Brad Treliving was hired by Brian Burke to be the General Manager of the Calgary Flames on April 28, 2014. At the time, basically all we knew about him was that he had been working as an Assistant General Manager for the Arizona Coyotes and was the son of Dragons' Den star, Jim Treliving. Brad Treliving is just over 2 years into his first gig as an NHL GM, so lets take a look at some of the more significant moves that have been made since he became General Manager of the Calgary Flames. Part 1 of this series will look at the moves made from the day he was hired, to June 30, 2015. Part 2 (released tomorrow) will look at his moves from July 1, 2015 to present day.
***NOTE: This series will not include reviewing BT's NHL Entry Drafts; draft reviews will appear on the site in the weeks to come.
June 6, 2014: Appoint Craig Conroy and Brad Pascal Assistant General Managers
Thoughts: So far, this seems like an excellent group for Brad Treliving to have surrounded himself with. Conroy was one of the most liked players in recent memory, retired a Flame, and had been working as a special assistant to Jay Feaster and Brian Burke. He's an intelligent guy and likely invaluable for forging relationships with the players.
Brad Pascall seems like another strong addition to the team. He spent 18 years working for Hockey Canada and was highly regarded. This has kept him in contact with many people from all sorts of aspects in hockey, never a bad thing. He's responsible for overseeing the youth movement in Stockton.
June 22, 2014: Hire Ryan Huska as AHL Head Coach
Thoughts: Huska seems like a smart hire. He'd had a lengthy and successful run with the Kelowna Rockets organization. He has had mixed results with the AHL club, coaching non-playoff teams, but has done an excellent job at having the players ready to step in when called up to the Flames. It will be interesting to see if he can be more successful not having to mirror Bob Hartley's style this upcoming season. He is also seen as a long shot candidate for the Head Coaching job in Calgary.
Grade: To be determined.
June 28, 2014: Traded a 2014 Third Round Pick (83 overall) to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brandon Bollig
Thoughts: This seemed like a poor decision the day it happened and it does not look any better today. The Flames traded a third round pick for Brandon Bollig with 3 years left on his contract at $1.25 million a season (All salary information from CapFriendly). Two seasons later, he has 3 goals and 6 assists in 116 games, and has consistently been the worst forward in the Flames lineup. He is a good team guy and is willing to fight for his teammates, but players like Bollig are no longer needed in the NHL and he is taking up a roster spot from a younger player with more upside. Would have been better to use the third rounder.
July 1, 2014: Sign Mason Raymond to a 3 year, $9.5 million deal.
Thoughts: This move seemed like a solid deal at the time. The Flames had not been able to come to terms with Mike Cammelari, who eventually signed for more term and money with the Devils. Raymond was coming off a 19 goal, 45 point season with the Maple Leafs, so signing him for 3 years at just over $3.1 million a season seemed like a good move to replace a good portion of Cammelari's offence and help bridge the gap until the next generation of forwards were ready. Unfortunately, Raymond's tenure with the Flames has been a failure. After a strong start to the 2014-2015 season, Raymond suffered a couple of injuries throughout the course of the season and was also made a healthy scratch or placed on the 4th line throughout the year, finishing with 12 goals and 11 assists in 57 games. This past season was far worse. Raymond went unclaimed on waivers in training camp, stayed with the Flames where he was frequently scratched, had 5 points in 29 games and was sent to the AHL, where he had 15 points in 15 games. Raymond's tenure in Calgary is likely over, as a possible buyout candidate, or he may just play out the last year of his contract in Stockton. The Flames could not have seen this disappointment coming when they signed him, but unfortunately this signing was a disaster.
July 1, 2014: Sign Jonas Hiller for 2 years, $9 million.
Thoughts: Jonas Hiller had two very different seasons for the Flames. In year one, he was a solid 1A goalie in tandem with Karri Ramo, both goalies had success but Hiller in particular helped lead the team into the playoffs. He had a 26-19-4 record with a 2.36 GAA and .918 save percentage, above average stats for a goaltender in the NHL. He also won a must win game against the defending cup champions Los Angeles, to get the Flames into the playoffs over the Kings. He had a solid start in the playoffs too until he blew up early in game 6 against the Canucks, and then again at the start of game 1 against the Ducks. Year two did not go anywhere near as well for Hiller. One of a trio of goalies the Flames started the season with, Hiller ended up having the worst statistics in the entire NHL with an .879 save percentage and a 3.51 GAA. It was a terrible season for Hiller and his NHL career is now over with him signing a 3-year contract to play in Switzerland. It was hard to see such a steep drop off coming, but it happened and was one of the main reasons the Flames had such a rough season. Thankfully, Hiller was only signed for two seasons.
July 1, 2014: Sign Deryk Engelland for 3 years, $8.75 million.
Thoughts: When this signing was first announced, it sounded like an abomination. Actual insanity that a player like Deryk Engelland would be signed for that much money and that many years. 2 years later, the signing still seems over the top, but it has not turned out to be anywhere near as much of a disaster as it seemed like it was on the day the contract was signed. Engelland is ideally a sixth or seventh defenseman and likely does not have much of a future on the team, but he was a helpful transitional piece that Bob Hartley loved to rely on and he managed to step up when injuries to other players occurred. By no means is it ideal for Deryk Engelland to be making almost $3 million a season, but Engelland has managed to contribute thus far. With a new coach on their way to the organization, Engelland likely (hopefully) will not receive as much time on the ice as this prior season (where in many games he had more ice time than Dougie Hamilton), but he should continue to be a serviceable player that can help contribute in a depth role. Overpaid for sure, but he has been useful to the organization.
