Sutter gets two-year contract as Flames coach

Darryl Sutter agreed to a two-year contract as coach of the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

The contract will start in the 2023-24 season and runs through 2024-25.

Sutter, 64, won the Jack Adams Award as the top NHL coach last season when he led Calgary to a first-place finish in the Pacific Division (50-21-11). The Flames lost to the Edmonton Oilers in five games in the Western Conference Second Round.

“When I came here, I promised we would get this straightened back out again,” Sutter said. “It’s not just a straighten-out, one-year thing. It’s the long haul. … In order to become a legitimate contender, you have to do it over and over and over to get there. The way you do that is you have to build that and you have to establish an identity or a style of play or a core group of players that are committed to the long term. All those things are involved in that, and I think in some ways I feel like I have a responsibility to be a steward in that.”

Calgary is 65-36-11 in the regular season since Sutter was hired March 5, 2021.

“I think we’re fortunate to have him,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. “I think he’s one of the best coaches in the game here today. I think he has and continues to have a Hall of Fame career. The structure he puts in place, his ability to drive teams … it was a natural. Darryl and I talked about it this summer, and worked on it, good to get it concluded. Very deserving. … To me, it was a no-brainer.”

Prior to being hired by the Flames in 2021, Sutter had not coached in the NHL since 2016-17 with the Los Angeles Kings, who he led to two Stanley Cup championships (2012, 2014).

Sutter is in his second stint with the Flames, serving as coach from 2002-06. He was a finalist for the Jack Adams in 2003-04, when he led Calgary to a third-place finish in the Northwest Division and its first playoff appearance in eight seasons. He guided the Flames to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final that season, when it lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I said the day we brought him in, is structure and accountability are the two things that, to me, are calling cards of Darryl,” Treliving said. “… He has the ability to maximize players’ abilities. He’s done it in every place he’s been. He’s done it throughout his career. To me, your team takes on the personality of your coach and I think our team has done that.”

Sutter is 699-503-94 with 101 ties in 19 seasons with the Flames, Kings, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks and ranks 11th in wins. He is 94-88 in the postseason, tied for the sixth-most wins.

“I think first off Brad and I talked about it all summer,” Sutter said. “The plan was to get our players taken care of. Talk to him and [Flames owner N. Murray Edwards] and it’s not that hard to figure out. It’s still the basis of what I said when I came here. Good team. Good city. Good owners. It wasn’t that hard.”

The Flames signed defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on Friday to an eight-year, $50 million contract; he was acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers on July 22 along with forward Jonathan Huberdeau for forward Matthew Tkachuk. Huberdeau signed an eight-year, $84 million contract with Calgary ($10.5 million average annual value) on Aug. 4.

Calgary also lost forward Johnny Gaudreau, who signed a seven-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets in free agency.

“I really like our team,” Sutter said. “Quite honestly, it’s a mature group that understands the whole process a lot better for sure than they did two years ago. And that means there’s been a big turnover in that group, which we obviously didn’t expect that necessarily to happen this quickly, right? I still really feel the foundation is there, and it takes time because of the foundation, types of player change.” independent correspondent Aaron Vickers contributed to this report

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