Treliving Chronicles Part 3: Trading

 Treliving Chronicles Part 3: Trading

In Parts 1 & 2 of the Treliving Chronicles, we reviewed the Calgary Flames drafting and free agent signings since 2014. So far, we have learned the team has a good amateur scouting staff, but has lacked draft picks to take advantage of it. We’ve also seen that Treliving and the pro scouting staff have not done a very good job with their free agent pickups.

Today, we will look at the 23 trades made under the Treliving administration. I will only discuss trades which made an impact on the NHL roster or in the entry draft. There will be no minor league trades mentioned like Nick Shore for a 7th Round Pick.

Let’s dive in.

The Good

To CGY: 2015 2nd & 3rd Round Picks. To WSH: Curtis Glencross
To CGY: 2015 2nd Round Pick To VAN: Sven Baertschi
To CGY: 2016 2nd Round Pick & 2018 4th Round Pick To FLA: Jiri Hudler
To CGY: 2016 2nd Round Pick, Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock To DAL: Kris Russell
To CGY: 2016 6th Round Pick, Nicklas Backstrom To MIN: David Jones
To CGY: Alex Chiasson To Ott: Patrick Sieloff
To CGY: Elias Lindholm & Noah Hanifin To CAR: Dougie Hamilton, Michael Ferland, Adam Fox
To CGY: Oscar Fantenberg To LA: 2020 4th Round Pick
To CGY: Milan Lucic To EDM: James Neal
To CGY: 2020 4th Round Pick To BUF: Michael Frolik
To CGY: Derek Forbort To LA: 2021 4th Round Pick
To CGY: Erik Gustafsson To CHI: 2020 3rd Round Pick
To CGY: 2022 3rd Round Pick To TOR: David Rittich
To CGY: 2022 2nd Round Pick & Emil Heineman To FLA: Sam Bennett * 2022 6th Round Pick

As you can see, Brad Treliving has made many smart trades during his time as GM. There is a theme to these successful deals. A lot of his positive work comes from the Flames receiving draft picks in exchange for distressed assets or players on an expiring contract. Treliving has an ability to get above average returns for those types of players. The problem is, why couldn’t he have done it more from 2014-2017 when the Flames should have been in their rebuild? Guys like Josh Jooris, Dennis Wideman, Lance Bouma, and Joe Colbourne should have been moved for assets when their value was at its peak.

I think Treliving’s recent work has been impressive. He did a great job getting valuable assets for Sam Bennett and David Rittich. The Rittich trade especially looked like a steal. I also love the work Treliving did at the 2020 NHL draft trading down in the first round twice to accumulate more picks in the third round.

The big trade with Carolina in 2018 was a win for the Flames. Dougie Hamilton, Michael Ferland and Adam Fox will not be part of the Hurricanes’ organization heading into the 2021/22 season (Reports indicate Dougie Hamilton has been given permission to speak to other teams). Meanwhile, the Flames got their first line center and a top 4 D out of the deal, both on inexpensive long-term contacts. Nice work by Treliving moving out a distressed asset in Hamilton, trading Ferland at his peak value, and shipping out Adam Fox who was only going to sign with the Rangers. Although the Flames traded away the 2 best players in this deal, they likely won’t be with the Hurricanes next season, so it almost looks like a steal at this point.

The last trade to address is James Neal for Milan Lucic. I think the Flames did the best they could have given the difficult situation Neal put the organization in. It was obvious that Neal was not going to work in Calgary. He probably felt he was misled by the Flames because he didn’t get to play with 23 & 13 after likely being promised that during Calgary’s pursuit of him. Plus, the Flames needed a guy like Lucic on their 4th line to bring some size and grit to their forward group. The problem is that Neal should have never been a Flame in the first place. It was a terrible signing and it cost the Flames extremely valuable cap space during their “contention window”. But in a vacuum, it is a good deal.

The Bad

To CGY : Brandon Bollig To CHI: 2014 3rd Round Pick
To CGY: Dougie Hamilton To BOS: 2015 1st Round Pick & two 2nd Round Picks
To CGY: Brian Elliott To STL: 2016 2nd Round Pick
To CGY: Michael Stone To ARZ: 2017 3rd Round Pick & 2018 5th Round Pick
To CGY Curtis Lazar To OTT: 2017 2nd Round Pick
To CGY: Mike Smith To ARZ: 2018 3rd Round Pick, Brandon Hickey & Chad Johnson
To CGY: Travis Hamonic & 2019 4th Round Pick To NYI: 2018 1st & 2nd Round Pick, 2019 2nd Round Pick
To CGY: Rinat Valiev, Matt Taormina To MTL: Brett Kulak

There is a theme to this group of trades as well. Treliving and his pro scouting staff have totally dropped the ball when it comes to acquiring talent to add to the roster and surrounding the core. How many of the guys listed above have helped them become a better team? How many of them helped them win playoff series, let alone games? The talent evaluation is seriously off at the pro level and should be addressed by either hiring new scouts or making changes at the management level.

Another reason these trades have not worked out is because of their timing. Every move listed above (minus the Brett Kulak trade) was made while the team should have been in a rebuild. It is inexcusable to be trading away draft picks at the rate Brad Treliving was just 2 years after trading Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester, and having Miikka Kiprusoff retire. The Flames should have been stockpiling picks and using them to be ready to contend starting in 2018. This has killed any chances of the Flames being a legit Stanley Cup contender.

Overall, there are more good trades than bad in terms of quantity. But I think the bad outweighs the good in terms of quality. Not being able to acquire true difference makers for your highly valuable draft picks is a huge failure, and it needs to be called out. The Flames have drafted well since 2014. Imagine some of the players they could have drafted if they had kept their own picks, and acquired in trades for players like Josh Jooris, Dennis Wideman, Lance Bouma, Joe Colbourne, and Mark Jankowski.

The Flames are about to embark on a critical offseason where they are likely to retool the roster in a significant way. The pro scouting staff must step up and identify players who will make a difference in free agency and trades or else the Flames will not make the playoffs next season. Time for them to start thinking outside the box.


 

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