SUN Hockey Pool

Sutter says team sitting too pretty to make big deals

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

Last year's trade deadline day was nothing doing for the Calgary Flames.

Brace yourself for a repeat performance.

Flames GM Darryl Sutter said yesterday he doesn't foresee making a bunch of deals, if any at all, before the NHL trade deadline comes Wednesday.

"I don't see any reason to disrupt the chemistry of the dressing room unless we're in a position to make a significant upgrade," Sutter said.

"You try and do good work in the summer, and then, you test your team and see if they're passing. We have a really good hockey club, so the only thing that affects us is evaluating young players if they're ready for the stretch, injuries -- which are obviously a major concern to us -- and that's it."

Sutter said a month ago he didn't expect to be very active come deadline, and it's possible his tune will change, but he believes fans will see "a lot of bad deals" in the next few days. He said the rash of injuries lately -- centre Daymond Langkow, left wingers Rene Bourque and Andre Roy and defenceman Mark Giordano -- isn't forcing his hand.

"We didn't put them in a box," Sutter said, meaning he expects Langkow to be healthy soon and Bourque ready by playoffs.

"You're not going to go out and replace Rene Bourque. You're not going to go out and replace Daymond Langkow.

"Gio is a depth player for us. We hate to lose Gio for a long period of time, but the last month, he was a 10-minute player, so you put (Jim) Vandermeer back in."

When it was pointed out veteran depth on the bluline has been diminished, Sutter reminded the club has the possibility of Rhett Warrrener returning from surgery and Anders Eriksson in the minors.

"It's so easy to say, 'Take care of the short term and not take care of the long term,' but the best teams, well-managed teams take care of it for a long time," he said.

There will be big-name players moving by the deadline, names like Jay Bouwmeester, Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer and Olli Jokinen are being thrown around, but the slumping economy may put a big wrench into the mix.

With so much uncertainty about the salary cap in the coming seasons, and even more importantly, budgets teams will have next year, teams aren't willing to take on many big salaries. Plus, at this point, there are very few sellers, and Sutter said he doesn't want to give away prospects.

"I couldn't say this three years ago, even two years ago, we have a lot of really good prospects now and you can see where they're going to play going forward," he said.

"Hey, the sports page is the least important part of what's going on in the world. If you look at everything else, that's what's going on in our league.

"You have to be very cognisant of what you're tying up after next year."


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