Flames announced today that Darryl’s son Brett has been recalled from the Abbotsford Heat. That obviously means a couple of things:
1.) Daymond Langkow is down for the count after his scary neck injury the other day.
2.) Brian McGrattan’s days as a Flame are all but finished.
The first bit of news is bad. Really bad. Langkow’s couting numbers aside, his unit has consistently been on the right side of scoring chance counts ever since the great mid-season rebuild. He was probably the steadiest forward presence up front in terms of "two-way" hockey and the club will desperately miss his contributions down the stretch*.
*(That said, his inability to win a face-off won’t be missed).
The good news is the Flames have decided to forgoe the dancing bear routine by dressing McGrattan. I’ve claimed for awhile now that enforcers are an anachronism in the NHL and their contributions are of little no value. The fact that Calgary has decided to recall a mediocre prospect rather than dress him indicates the Sutters might (finally) agree with me.
And, yes, Brett Sutter isn’t all that exciting recall. In his previous NHL stints, he’s proven to be a hard worker and a tenacious forechecker with decent defensive sensibilities. That said, 22 year olds offensive results at the AHL level are completely underwhelming (19 goals, 39 points in 212 games) and lag behind other fringe NHLers in the Flames system such as David Van Der Gulik and Jason Jaffray (currently 1-2 on the Heat in scoring). While it’s somewhat surprising that Sutter got the call ahead of those two guys, it may just be an issue of needing a natural center to fill the void down the middle.
Via Inside the Flames, Sutter explains that Sutter’s prowess on the PK is the reason he was recalled:
"He’s been one of their top players down there," said Flames coach Brent Sutter. "And we need someone who can kill some penalties, too. We’ve lost three penalty killers here . . . and we need someone who can cover some minutes on that side of it. He’s one of their best down there."
To which I say "fair enough".