Flames News & Rumors: Sutter, Ciona, Huberdeau & More

In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, coach Darryl Sutter had perhaps the funniest line of his coaching career when speaking with media after Saturday night’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers. In other news, the Flames announced that they have signed Lucas Ciona to an entry-level contract. Last but not least, Sutter has made it clear that he isn’t at all worried in regard to the rather slow start of both Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar.

Sutter Gives Hilarious Response for Huberdeau Absence

During Saturday night’s game versus the Oilers, some Flames fans were quick to notice that Huberdeau had left the bench during the first period. Any concern of a serious injury was quickly forgotten when he was back out for the second, though the consensus was that he was either banged up or had an equipment issue. After the game, however, Sutter was not at all shy to give the real reason.

As you can imagine, this made its way around the internet in a very short time. Of course, this is nothing unusual for Sutter, who is known for his rather blunt but hilarious exchanges with the media. We can expect plenty more lines from the Flames bench boss throughout the course of the 2022-23 season.

Flames Sign Ciona

On Sunday afternoon, the Flames announced that they signed Ciona to a three-year, entry-level deal. The 19-year-old Edmonton native was selected in the sixth round (173rd overall) in the 2021 Draft by the Flames, and has gotten off to a fantastic start this season with the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western Hockey League.

Related: Flames & Oilers Trade History Revisited

Latest News & Highlights

After a rather modest 35 points in 53 games last season, Ciona looks like he has something to prove in 2022-23, as he has put up seven goals and 17 points in just nine games. The 6-foot-2, 206-pound winger should continue to put up big numbers in what will be his final season of junior hockey. Expect him to begin the 2023-24 campaign in the American Hockey League.

Sutter Not Concerned About Huberdeau & Weegar

Through seven games thus far, the Flames own a solid 5-2-0 record. With that start, most would assume that both Huberdeau and Weegar have been major reasons as to why, though that isn’t exactly the case. Both have struggled to their standards to this point, as Huberdeau has just one even-strength point on the season while each of Weegar’s three assists have come on the man advantage. Regardless of that slow start, however, Sutter isn’t worried about either. (from ‘Todd Saelhof: Sutter backs up Huberdeau and Weegar despite slow start’, Calgary Sun 10/31/22).

Jonathan Huberdeau Calgary Flames
Jonathan Huberdeau, Calgary Flames (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“There is no problem there,” Sutter said when asked about Huberdeau’s slow start. “Jonathan’s a really good 200-foot player. I think there’s been way too much talk about goals and assists and points and last year and all that.”

The reigning Jack Adams winner had a similar sentiment when asked about Weegar’s somewhat lackluster play thus far, and seemingly called out the Florida Panthers’ style of game in the same breath.

“What have I seen in Weegs? I’ve seen a guy adjusting to play on a team that’s not a run-and-gun (Panthers) team that couldn’t hold up in the playoffs. He’s learning to adjust. He’s a kid that gets by on being a great competitor. That’s what he is – he’s a great competitor.”

There is certainly some truth to Sutter’s reference to a differently styled team. Though the Flames are very capable of putting up big numbers, they play a much more defensively sound game than the Panthers, which could result in both Huberdeau and Weegar’s numbers taking a slight hit from last season. That said, both Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk were able to top 100 points in the same system just a season prior, meaning that this is more than likely just an adjustment period rather than anything to start worrying about.

Looking Ahead for the Flames

The Flames will be looking to get back into the win column tonight as they prepare to take on the Seattle Kraken. They will then have two more games remaining in the week, with the first coming against the Nashville Predators on Thursday and the following on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.

Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.

The Hockey Writers HockeyPedia 800x120