Sutter rips Flames’ lack of depth on defence, calls for consistency from Huberdeau

Flames head coach Darryl Sutter questions the club's depth on defence, says the top four are playing too much, and there's not one guy behind them that has taken a step to being a sixth, seventh or even eighth defenceman, and we're playing them now.

Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter was highly critical of his team’s depth (or lack thereof) on defence.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Tuesday night’s tilt on the road against the red-hot New Jersey Devils, Sutter was asked about the amount of ice time his top-four defencemen have played lately and quickly fired back, “it’s too much.”

“We’ve got guys, what did we play them last night, 23 to 27 [minutes]? That means those guys are doing everything they can and this depth stuff we talked about in the summer, it’s a bunch of bulls–t,” Sutter said.

“There isn’t one guy in training camp that even took a step towards being a sixth or seventh or eighth defenceman and we’re playing them now, so it’s time to ripen the apple a bit for them.”

The reigning Jack Adams Award winner was also asked about forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who has one goal and six points in 11 games so far this season after arriving from the Florida Panthers in a blockbuster trade over the summer for star forward Matthew Tkachuk.

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Sutter referred to Huberdeau, who recorded a career-high 115 points last season, as a “work in progress” who needs to improve on “being a good player consistently” but didn’t want to single him out specifically as the Flames are mired in a five-game losing streak.

“There are lots of players on our team that haven’t played to their potential yet if that is the prophecy or fulfillment of their skill set,” Sutter said.

After a hot start out of the gate, the Flames are now fifth in the Pacific Division with a 5-4-2 record following their recent woes.

Watch the Flames face off against the Devils (9-3-0) starting at 7 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West or SN NOW (regional restrictions apply).

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