Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving Cautious At NHL Scouting Combine


The Calgary Flames enter the NHL Draft on June 26th in Sunrise, Florida with a wealth of selections at their disposal. Calgary will make its first selection 15th overall in the first round of the draft but also hold the 45th, 52nd and 53rd selections which will be in the second round, as well as the 76th and 83rd overall picks which are third rounders.

Each NHL franchise employs a whole list of scouts who meticulously watch the next crop of available prospects and rank and sort them throughout the year. Finally they put together a final list of their rankings of the 18 year olds who could change the fortunes of their franchise dramatically.

Though teams spend all year watching live games, meeting to discuss players progression and watching hours of game tapes of hundreds, if not thousands of teenaged prospects, the final piece of the scouting puzzle is the NHL Scouting Combine.

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The combine is a gathering of 120 of the top prospects for the upcoming draft. The young players are put through physical and mental testing as they complete events such as the bench press, standing long jump, pull-ups and the dreaded bike sprints that test their endurance.

Not only does the event give each NHL team an up close look at the physical make-up of most of the top prospects, but they also have a chance to meet with the players one on one. This gives the NHL’s management teams a chance to get to know each player a little bit, before using a highly valuable top draft pick to bring them into their organization.

Though it is an interesting snapshot of a player’s physical fitness level and their personality, I believe the NHL Scouting Combine is an extremely overblown event and luckily Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving seems to agree with me.

Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving announces Samuel Bennett (not pictured) as the number four overall pick to the Calgary Flames in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview from the combine posted on, Treliving spoke about the importance of meeting with the players and putting a face to a scouting report, but also mentioned it is a very small piece to a huge puzzle.

“You have to keep it in context. In some cases, this is the last dealing, the last interaction. It sticks with you. You have to put it in context. You can’t forget all the other times you watched this player play over the years.” Treliving said when asked about the importance of the event.

Sure, meeting with the prospects one on one and getting to know them a little bit and seeing how well they are conditioned right now doesn’t hurt. However, it is also not nearly as important as what the player has done on the ice over the past few years, and thankfully Treliving won’t let a great interview cloud his judgement on how well a player can help the Calgary Flames on the ice.

If you think Treliving is blowing smoke by diminishing the importance of the combine, just look at last year’s first round pick. Sam Bennett infamously did zero pull-ups at the 2014 NHL Draft Combine, but was selected fourth overall by the Calgary Flames.

Wisely, Treliving looked at Bennett’s 91 points in 57 games with the Kingston Frontenacs last season, and not his numbers from the scouting combine when making his final decision. You will see all kinds of numbers posted from the scoring combine over the next few days, but you should follow Treliving’s lead and glance at them, but focus on what a guy can do on the ice and not in the gym.

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