After squandering the best years of Kiprusoff and Iginla, getting a random assortment of Maple Leafs' castoffs for former wunderkind Dion Phaneuf, and bringing back Olli Jokinen in free agency, it's a wonder Sutter lasted as long as he did. His main issue, it seems, is that he never quite figured out that the Flames needed to rebuild. Instead of picking up prospects and draft picks for Phaneuf, he got a couple impending free agents. Instead of moving salary in trades to create flexibility under the cap, he bafflingly traded for Ales Kotalik and his terrible contract and handed out No Movement Clauses like they were Chick tracts. Combine that with a terrible prospect pool and the future is bleak for the Flames organization.
Jay Feaster will move offices as he drops the "Assistant" from his title and takes over for Darryl Sutter. Feaster has a Stanley Cup on his resumé after his Tampa Bay Lightning won in 2004, but he's stepping into a brutal situation. The Flames have most of the salary cap already tied up for next season and Feaster will have to be clever with trades in order to free up the capspace and prepare the team for rebuilding. The Iginla trade rumours have already been flying and this won't quiet them down any time soon.
Quite frankly, I welcome a return to respectability from the Flames. They have been the Canucks' primary antagonist over the years with many epic playoff battles and bad blood. As much as the Blackhawks have been labeled the Canucks' main rival, it's not a true rivalry until victories have gone both ways and, thus far, the Blackhawks don't have any reason to see the Canucks as a rival. For me, the Flames will always be that team, that hated team that I want the Canucks to beat. If the Flames aren't a legitimate threat, there's no drama in their match-ups. If the Flames sit at the bottom of the Northwest Division, then who cares if the Canucks beat them?