Jonathan Huberdeau may have only played under former Flames head coach Darryl Sutter for one season, but he had plenty to say about how he runs a team.
In a French interview with Montreal radio station BPM Sports, the Flames forward, who was acquired by Calgary from the Florida Panthers last summer, gave his take on what went wrong in the dressing room.
Bob Harltey a demandé à Jonathan Huberdeau ce que lui et les autres vétérans des Flames avaient pensé des critiques de Darryl Sutter envers Jakob Pelletier. Voici sa réponse…
Pour entendre le segment complet avec @MartinLemay: https://t.co/XTIwbsts9l pic.twitter.com/N73Huiie5Z
— BPM Sports (@BPMSportsRadio) May 1, 2023
“You’re supposed to put your players in a position to succeed and I think this season he [Sutter] didn’t do that,” Huberdeau explained to Martin Lemay and Bob Hartley, adding that despite getting a big contract, he was “disappointed” that he was not put in situations where he could have “as much success as possible.”
Last year, the Flames traded Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers for Huberdeau and defenceman MacKenzie Weegar in a blockbuster deal. The reason for the move was Tkachuk telling Calgary’s management he did not plan to re-sign long-term with them.
In his first season with Calgary, which ended in the team missing the playoffs by a razor-thin margin, Huberdeau put up 15 goals and 55 points over 79 games — a far cry from a 115-point campaign in 2021-2022. The player says Sutter, who was relieved of his duties on Monday, may have played a role in his decreased production.
“It really didn’t click between me and Darryl last year,” the 29-year-old explains. “There were a lot of factors. There was a big difference in points between my last two years. And the style of play he wanted to play, it didn’t fit my style of game.”
Back in January, Sutter made headlines when he was asked about rookie forward Jakob Pelletier‘s NHL debut. Rather than congratulating or encouraging the 21-year-old, Sutter asked, “What number is he?” before reading his game stats out loud. Huberdeau told BPM Sports he and his teammates were not pleased with their coach after that.
“We were disappointed. Especially a young kid that comes in, you don’t need that… In the moment we were pretty surprised, but that’s Darryl,” Huberdeau explained. “After, he went to see Jakob and told him he played well and that he was happy for him. But then why are you saying this stuff to the media and then you go see the kid to tell him he played well?”
The Flames have not yet found a replacement for Sutter or former general manager Brad Treliving, who “mutually agreed to part ways” with the organization last month. Nonetheless, Hubeardeau is confident he’ll get his game back when a new bench boss arrives.
“Having a new coach is going to help my game and my confidence, too.”