FN’s All-Time Greatest Flames Team: Gary Suter

The next member of FlamesNation’s All-Time Flames Team is the best ninth round pick in Calgary Flames history: Gary Suter.

Chosen in the late rounds of the 1984 Draft from the University of Wisconsin, Suter roared into camp a year later and ended up being a big part of the Flames successes during his nine years on the blueline.


In the midst of his rookie season, Flames head coach referred to Gary Suter as the best defenseman on the team. That was the 1985-86 Flames team that went to the Stanley Cup Final; that featured Al MacInnis, Jamie Macoun, Paul Reinhart, Paul Baxter, Steve Konroyd and Neil Sheehy on the blueline. (Outside of Sheehy, they were all pretty damn good.) Safe to say, he got off to a really good start to his NHL career.

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Suter ended up winning the Calder Trophy in ’86 but missed making a Stanley Cup Final appearance due to injury. He also ended up missing the 1989 Final with injuries, but got a ring anyway when the team won the Cup. During his tenure in Calgary, he was named to the All-Star Game four times – including during his rookie season.

Suter left the Flames during the mid-1990s teardown of the old core; he was traded with Ted Drury and Paul Ranheim to Hartford in exchange for Michael Nylander, Zarley Zalapski and James Patrick. He played another eight seasons between Chicago and San Jose before hanging it up in 2002.


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  • 7th in All-Time Flames Games Played (617)
  • 5th in All-Time Flames Points (565)
  • 4th in All-Time Flames Assists (437)
  • 9th in All-Time Flames Penalty Minutes (872)


Growing up, Gary Suter was the answer to a very specific question from my
friends growing up; “Who’s that awesome defenseman for the Flames? You
know, the one that’s not MacInnis?” He was never as flashy and full of
finesse as MacInnis and his shot wasn’t quite as terrifying, but Suter
was a very good defensive defender with a strong shot and a great eye
for the ice. He wasn’t quite as good as Al MacInnis, but he was still pretty damn

  • Train#97

    Poor Suter to be posted on the day Gio was signed; the guy gets no respect.

    Suter and McInnis where such a tremendous tandem, 5 on 5, PP, PK they could do it all. This is probably the best tandem in flames history.

  • Train#97

    Loved Suter as a Flames, and as you say, he was definitely underappreciated. Though internationally, he was vilified in Canada for his serious hits on Gretzky (before the ’91 Canada Cup), and Kariya (’98 Olympics I believe?).

  • KACaribou

    Gary Suter posted the same day as Gio, takes the shine away from a better D-man than Gio, with all due respect. In my opinion the second best D-man we have ever had, again with all due respect but to Paul Reinhart.

  • Ramskull

    I remember Gary as one of the greatest skaters I’ve ever seen live. Then he went and smashed in Kariya’s face. Both Paul and Gary were never the same after that.

  • Purple Hazze

    How does a 9th round pick go on to win the Calder?! Talk about hitting the jackpot with your lottery ticket. Was scouting just that bad back then or did no one see this guy coming? I wonder what his scouting report said? What was his NHLE?

    • KACaribou

      You know, I don’t really remember him being a dirty player with the Flames. He did make a few dirty hits that people remember, but he took more than he ever gave out.

      I got this from Joe Pellitier’s web site: greatesthockeylegends.com and I think it is a fair representation of Gary Suter.

      “Sadly, his play on the international stage was overshadowed by on-ice injuries he inflicted on Andrei Lomakin during the ’87 Canada Cup, Wayne Gretzky during the ’91 Canada Cup, and Paul Kariya right before the ’98 Olympics. In spite of these incidents, Suter remained in high regard by his teammates and opponents, never looked at as a mean or dirty player. However folks in Canada will remember him for his vicious stick play.”

      To me, he was a great D-man, tremendous skater, and a multi-time All-Star.

      Suter was a player who never looked at his stick when he had the puck. It was amazing to see. And he and McInnis were arguably the best D tandem in the NHL over a long period of time with the Flames.

      • Train#97

        Hell of a defenseman but don’t fool yourself, like a lot of other players in the Battle of Alberta he was as dirty as there was. Second best behind Big “shot” Al.