and no playoff games with the Flames after being acquired. He left in free agency in the offseason.

A history of success

There’s no doubt that Sutter had massive success behind the bench during his time in L.A. Even though he was only the coach, he clearly had a major say in many of the acquisitions the Kings made during his time there. The Kings made some major deals at the deadline, with most of them ending up as huge successes.

On top of that, during his two tenures as solely the head coach in Calgary, the Flames have had great success with their deadline deals. Here’s hoping head coach Sutter can keep up his streak of deadline success this year with the Flames. When he isn’t employed as the general manager, his teams tend to make great deadline deals.

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