This coming May is the 40th anniversary of the Atlanta Flames moving to Calgary. To commemorate this occasion, we’re counting down the Top 40 Calgary Flames in history.
#7 on the countdown is Gary Suter.
Taken late in the 1984 draft out of college, Suter returned to school for an impressive sophomore year and then was lured to go pro by the Flames. His first year was superb, as he put up 68 points and was second among all NHL freshmen in points. (He had nearly triple the points of the next-best rookie defender, primarily on the basis of 39 power play points.)
From there, Suter was a clockwork reliable offensive defender. He was a strong distributor of the puck, and his overall offensive output tended to vary only with his five on five shooting percentage. His worst offensive season was 55 points. His best offensive season was 91 points, bolstered by a career high of 14 even strength goals and 31 even strength points.
Suter was in the shadow of Al MacInnis for much of his Flames run, but he got a lot of attention from awards voters. He received votes for the Norris on three different occasions and even finished eighth in Hart voting in 1987-88. He hoisted a Stanley Cup in 1989.
Much like the rest of the ’89 Cup team, Suter was shipped away during the early ’90s as the crashing Canadian dollar and his relatively advancing age made it difficult to keep him. The swap to Hartford was good for the Flames, but Suter spent less than a day as a Whaler before he was flipped to Chicago.
Suter wasn’t a complete defender, but he was a damn good offensive presence. If you had a power play and he was on the ice, you knew you were going to get a few strong scoring chances. He’s #7 on our list.
Arrival: Selected in the ninth round, 180th overall, in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft (June 9, 1984)
Departure: Traded with Paul Ranheim and Ted Drury to Hartford for James Patrick, Zarley Zalapski and Michael Nylander (March 10, 1994)
Awards: 1989 Stanley Cup winner; 1985-86 Calder Trophy winner; 1987-88 Second Team All-Star
Top 40 Calgary Flames: HM Martin Gelinas | HM Al Coates | HM Bob Johnson | HM Darryl Sutter | HM Cliff Fletcher | #40 Brad Marsh | #39 Matt Stajan | #38 Jiri Hudler | #37 Dion Phaneuf | #36 Guy Chouinard | #35 Phil Housley | #34 Matthew Tkachuk | #33 Cory Stillman | #32 Curtis Glencross | #31 Jamie Macoun | #30 Carey Wilson | #29 Reggie Lemelin | #28 TJ Brodie | #27 Alex Tanguay | #26 Daymond Langkow | #25 Sergei Makarov | #24 Craig Conroy | #23 Robert Reichel | #22 Paul Reinhart | #21 Doug Gilmour | #20 Mikael Backlund | #19 Jim Peplinski | #18 Joel Otto | #17 Tim Hunter | #16 Joe Mullen | #15 Sean Monahan | #14 Robyn Regehr | #13 Mike Vernon | #12 Kent Nilsson | #11 Hakan Loob | #10 Lanny McDonald | #9 Johnny Gaudreau | #8 Gary Roberts