The Calgary Flames announced Monday they have fired coach Darryl Sutter after three seasons.
It's the second time the Flames have parted ways with Sutter, who previously coached the team for three seasons from 2002-03 through 2005-06. He led the Flames to the playoffs twice the first time, including to the Stanley Cup Final where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2003-04 season.
His most recent stint with the Flames was not as successful as his first with the Flames missing the playoffs in his first and final seasons.
Sutter's second time with the Flames came after the team hired him to take over the remaining 32 games for Geoff Ward after he went 11-11-2 in the 2020-21 truncated 56-game season.
Sutter guided the Flames to the Stanley Cup playoffs in his second season where they lost to their provincial rivals, the Edmonton Oilers, in the second round.
The Flames had a bit of a different look in what ultimately became Sutter's final campaign. They lost two 100-point forwards in Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. Gaudreau left in free agency and signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets while Tkachuk was traded to the Florida Panthers in a deal that saw another 100-point forward in Jonathan Huberdeau along with defenseman MacKenzie Weegar come the other way.
After trading for Huberdeau and Weegar, the Flames also signed Nazem Kadri in free agency after he finished with a career-high 87 points en route to helping the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup.
Even with Huberdeau, Kadri and Weegar, the Flames still faced questions about if they could consistently score. The Flames were 19th in goals per game but also encountered other struggles such has having the second poorest save percentage in the NHL in 5-on-5 play, according to Natural Stat Trick.
It led to the Flames being a team that struggled to find consistency yet entered the final weeks of the regular season vying for a playoff spot. Even though they finished 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, they fell short of the postseason by two points.
The decision to fire Sutter comes less than a month after the club announced that general manager Brad Treliving, who was in the final year of his contract, agreed to mutually part ways with the organization.
Flames senior vice president of hockey operations Don Maloney, who was promoted to president of hockey operations, is currently serving as the team's interim GM.
"It became clear to me we needed a new voice," Maloney said Monday during an afternoon news conference. "Unless you have winning ... changes are made."
Maloney said he interviewed 25 players, assistant coaches and agents of prominent pending free agents to arrive at the decision.
"I do feel like this is the best way for us to proceed as a club," Maloney said. "It's an exciting time. We have a good team, we have good players. What we've seen the last two weeks watching playoff hockey, anybody can beat anybody at any time. Excited about getting back on the ice next year with a new coach, new general manager and getting back to the playoffs."
Reuters contributed to this report.