October 20, 2014: Give TJ Brodie a 5 year, $23.5 million contract extension
Thoughts: This was an absolutely terrific signing. Brodie had already shown that he was a talented NHL defenseman on the rise, but Brad Treliving locked Brodie in to a long-term extension right at the start of Brodie's breakout season of starting to be considered one of the elite defenders in the NHL. The day this contract was signed it looked like great value, today it is perceived as one of the best contracts in the NHL. Brodie was the Flames best defenseman this past season and it looks like the value for his contract will only improve as his career continues. Locking him up at the start of the season rather than the end saved the Flames a lot of money.
December 17, 2014: Give Bob Hartley a 2 Year contract extension
Thoughts: Given the situation the Flames were in at the time that Brad Treliving signed Hartley to this extension, it was the right move. After a strong start, the Flames were in the midst of their season long losing streak. Hartley was on the last year of his contract, not a situation that most coaches want to be. To reinforce his belief in Hartley and the team, Treliving extended Hartley and it lead to the team rebounding and making a run to the playoffs. The best part about the extension however, was that it was only 2 years long. While Treliving was supporting Hartley, he likely had suspicions that Hartley was going to have to go sooner rather than later and it turns out after one year into the contract extension, Hartley was fired. Treliving helped support the Flames in a tough time when he extended Hartley, but gave himself the flexibility to make a change should things not improve.
March 1, 2015: Trade Curtis Glencross to the Washington Capitals for a 2015 Second Round Pick and a 2015 Third Round Pick
Thoughts: Curtis Glencross had been a serviceable player for the Flames for years, on a valuable contract (4 years at $2.55 million per year). Glencross reportedly wanted a lucrative deal from the Flames as recompense for playing out the last few years bellow market value. Unfortunately for Glencross he was in the midst of a season where his contributions were declining. Rather than shill out a long-term deal for a declining asset, Treliving traded Glencross to the Washington Capitals, acquiring second and third round picks in the process. The Flames ended up not missing Glencross at all, managing to make the playoffs and win a round without him, while Glencross had just 1 goal in 10 playoff games with the Capitals and ended up retiring after not catching on with any team in the offseason. The picks were used to help acquire Dougie Hamilton and Oliver Kylington in separate deals. Terrific outcome.
March 2, 2015: Trade Sven Baertschi to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2015 Second Round Pick
Thoughts: This move really bothered me when it occurred, as I was in the camp with many other Flames fans that Sven Baertschi should be a useful part of the Flames future and that the Flames were not really giving Baerstchi fair treatment. Worst of all, they traded a top prospect to their archrival, the Canucks. With all that in mind, it looks as though this deal is going to work out just fine for the Flames. Baertschi had apparently indicated that he was not going to resign with the Flames because he believed he was an NHL player already. Baertschi played a full season in the NHL with Canucks this year and had 28 points in 69 games and was a -14 player. Definitely a solid season, but nothing that should make Flames fans miss him too badly. On the Flames end, they ended up drafting Rasmus Andersson with the pick acquired from the Canucks and Andersson has quickly become a top defense prospect that looks like he has the potential to be a top 4 defenseman one day. In the end this looks like a trade that may have benefited all parties involved, but we will not really know whether it was the right move for years.
Grade: To be determined.
May 19, 2015: Sign Jakub Nakladal to a One Year Entry Level Deal
Thoughts: After bowing out of a playoffs where there was regularly a defenseman playing under 8 minutes a game (Wotherspoon, Potter), it was apparent that the Flames needed to boost their organization depth in case of injury. Nakladal was signed out of Finland at the age of 27, having never played in North America. Nakladal spent about half the season in the AHL, before being a fixture in the lineup for the final portion of the season, finishing with 2 goals and 3 assists in 27 games. While only averaging 14:11 a game, he had strong possession stats and looked a lot better than some of the other depth options the Flames possessed. It will be interesting to see if Treliving resigns him or if Nakladal moves on elsewhere, but it looks like he would be worth keeping around for another year or two.
June 20, 2015: Resign Mikael Backlund to a 3 year, $10.725 million contract.
Thoughts: Mikael Backlund had always been a solid contributer in a defensive role, while showing flashes of offensive contributions. One year away from being an unrestricted free agent, Treliving signed Backlund for three seasons, buying two UFA years. Backlund responded with a career best season, playing 82 games for the first time in his career and tallying 21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points. He takes on tough matchups, allowing for easier transitions for Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett. For everything he does for the Flames, his contract is very good value.
June 26 to June 30, 2015: Acquire Dougie Hamilton from the Bruins for a 2015 First Round Pick and Two 2015 Second Round Picks, then sign him for a 6 year, $34 million dollar contract.
Thoughts: This was a huge move. It came out of nowhere. It was obvious the Flames needed to boost their defensive depth, but nobody thought it would come by acquiring a 22-year-old defenseman coming off a season where he scored 42 points. All that it cost the Flames were draft picks, immediately upgrading the defensive core for many years. There was talk Hamilton would want an outrageous salary, but he was signed for less than $6 million a season (only making marginally more than Dennis Wideman for example). Hamilton had a rough start just like the rest of the team, but finished his first season with the Flames tallying a career high 12 goals and 43 points. Considering his rough start and that Bob Hartley thoroughly underutilized him for the majority of the season, there is a lot to be excited about having Hamilton signed for 5 more years. It is likely that the next coach the Flames hire will take full advantage of the skillset Hamilton offers. Adding Hamilton without removing a single player from the roster was quite the move. Boston would probably like a do over.
Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow, which will look at Brad Treliving's moves from July 1, 2015 to present.