Calgary Flames News & Rumors: Sutter, Lindholm, Francis

In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, Darryl Sutter was able to pick up the first Jack Adams Award of his coaching career this past week. Meanwhile, one of his top forwards, Elias Lindholm, fell short in his quest for a Selke Trophy, though not by much. Last but certainly not least, many were rather puzzled at the organization’s decision not to sign draft pick Ryan Francis to an entry-level contract.

Sutter Wins First Jack Adams

On Thursday, the NHL announced that Sutter was this season’s winner of the Jack Adams Award. Despite going up against two other coaches who had great years in Gerard Gallant of the New York Rangers and Andrew Brunette of the Florida Panthers, this was the expected outcome. The voting reflected that, as the Flames’ bench boss won by a landslide, receiving 54 first-place votes.

Darryl Sutter
Head coach Darryl Sutter (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Given Sutter’s very humble and team-first approach, he likely isn’t giving this award much thought at all. Instead, what will likely be on his mind for some time is his team falling short in the playoffs in a year that many believed they had what it took to go the distance. Nonetheless, this is a well-deserved honour for the 63-year-old, who led the club to one of their best regular seasons in franchise history with a record of 50-21-11.

Lindholm Finishes Second in Selke Voting

Flames fans were delighted when it was recently announced that Lindholm was one of three finalists for the Selke Trophy, with the other two being Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Aleksander Barkov of the Panthers. Unfortunately, the Flames’ star centerman fell short, though he did come close.

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The 27-year-old received 21 first placed votes, which finished well behind Bergeron’s 160 but was still enough to have him finish second in the race. It is well deserved, as he had without a doubt the best season of his career, playing fantastic defensively while also notching 42 goals and 82 points on the season. Perhaps this Selke nomination will finally be enough for Lindholm to get the respect he deserves around the league.

Flames Choose to Let Francis Walk

After being selected in the fifth round (143 overall) of the 2020 draft by the Flames, Francis seemed to be coming along just fine in his development. The now 20-year-old recorded 16 goals and 50 points in 32 games during the 2020-21 season split between the Cape Breton Eagles and the Saint John Sea Dogs and followed that up with 25 goals and 65 points in 54 points in 2021-22.

Cape Breton Eagles Ryan Francis
Ryan Francis during his time with the Cape Breton Eagles (Cape Breton Eagles)

By all accounts, his offensive numbers seemed to warrant an entry-level deal, and the fact he was able to get in four games with the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League recently seemed to suggest that was the case. However, the deadline to sign Francis has since passed, meaning he can re-enter the 2022 draft or be signed as a free agent by any other team.

Perhaps there is more to this behind the scene, as his stats alone seem worthy of a deal. Nevertheless, general manager Brad Treliving and his staff have chosen to move on. Whether or not they come to regret that decision remains to be seen.

Looking Ahead for the Flames

Due to the fact the Stanley Cup Playoffs are still ongoing, it may be a while before any major changes occur for the Flames. With that said, there is still plenty going on behind the scenes, as management will be trying to put together a plan to work out deals for some of their big free agents in players like Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington. Whether or not they are able to bring them all back remains to be seen, but by the sounds of things, Treliving is going to do everything in his power to ensure that happens.

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