Free. . .If Clear
There are going to be all kinds of conspiracy rumours floating around over the next little while concerning Mike Keenan's successor as head coach of the Calgary Flames.
The most titillating, and interesting, will be that Brent Sutter, who just happens to be employed as head coach of the New Jersey Devils right now, will be taking over. Sutter possibly wants to go back west to Alberta, just like Ian Tyson says, and would be a natural hire for his bro, Darryl, who happens to run the Flames.
Brent Sutter has a year left on his contract, so it would be interesting to see if he can extricate himself from a deal that makes him one of the NHL's highest paid coaches despite no playoff success in Jersey yet.
But understand this. Despite rumours floating around already about the compensation Calgary would have to pay to land Sutter from the Devils, don't pay any attention to such speculation.
There is no such thing as compensation for coaches and executives in the NHL any more. No Michel Bergeron situations. Gary Bettman outlawed this kind of ransom fee a while ago.
You don't have to pay up with players and draft picks if you get the go-ahead to hire some other team's employee. They just don't have to let you do so. For example, the Maple Leafs wouldn't give the Wild permission to talk to Dave Nonis, but if they had, there would have been no compensation paid if Minny decided to hire him.
'Course, if Pat Quinn was in Brent Sutter's shoes, he'd solve it by just going to work for both clubs and taking a little cash from each. Funny how that story just disappeared from the honorable gentleman's resume.