Sutter seeks more depth

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

The on-ice success has been exciting.

That trip to the Stanley Cup final was exhilarating.

Ask Darryl Sutter what development with the Calgary Flames organization he's proudest of having now been part of it for three full years, and he turns a completely different direction.

"No question, depth," he said. "That's the biggest area of the organization that we still have to work on. You have to address it position by position and it takes a long time.

"The best organizations are teams that draft and develop. Look at the team we played (Tuesday) night (Nashville). They're an expansion team and had top drafts for a number of years and had the expansion draft itself. If you look at that team, there's 11 or 12 guys that came through those two routes. That's why they're a top team in the conference now."

Just like the Flames, which wasn't the case when Sutter took over as head coach Dec. 28, 2002.

Mired in the middle of yet another losing season -- which became their seventh straight without the playoffs -- the Flames turned their fortunes to the Viking product a month after he'd been fired by the San Jose Sharks.

Under his guidance, the club is 22 games above .500.

But that's not the direction he looks.

As GM, he's always looking at the future.

"It can't be a for-today kind of deal," he insisted. "It has to be for the long term.

"There's a process. You have to have a game plan you stick to. You have to have a long-range game plan, it can't be a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month plan, and obviously that was a real issue here before.

"It's about the stability of the whole organization."

It's a mantra he freely admits taking from long-time New Jersey head honcho Lou Lamoriello.

"Lou Lamoriello has sustained (success) over a long period of time and has the respect of everybody in the league," Sutter explained. "When you look at how you build teams, it's how you do it, goalie, defence out, not any other way."


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