Hey Darryl, do you have a second?

Jean Lefebvre
July 27 2009 07:59PM

Tim Ramholt.

That, dear readers, is the best possible explanation – or at least the best two-word explanation – for the amazing disposability of second-round picks in the Darryl Sutter Era at the House Pekka Rautakallio Built.

In the summer of 2003, in the early days of Sutter’s reign as Flames general manager, he invested Calgary’s second-round pick in a Swiss defenceman with the aforementioned name. Well, cue all the stale “Swiss miss” wisecracks because Ramholt’s Flames consisted of a grand total of 45 seconds of ice time.

Ever since Two-shift Tim, Sutter hasn’t given a second thought to trading away his second-rounder. Here’s the firsthand look at the phenomenon.

The fate of the Flames’ second-round picks:

2004 – Traded to Florida for Marcus Nilson (the Panthers selected David Booth)

2005 – Traded to San Jose for Miikka Kiprusoff (the Sharks selected Marc-Edouard Vlasic)

2006 – Traded to Colorado in the Alex Tanguay deal (the Avalanche selected Codey Burki)

2007 – Traded to Colorado in the Alex Tanguay deal (the Avalanche selected Trevor Cann)

2008 – Traded to Los Angeles in the Craig Conroy deal (**see note**)

2009 – Traded to Los Angeles in the Michael Cammalleri deal (later traded to the Hurricanes, who drafted Brian Dumoulin)

2010 – Traded to Chicago for Rene Bourque

2011 – Traded to Toronto in Wayne Primeau deal

**Note: Flames reacquired the second-round pick originally given to Los Angeles in the Craig Conroy trade in the Michael Cammalleri trade in 2008. Naturally, as part of the second swap, the Flames gave up a second-rounder for the following year. With the well-travelled second-round pick in 2008, the Flames drafted Spokane forward Mitch Wahl, who so far has defied the odds and remains Flames property.

Based on his work this summer, everyone wants to know how Sutter managed to get rid of $6 million in onerous salary ($4.6M for two years for Jim Vandermeer and $1.4 million for one year for Wayne Primeau). A fair question, to be sure, and one that Tony Gallagher certainly wants an answer to, but there might be an even better question for enquiring minds – howcum none of the National Hockey League watchdogs have noticed that Sutter has traded 23 second-round picks since becoming Flames GM?

OK, it’s actually only eight but considering he’s only been on the job six years, that still takes some doing.

Meanwhile, with the acquisition of Anton Stralman and Colin Stuart, one has to ask yet another question – are the Flames stocking TWO American Hockey League affiliates this coming winter? Over the course of the summer, the Flames have acquired six players who spent at least part of 2008-09 in the minors – Stralman, Stuart, Jason Jaffray, Riley Armstrong, Garth Murray and Brian McGrattan – and a seventh – Keith Seabrook – who’s ticketed for the AHL in 2009-10. Don’t forget that the Flames have several junior prospects eligible to turn pro this season, including Mikael Backlund, John Negrin and Keith Aulie.

The speculation is that part of the Flames’ deal with the folks running the new affiliate in Abbotsford mandated the inclusion of a certain number of minor-league veterans, a breed that was a relative rarity when the Calgary farmhands wintered in Moline, Ill., and Omaha, Neb.

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Lefebvre is in that awkward stage of hockey following -- old enough to fondly remember the Cleveland Barons and too set in his ways to accept charity points and games where there's a winner but apparently no loser. As a long-time ink-stained wretch, he's also a firm believer in the old Bobby Knight quote about journalists: "All of us learn to write in second grade, but most of us go on to better things."
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#1 Kent
July 27 2009, 08:25PM
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I think everyone involved would like to see a competitive team in Abbotsford this year. I doubt the Flames want to live through another farm club transfer a year or two down the road.

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#2 walkinvisible
July 27 2009, 09:24PM
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everyone wants to know how Sutter managed to get rid of $6 million in onerous salary ($4.6M for two years for Jim Vandermeer and $1.4 million for one year for Wayne Primeau

i don't even know if i can explain how annoyed i get when people start talking about how *awesome* sutter is for dumping the deadweight contracts, whilst omitting the fact that it was sutter himself who AUTHORED them.

yes, he hid marcus nilson in sweden and anders eriksson in the A last season.

yes, he unloaded vandermeer's outrageous deal to return brandon prust to the fold (a deal i'm quite convinced was verbally finished on the same day that the flames lost lombardi).

yes, he traded primeau for parts.

yes, rhettro spent the entire 08/09 season on LTIR.

sutter being able to bury his own bad deals might be creative, but the flames should never have been saddled with them in the first place.....

