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Will Sutter be making noise?

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames
LOS ANGELES — Darryl Sutter has been making splashes at the NHL Entry Draft since 2004.

But, come Friday, here in Los Angeles, he may not be making a splash. In an interview at the hotel where the Flames scouting staff are holding meetings, Sutter said he is working on signing players within the Flames system -- free agents like Eric Nystrom, Christopher Higgins, Craig Conroy, Jamal Mayers and Brian McGrattan.

There is also defenceman Ian White, a restricted free agent.

“To be quite honest, I don’t see us being very active here at all,” Sutter said Thursday in a break from meeting with his scouts. “We have one or two guys who we’re really going to try and work with and get something done on our own team."

However, Sutter opened the door ever so slightly suggesting the Flames are close to being a top team once again -- very close.

“Even though we weren’t a playoff team, it’s really a good team, and we’re one player away from being a top team again,” Sutter said.

Just what does that mean? Well, if Sutter's track record at the draft is any indication and the right deal comes along, he will be making noise once again.

"You are making sure that you are staying in on everything and you know what is going on. That's important because a player might pop up that nobody thought was available," said Sutter.

In 2004 Sutter traded his shuffled his first and second round picks to acquire Kris Chucko. The same year he then dealt his second round pick to acquire two third round picks (Dustin Boyd and Brandon Prust). In 2006 he traded Jordan Leopold and and a second round pick to Colorado to get Alex Tanguay. In 2007 he was extremely busy, acquiring Adrian Aucoin, dropping down in the first round and picking up a second round pick to acquire Mikael Backlund and John Negrin. He also moved two sixth round picks to get a fifth round pick and chose Mickey Renaud, who passed away before he could realize his full potential and then traded two fifth rounders for a fourth round pick, which turned into Keith Aulie. In 2008 he dealt a first and second round pick to Los Angeles for Mike Cammalleri and second round pick, which turned into the promising Mitch Wahl. That same draft he also traded Alex Tanguay and a fifth round pick to Montreal for a first round pick, which turned into center Greg Nemisz, another promising prospect, and a second round pick.

In 2009 he set the draft floor abuzz with a trade with Florida to acquire the rights to defenceman Jay Bouwmeester. He also bumped down three spots in the first round (the Flames took Tim Erixon 23rd) while acquiring a third round pick. He then moved that pick and fourth round pick to acquire Ryan Howse in the third round. Howse produced 47 goals last season for Chilliwack of the WHL. He also re-acquired Brandon Prust from Phoenix in a straight up deal for Jim Vandermeer.

"Prior to the draft you don't see a lot of picks being traded for picks," said Sutter. "You see trades being made on the draft floor. But I don't see us getting into the first round because that is going to cost you a star player."

"It's a very deep draft," said Sutter."It's not a star-heavy draft. There are three or four boys who will play in the NHL next year and then 75 others that will have a chance. The other thing that jumps out at me is that it is not a European strong draft. It's more North American."

"You are making sure that you are staying in on everything and you know what is going on. That's important because a player might pop up that nobody thought was available," said Sutter.

The Flames have seven picks in the draft, beginning with the 64th overall.

The first round of the draft begins at 5 pm MT on Friday. The second through seventh rounds will be held on Saturday.





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