Last month, Calgary Flames legend Jarome Iginla was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. His induction was extremely well-deserved, as his resume was one of the most sterling in hockey history. But with Iginla now in the Hall, attention can be turned to the next potential Flames inductee.
And it turns out, that person may currently be behind their bench: Darryl Sutter. Let’s discuss how Sutter stacks up among all-time NHL coaches and assess his candidacy.
Games as a head coach
Including Thursday’s game, Sutter has coached 1,338 regular season NHL games. That puts him 14th all-time in games coached.
The 13 coaches ahead of him are Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville, Barry Trotz, Paul Maurice, Al Arbour, Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff, Dick Irvin, Ron Wilson, Pat Quinn, Mike Keenan, John Tortorella and Alain Vignault. Of that 13, Bowman, Arbour, Irvin and Quinn are already in the Hockey Hall of Fame – suggesting that longevity alone isn’t a qualification.
How about coaching success?
Wins as a head coach
Including Thursday’s game, Sutter has won 663 regular season NHL games. That puts him 16th all-time in games won as a coach.
The 15 coaches ahead of him are Bowman, Quenneville, Trotz, Hitchcock, Arbour, Maurice, Ruff, Vignault, Mike Babcock, Irvin, Quinn, Peter Laviolette, Keenan and Claude Julien. Again, of that group, Bowman, Arbour, Irvin and Quinn are in the Hall.
How about playoff success?
Multiple Stanley Cups as a head coach
Only a few coaches have multiple Stanley Cup wins: Toe Blake, Hap Day, Irvin, Punch Imlach, Arbour, Glen Sather, Tommy Ivan, Pete Green, Jack Adams, Quenneville, Fred Shero, Art Ross, Lester Patrick, Cecil Hart, Tommy Gorman, Jon Cooper, Mike Sullivan… and Sutter.
Of coaches who have won multiple Cups, several are in the Hall: Blake, Day, Irvin, Imlach, Arbour, Sather, Ivan, Adams, Shero, Ross, Patrick and Gorman.
If you look at the overlap in these three categories: coaches with longevity, regular season and playoff success, the list gets pretty lean. Six men have won 500 games as a head coach and won multiple Stanley Cups: Quenneville, Arbour, Irvin, Blake, Bowman and Sutter. Four of the six are already in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Based on the company he keeps in these peer groups, Sutter’s candidacy for the Hall stacks up extremely well.
Do you think Sutter should be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame? Sound off in the comments!