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#3 Kent
July 27 2009, 09:44PM
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walkinvisible wrote:

everyone wants to know how Sutter managed to get rid of $6 million in onerous salary ($4.6M for two years for Jim Vandermeer and $1.4 million for one year for Wayne Primeau i don’t even know if i can explain how annoyed i get when people start talking about how *awesome* sutter is for dumping the deadweight contracts, whilst omitting the fact that it was sutter himself who AUTHORED them. yes, he hid marcus nilson in sweden and anders eriksson in the A last season. yes, he unloaded vandermeer’s outrageous deal to return brandon prust to the fold (a deal i’m quite convinced was verbally finished on the same day that the flames lost lombardi). yes, he traded primeau for parts. yes, rhettro spent the entire 08/09 season on LTIR. sutter being able to bury his own bad deals might be creative, but the flames should never have been saddled with them in the first place…..

Fair enough. Few people have been as critical as me on this subject the last few summers. The fact that Sutter is moving the bad dollars in while collecting other, better bets this summer is encouraging nonetheless. It constitutes progress.

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#4 Lefebvre
July 27 2009, 09:57PM
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walkinvisible wrote:

i don’t even know if i can explain how annoyed i get when people start talking about how *awesome* sutter is for dumping the deadweight contracts, whilst omitting the fact that it was sutter himself who AUTHORED them.

Not to defend Sutter at all, but if he indeed managed to clean up a couple of his own messes, then he would deserve some credit for that. Especially when the alternative is compounding the error with another bad move, which some GMs have been known to do.

If you're looking at Sutter's body of work as a whole, then you are absolutely correct — those contracts were mistakes no matter how creative he was in eventually dumping them.

If you're looking at the Summer of '09 as an isolated example of his GMing, then the jettisoning of those contracts can be called a good move on its own merits. But there will be some fans who will go overboard and venture into "genius" territory when describing what has transpired in regards to Vandermeer and Primeau and I can certainly understand your annoyance as far as that goes.

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#5 Matt
July 27 2009, 10:24PM
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Seems clear enough that the Vandermeer deal was an unofficial addendum to the Jokinen trade... I still hate Jokinen, but I don't hate the trade as much anymore.

Anyway, correcting past mistakes *does* deserve credit (and I'm no blind Sutter fan either). Forget about ego, it's not easy from a logistical perspective. Or if it is, someone should inform Steve Tambellini...

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#6 Wanye Gretz
July 28 2009, 12:31AM
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Matt wrote:

Or if it is, someone should inform Steve Tambellini…

Ugh. Ain't that the truth.

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#7 walkinvisible
July 28 2009, 01:06AM
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i realize that no GM is infallible, and sutter has made (more than ?) his fair share of incredible moves right along his terrible ones. i will also wholeheartedly admit that the transactions in the past month have been almost entirely positive (i will reserve judgement for the time being, until it becomes clear that gio is not on the move).

realistically, even with the occasional sutter headscratcher, there have been many, many, many mornings in the past few years where i awake thanking the hockey gods that i don't live in ottawa...

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#8 b1ackhat
July 28 2009, 11:43AM
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@ walkinvisible:

I agree completely, although I do think that hiring Keenan was a mistake. When you take into account their history though I can see why it was done.

But man, I hated Keenan.

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#9 hummelj
July 28 2009, 12:48PM
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I agree with alot of the critics that harp on some of sutters mistakes (vandermeers contract was by far the worst in my opinion), but lets take an honest look at things over the course of his time in calgary.

- they miss the playoffs for 7 some odd ghastly seasons strait prior to his coming to town - they had only one decent prospect in Dion phaneuf within the system at the time. - he brings them to game 7 of the finals in his first year on the job, in addition to bringing in kipper with minmal assest going out. - they haven't missed the playoffs since. - they are now faced with the problem of possibly having far too much depth on the roster... if you consider that to be a big problem. - they have been relatively competitive for the divisional title every after his first year with the franchise.

I realize the what the playoff record looks like, but in all honestly i can't help but wonder if they would have even made the playoffs at all these past few season had he not been constructing the team so excellently.

good work Daryl!

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#10 walkinvisible
July 28 2009, 04:55PM
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b1ackhat wrote:

@ walkinvisible: I agree completely, although I do think that hiring Keenan was a mistake. When you take into account their history though I can see why it was done. But man, I hated Keenan.

i'm not sure i agree, here.

while i think keenan totally and undenyably lost the team somewhere before the allstar break in february, he was the perfect response to a wishy-washy, soft jim playfair two summers ago....

i was about ready to hand keenan a jack adams after the team turned the season around following november's legendary "bay area blowout," cause the adjustment to the system was both culpable and smart.... too bad complacency got the better of him and his insistance in trying to squeeze the square pegs into the round holes became painful to watch....

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#11 Dustin Timberlake
July 29 2009, 05:47PM
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I always wondered what Lefebvre's avatar was all about. Now, the secret has been revealed.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/0907/nhl.goalie.masks.expansion.era.1967to82/content.10.html

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