Now that all of the player’s report cards have finished, we move on to report cards for Brad Treliving today, and Glen Gulutzan tomorrow.
Brad Treliving (General Manager)
Our Individual Grades
There are a lot of people who absolutely love Brad Treliving due to his ability to navigate trades and seemingly rob people. That talent was not on display this year. Treliving made two very stupid trades in season to acquire Curtis Lazar and Michael Stone and now have very little beyond their first round pick this year to work with that. Yes he had a very tight cap to work with, but much of that was his own doing including:
- Troy Brouwer’s contract
- Mason Raymond’s buyout
- Lance Bouma’s contract
- Brandon Bollig’s contract
- Deryk Engelland’s contract
Players like Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano, Mikael Backlund, and T.J. Brodie weren’t his acquisitions. He did well to get them all under contract, but the guys which he seems to be enamored with - particularly from a free agency standpoint - seem to be guys that bring “intangibles” to the table, something he’s willing to overpay for which only winds up biting him. That’s scary given that the Flames are going to have a fair sum of cap space this year.
When it comes to the forward prospects, none of the forwards seem destined for stardom though they could certainly contribute on a third or fourth line. Unfortunately, Treliving has already overpaid against the cap for individuals like Brouwer and Bouma, with draft assets for guys like Lazar and already had Matt Stajan on the roster which leaves maybe one spot to fight for unless the Las Vegas bails them out.
On defense, that third rounder for Stone looks odd. While the team stated they wanted to re-sign him, there doesn’t appear to be much urgency there, they’ll lose an additional pick for re-upping him, and he had the some absolutely ugly possession metrics ranking lower than the likes of Engelland and Dennis Wideman. By all accounts, they’re best off cutting their losses and letting him go, but that leaves three spots open on defense with three quality prospects waiting - it’s doubtful that they want to roll out next season with three rookies on the blue line and Oliver Kylington in particular seems to need more seasoning. Between Stone, Wideman, Nicklas Grossmann, Jyrki Jokipakka, and Matt Bartkowski getting playing time, there seems to be a bit of a flaw when Brett Kulak outplayed them all only to be sent down to the Stockton Heat.
The goalies which he acquired made sense analytically, but didn’t quite work out. That shouldn’t be held against him - goalies are weird like that. Tyler Parsons was a heck of a pick and he could be a star later down the line. His other big pick in Mason McDonald was completely obliterated in Adirondack and doesn’t look like he has a future. While Jon Gillies looked pretty bad with Stockton, it should be noted that he was recovering from injury and furthermore wasn’t Treliving’s pick - he was here before this regime.
There were grumblings before Treliving ultimately re-signed that he was not the only hand in the cookie jar and that he wanted full control of the team before extending. This seems to make sense because moves like acquiring Michael Frolik fly in the face of moves like acquiring Bollig. Let’s hope that these other hands were responsible for much of the out-of-place signings which took place or the majority opinion on him could turn on it’s head come next season.
When we look back at the moves made by Brad Treliving over the last 12 months, it’s easy to say “Oh he didn’t solve goaltending so that’s a fail” or “Brouwer was overpaid”. However I give Treliving an A- because he wasn’t afraid to take risks to make the team successful.
A failure to me would’ve been him not taking any risks and having another missed playoff season. Heck, even Brian Elliott was a good acquisition and most of us were ready to bring him back long term until three bad games against Anaheim. His moves for Kris Versteeg was genius, and even picking up Alex Chiasson for Pat Sieloff (who probably won’t ever leave the AHL) were small pieces to the bigger puzzle as the Flames made a jump back into the postseason.
Sure I’m not thrilled about Brouwer, and many of us weren’t even on the day he was signed, but Treliving isn’t sitting on his hands and hoping, he’s making the moves that are more likely to make the team better. He’s one of the best young GM’s in the NHL and I think he’ll pull off some big moves in the coming weeks.
In Treliving we trust.
This was kind of a mixed season for Brad Treliving.
On the positive end:
- While Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson did not have perfect seasons, they were very good bets for Treliving to make in that they both had great track records and were low commitment acquisitions. They were both inconsistent, but were good enough to get the Flames to the playoffs. It was a smart move and I would say it paid off.
- Kris Versteeg was a very astute last minute acquisition that really helped provide depth scoring.
- Hiring Glen Gulutzan as a coach was a very smart play, as he was a big upgrade over Bob Hartley and was probably the biggest reason why the Flames managed to make the playoffs over the previous season.
- I think the fact he was able to get Johnny Gaudreau on a long-term deal for under $7 million a season was a huge coup. The Monahan deal was not bad either.
On the negative end:
- The Troy Brouwer signing worked out horribly and there was enough data out there to suggest that this was a likely outcome. It is one thing if you sign a player who has a strong history of playing at a high level and then fails to perform. It is another thing to sign an overrated player with bad underlying numbers to a long-term deal. The Flames are now stuck with a glorified 4th liner making over $4 million a year for the next 3 seasons. That stings.
- Considering someone like Cody Franson did not end up being dealt by the Sabres at the deadline, you have to wonder about trading a third round pick for Michael Stone who definitely is not as good as Franson.
And the to be determined:
- The Curtis Lazar trade. To me, it did not make any sense at the time. It still seems like a long shot, as he has never been a high level producer at any level of hockey. A second round pick has a lot of currency and the Flames do not have it in an offseason where it looks like there will be a lot of activity in the market. But, maybe Lazar achieves the vision that the organization has for him.
So overall, I have to give Treliving a B. Some great moves, one really awful move and a couple of questionable moves. Overall, I still have a lot of confidence in his management and am happy he will be at the helm of the organization going forward.
Our Final Grade: B
What’s your Grade for Brad Treliving’s moves this season?
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