The reigning Jack Adams Award winner as the NHL's top coach is likely to find himself on the unemployment line this summer, according to a report from NHL insider Frank Seravalli.
Just one season after leading the Calgary Flames to an incredible campaign in 2021-22, head coach Darryl Sutter seemingly pushed all the wrong buttons this season and drove his team out of a playoff spot. According to Seravalli, he also alienated his team's top players and likely coached himself right out of a job.
More from Seravalli on this situation in Calgary:
he decision to send Nick Ritchie in on a season-deciding shootout was just the piece de resistance on a season full of head-scratching calls – from four months of Jonathan Huberdeau on the right wing to weeks of Milan Lucic in the top six. The handling of Jakob Pelletier and “What number is he?” rubbed the entire organization the wrong way. There are believed to be at least a handful of players expected to voice their disapproval at exit meetings, if they have not done so already. They’ll voice them to GM Brad Treliving, who does not have a contract for next season. Could Calgary actually continue with Sutter as coach? Cowtown doesn’t seem big enough for Treliving and Sutter. One could be back. Neither could be back. The only thing we know is change is coming in Calgary.
- Frank Seravalli
The funny thing is that Seravalli's counterpart over at Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, reports that Sutter will NOT be removed from his position. Friedman believes that the Flames have committed to Sutter to the tune of $8 million and neither side has the appetite to walk away from that.
“I think Sutter’s coming back, he’s got like an $8M extension there and he’s not a guy who’s walking away from that, I don’t know who would. I got to think Sutter’s coming back”.
- Elliotte Friedman
Hmmmmm... I dunno...
Look, there's no denying Sutter's accomplishments. He has reached the peak of this sport as a head coach... but his best coaching results come nearly a decade ago and he consistently hamstrung his team with stubborn decisions all season long. I suspect that this may have been his final season in the NHL as a head coach and almost certainly his last season in the Flames' organization. And frankly, there should be no shame in that.
Again, Sutter has accomplished all there is to accomplish as an NHL coach. He was one of the best coaches of his generation, but it's becoming painfully obvious that the game is simply passing him by. It happens to all the greats at one point or another.