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Flames' Huberdeau says he, ex-coach Sutter 'really didn't click'

Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

Calgary Flames forward Jonathan Huberdeau gave a glaringly honest assessment of his relationship with ex-head coach Darryl Sutter, who was fired earlier Monday.

"It really didn't click between me and Darryl last year," Huberdeau told French-language radio station BPM Sports, as translated by The Athletic's Julian McKenzie. "There were a lot of factors. There was a big difference in points between my last two years. And the style of play he wanted to play, it didn't fit my style."

He added, "Having a new coach is going to help my game and my confidence, too."

When the Flames acquired Huberdeau last summer in the blockbuster trade that sent Matthew Tkachuk to Florida, he was coming off a career-best 115-point campaign.

His first year in Calgary was underwhelming. Huberdeau put up 55 points (15 goals, 40 assists) in 79 games for his lowest output since 2016-17 when he missed significant time due to injury. He also saw his ice time under Sutter decrease by two-and-a-half minutes.

The Flames failed to make the playoffs just one year after Sutter piloted them to a first-place finish in the Pacific Division and earned a Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top head coach.

Shortly after announcing Sutter's firing, Flames president of hockey operations and interim general manager Don Maloney said that, after speaking with players and staff, it was clear the team needed a new voice. Maloney added that there's a "shelf life" for Sutter's hard-nosed style.

Sutter drew criticism after he shrugged off a question about rookie Jakob Pelletier's NHL debut on Jan. 21 in a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Huberdeau wasn't a fan of Sutter's behavior.

"Why say that to the media and then go see the kid to tell him he played well?" he said.

He continued, "We were all disappointed. Especially for a young kid who comes in and doesn't need that as a young player. He just wants to play well for himself and the team. ... We were saying, 'That's Darryl.'"

Huberdeau will enter the first season of an eight-year, $84-million extension in 2023-24. General manager Brad Treliving - who signed Huberdeau to that pact in August - parted ways with Calgary in April.

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Flames' Huberdeau says he, ex-coach Sutter 'really didn't click'
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