SUN Hockey Pool

Banking on Sutter

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:40 AM ET

The first reaction was elation for Brett Sutter.

Unbridled excitement over being drafted by an NHL squad.

It took a few moments before it set in that the club that chose him was the one run by his father, Calgary Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter.

"When I heard the news, it didn't really matter who it was," Brett said. "I didn't really think about that it was my Dad, I was just happy to be drafted. It could have been any team and I would have felt the same way."

Flames scouting director Tod Button knows there's going to be questions regarding who the club selected with their sixth-round pick in yesterday's draft but he certainly won't accept criticism.

"You know what they're gonna say? They're gonna say, 'How could you take that kid at 179?' " Button said. "We'll say Chicago was told the same thing in 1978 when they took somebody at 179, and look how he turned out."

That would have been Darryl Sutter, who had a successful NHL career long before turning to the management ranks.

Then again, maybe there shouldn't be any surprise.

After all, the Flames will continue to build with the Sutter identity, so it makes perfect sense to bring a namesake into the fold.

"We think Brett's a legitimate prospect and he was taken where he was rated," Button said. "The best thing about picking Brett is Darryl said to pick him where he belongs.

"He told us not to pick him unless it was where we wanted to pick him."

Not surprisingly, the elder Sutter played down the father-son connection.

"It's pretty easy to separate," Darryl said. "If he was available in the area we had him, we were gonna take him, it was that simple. The father thing didn't come into it.

"It's a consensus, not anybody's lone decision. We put players where we think we can get them and what we need and go from there."

No different than the other seven players chosen to stock the cupboard, three defencemen -- including Calgary's top two picks -- a pair of goaltenders and three forwards.

Time will tell how many are legitimate NHLers but Button was happy.

"Once we got over the disappointment of not getting to pick number one and came to the realization Sidney Crosby wasn't going to fall to 26th, we got to work," he said.

Instead, the first order of business was blueliners, going for hulking Sarnia Sting prospect Matt Pelech 26th overall and Gord Baldwin of the Medicine Hat Tigers 69th.

On the surface, it may seem strange considering how strong Calgary's defence corps on the NHL roster rates but Sutter said it gets thin quickly.

"Depth-wise, we're quite a bit behind in defencemen in amateur hockey," he explained. "Those are two of three kids we wanted. They're mobile defenceman and have good size."

The attention then turned to a couple of forwards, Dan Ryder -- whose brother Michael is starting to rise among Montreal's ranks -- and local boy J.D. Watt.

"I didn't have the greatest season and wasn't expecting to get drafted, that high anyways, and not really sure it would happen at all," said Watt, who plays for the Vancouver Giants. "But for it to happen in the fourth round and to the Calgary Flames, I'm so pumped right now."

Watt's excitement meter rose again when reminded he, a right wing, might just attend training camp with Jarome Iginla.

"I haven't even looked that far ahead," said the feisty Watt, whose family owns a ranch just outside Cochrane. "Jarome Iginla's my favourite player, so to even be in the same arena with him would be a great honour.

"I'm really looking forward to that."

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SCOUT'S HONOUR

Tod Button, Calgary's scouting director, gives his take on picks

MATT PELECH

1st round, 26th overall; D; 6-ft. 4-in., 220 lb.; Sarnia Sting 31GP-1G-5A-6P-74PIM

Big, physical d-man suffered two broken jaws. He's also a fluid skater with good puck sense.

BUTTON'S TAKE: "I wouldn't say he's an offensive guy who'll be a point producer but he's a really good defender who can skate and play against top defenders. He's big, strong and mobile."

GORD BALDWIN

3rd round, 69th overall; D; 6-ft. 5-in., 195 lb.; Medicine Hat Tigers 66GP 3G-8A-11P-73PIM

Lanky defenceman cracked a solid defence corps in The Hat. He needs to fill out but is also a big body who skates well.

BUTTON'S TAKE: "He fought for ice time to be the fifth/sixth guy. During the World Juniors we spent a lot of time watching him because we knew he would play lots. He's a big kid, really mobile and makes a good first pass."

DANIEL RYDER

3rd round, 74th overall; C; 5-ft. 11-in., 185 lb.; Peterborough Petes 68GP-29G-53A-82P-55PIM

The younger brother of Montreal forward Michael Ryder, the Flames traded up -- giving away two picks to Buffalo -- for him.

BUTTON'S TAKE: "He's a really smart player, a playmaker, a hound around the net, strong and competitive. He really pays the price to score."

J.D. WATT

4th round, 111th overall; RW; 6-ft. 1-in., 195 lb.; Vancouver Giants 66GP-6G-7A-13P-213PIM

His family owns a ranch just outside of Cochrane. Is a tough player, willing to mix it up.

BUTTON'S TAKE: "We had to get an Albertan, you knew that. He's a hard-nosed kid but we think he can play a little higher than that. We think he has a chance to be more productive and take off. He expects to force the coach to play him more."

KEVIN LALANDE

5th round, 128th overall; G; 6-ft. 175 lb.; Belleville Bulls 15-11-3 2.64 .920

A disciple of Flames goalie coach David Marcoux, Lalande had one of the seven wins the entire OHL collected against the powerful London Knights.

BUTTON'S TAKE: "He's athletic and has reflexes. David thinks he has really good ability."

MATT KEETLEY

5th round, 158th overall; G; 6-ft. 2-in., 215 lb.; Medicine Hat Tigers 21-5-3 1.66 .933

Tigers backup is a big body who shone brightly down the stretch when Kevin Nastiuk was injured.

BUTTON'S TAKE: "He came on in a tough situation, played really strong when Nastiuk was hurt and held the job when he came back."

BRETT SUTTER

6th round, 179th overall; C; 6-ft. 180 lb.; Kootenay Ice 70GP-8G-11A-19P-70PIM

He's a Sutter, son of the Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter, and plays just as you'd expect.

BUTTON'S TAKE: "His best assets are he's really smart and competes. He knows he's got work to do to get better."

MYLES RUMSAY

7th round, 221st overall; D; 6-ft. 1-in., 185 lb.; Swift Current; 57GP-2G-4A-6P-102PIM

The second-year WHLer was named the team's top defenceman and received the Coach's Award.

BUTTON'S TAKE: "He's a real gung-ho, energetic kid and a good skater. He played in a tough situation in Swift Current but he never quit..."


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