Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving Talks NHL Draft, Free Agency, Combine


Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving joined Sportsnet 960’s Boomer in the Morning radio show in Calgary to dicuss the NHL Scouting Combine, the upcoming NHL Draft and NHL free agency.

Treliving was not willing to discuss exactly who the Flames are targeting in the draft, who they may trade in the coming weeks or what free agents they have their eye on, but he gave some interesting insights into the inner workings of what is happening behind the scenes in the Flames organization at one of the busiest times of year.

Treliving talked about the importance of the Scouting Combine, but also the fact that it won’t change his opinion on any players in a drastic fashion. He said most of the players are well trained in the interview process and that there is no need to fall in love with a player over how many reps he can do on a bench press. Though it is the last viewing of these players and it will stick in his mind, he claims what the players did on the ice is still the most important element in the scouting process.

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The Flames GM also spoke about how deep he feels the draft is, and said that was the reason they were willing to part with Sven Baertschi and Curtis Glencross at the trade deadline. Baertschi went to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2nd round pick and Glencross was dealt to the Washington Capitals for 2nd and 3rd round choices in the upcoming draft.

The deals leave the Flames with a first round pick, three second round picks and a pair of third round picks. Treliving said it is possible that the Flames move one or more of their picks, but also claimed it is essential to build the core of your team through the draft and that they have a dearth of talent in their prospect ranks right now thanks to the recent graduation of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett.

Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It sounds extremely likely that the Calgary Flames will be keeping all of their draft picks, especially in the first three rounds. Treliving also spoke about the risks associated with trying to fill roster holes via free agency and his signings last summer appear to be a lesson learned by the Flames leader.

Calgary got in on the action early in free agency a year ago and signed left winger Mason Raymond, defenseman Deryk Engelland and goaltender Jonas Hiller.

Raymond was coming off a bounce back 2013-14 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he scored 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 82 games. The Flames handed him a three year contract that pays Raymond $3.15 million per year. After scoring 12 goals and 11 assists in year one of that deal, Treliving would like a mulligan on Raymond’s contract.

Engelland was a bruising defenseman who played part time as a right winger with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013-14. The Flames signed him to a three year contract with a $2.9 million cap hit that was a head scratcher from day one. Engelland did nothing this season to suggest he is more than a number six defenseman and would probably be a number seven on a contending team.

Apr 23, 2015;  Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Hiller signed a very reasonable two year contract with a $4.5 million salary. He posted solid numbers with the Flames, actually improving his stats from the 2013-14 season with the Anaheim Ducks. Hiller’s 26-19-4 record with a 2.36 GAA and .918 SV% helped lead the Flames to the postseason, and gave Treliving one good signing out of three from July 1, 2014.

Treliving interestingly spoke about how the free agency bidding wars can get out of control. He said you can easily peg a player into a certain role and decide what that player would be worth in the Flames salary structure, but when other teams get involved you suddenly end up paying a player far more than you want to fill a depth role on your team.

Based on his comments on Sportsnet radio, I would surmise that the Flames may make very few trades at the draft, and also be fairly quiet during free agency. Though it is not very exciting and will keep the Flames off the front pages, isn’t that better than overpaying for Mason Raymond and Deryk Engelland?

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