Several Flames players rescinded trade requests after Darryl Sutter was fired

A number of Flames players have reportedly rescinded their trade requests after head coach Darryl Sutter was fired on Monday. (Getty Pictures)

On Monday, the Calgary Flames announced they had fired head coach Darryl Sutter after a disappointing 2022-23 season, and according to DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli, that may have saved the team from a meltdown.

During a Thursday radio call on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, Seravalli revealed that several Flames players had made trade requests throughout the difficult season. But according to Seravalli, those players withdrew their trade requests after Sutter’s departure.

“Talking to various people in the league who have ties to Calgary, the feeling was that any trade requests that existed, or requests so to speak, have been canceled now that there has been a change of coach,” Seravalli said.

“I believe there were at least a handful of players who had spoken honestly and candidly to (former general manager) Brad Treliving and (president of hockey operations) Don Maloney, who were in the room for the interviews of exit, to say exactly that. Basically, it’s as simple as, ‘If this guy is back, I don’t want to play here.'”

If true, the easy decision to remove a coach to save part of the roster should have been easy.

Last summer, the Flames were already forced to part ways with superstar forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. The loss of these two key players no doubt played a part in some players wanting to leave and management not wanting to undergo another massive roster overhaul.

At least Sutter’s shot wasn’t a surprise.

The Flames were a stellar team last year, posting a 50-21-11 record and finishing atop the Pacific Division. This season, without those superstars and their subpar replacements, they missed the playoffs by just two points with a 38-27-17 record.

If it was any other coach they might have fired him, but Sutter is known to be an abrasive bench boss and handles coaching in quite a confrontational manner. Also, expectations were very high after winning the division and even not making the playoffs is a bad look.

It’s unclear which players wanted to leave Calgary, but two key players in Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund will be free agents next summer and hesitated to answer questions about re-signing with the Flames.

In addition to these two players, top players Tyler Toffoli, Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev are also expected to enter free agency in 2024.

How the 2023-24 regular season unfolds, with a new head coach and a new general manager, will certainly play a role in whether or not these players want to stay. If things don’t go to plan, well, at least the Flames’ new general manager will have a number of players to return by the trade deadline.

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