The Wild West – General Manager Ratings – Calgary
In part three of fifteen in our look at GM ratings in the West, we will focus on Calgary and GM Brad Treliving who chose a life of hockey over pizza. Before being hired in Calgary as the GM, Treliving was the Assistant GM in Arizona from July 2007 to April 2014. He was unemployed for one day.
5: below average
7: above average
8: top ten
GM – Brad Treliving, hired April 28th, 2014
First category, winning:
Regular season record: 248 W 190 L 24 OTL 18 SOL: 0.560 Win %
Playoffs: have made the playoffs in three of five seasons and were on the cusp this season.
Best result: 2018-19, with 50 regular season wins and 107 points (their best since 1988-89 when they had 117 points and won the Stanley Cup). Their best playoff result was in 2014-15 when they made it out of the first round but lost in the second.
As is often the case, Treliving took over as GM after the Flames missed the playoffs for the fifth season in a row in 2013-14. The Flames goaltending was a mess with Joni Ortio, Karri Ramo, Joey Macdonald and Reto Berra all sharing playing time. Their top scorer was Jiri Hudler with 54 points, so offense was definitely an issue. Treliving did inherit Mark Giordano (29), Mikael Backlund (24), T.J. Brodie (23), Sean Monahan (18) and Johnny Gaudreau (20), so the nucleus of the current Flames was in place.
Winning rating: 7.3
35 players drafted over six seasons with only four of those as 1st round picks. They did not have a 1st round pick in 2015 and 2018.
With Sam Bennett picked at 4th overall in 2014 ahead of Nikolaj Ehlers and William Nylander among others, sentiment must be very similar to Vancouver with Jake Virtanen being picked at 6th overall. Hindsight is easy and this must go down as a miss along with the rest of the draft class in 2014. Not a great first draft for Treliving, but to be fair he was only hired a few months before.
Without a 1st round pick in 2015, expectations were low, but they have produced Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington from the 2nd round and Andrew Mangiapane from the 6th round. A good rebound draft year.
With Matthew Tkachuk slipping to them at 6th overall in 2016, this has made the draft for Treliving a very successful one. Adding Dillon Dube and perhaps Matthew Phillips is a bonus. They did draft Adam Fox as well in the third round, but traded him to Carolina. A very good year.
Prospects of note from 2017 through the 2019 drafts are Juuso Valimaki, the 16th overall pick in 2017 (went down with injury, but might be the best of Kylington and Andersson) and Jakob Pelletier (picked 26th overall in 2019. The Flames did not possess a pick before the 105th pick in the 4th round in 2018.
Drafting score: 7.2
Treliving is not a prolific trading GM with only 34 deals in almost six years. This is not necessarily a bad thing.
Trades made: 34
March 1st, 2015 – sent Curtis Glencross (a pending UFA) at the deadline for a 2nd round and 52nd overall pick in 2015 (Jeremy Lauzon) and a 3rd round 83rd overall pick in 2015 (Jens Looke). Good value for a player that never played another NHL game after that season.
March 2nd, 2015 – sent Sven Baertschi for a 2nd round #53 overall pick in 2015 (Rasmus Andersson) – This deal has sharply reversed itself in the past year and should be a big win for Treliving.
June 26th, 2015 – sent a 1st round 15th overall pick in 2015 (Zach Senyshyn), a 2nd round 45th overall pick in 2015 (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson) and the previously acquired 2nd round 52nd overall pick in 2015 for Dougie Hamilton – I think this was a good trade for Hamilton in hindsight and at the time. Hamilton had and has the potential to be the cornerstone defenseman that most teams covet. Calgary also needs to address the issue of replacing Mark Giordano at some point soon, which was the hope here as well.
February 29th, 2016 – sent Kris Russell (pending UFA) for Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock and a 2nd round 56th overall pick in 2016 (Dillon Dube). – There was a conditional aspect to this trade that could have resulted in a 1st round pick for Calgary if Dallas had made it to the Conference finals. Another good value trade. Vancouver fans are still upset that Dan Hamhuis wouldn't waive his no-trade to get a similar return that same year.
March 1st, 2017 – sent Jyrki Jokipakka and a 2nd round 47th overall pick in 2017 (Alex Formenton) for Curtis Lazar and Michael Kostka – They took a chance on Lazar but gave up a little too much value with a 2nd round pick. Not a bad gamble for the former 17th overall pick in 2013 but it didn't pay off.
June 14th, 2017 – sent 1st round 12th overall pick in 2018 (Noah Dobson), 2nd round 43rd overall pick in 2018 (Ruslan Iskhakov) and a 2nd round 57th overall pick in 2019 (Samuel Bolduc) for Travis Hamonic and a 4th round 116th overall pick in 2019. – Dobson alone (or equivalent) will prove to be a steep price for a top four defenseman that doesn't provide much offense but is solid defensively. Hamonic is a UFA at the end of this season. Not a good trade for three seasons of middling service.
June 23rd, 2018 – sent Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and Adam Fox (signing rights) for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. – A rare hockey trade and there are certainly arguments to be made on both sides. It was clear that Hamilton wasn't the player the Flames were hoping for and in getting Lindholm (25) and Hanifin (23), Treviling has two core players going forward. The emergence of Fox might be mute, as he probably wouldn't have signed with Calgary.
Trade score: 7.4
Treliving has made 128 signings for over $633 million but he has managed to keep the AAV low on most contracts. The highest AAV he has signed a player for is the $7 million AAV over three seasons to Matthew Tkachuk and once the bridge deal is over this will be much higher or Tkachuk will be on a new team. To have players like Giordano, Gaudreau, Monahan, Hanifin and Lindholm and have them all under $6.75 million AAV is not an easy task.
July 1st UFA signings on the other hand have not been as kind to Treliving, most notably evidenced by the failures of James Neal and Troy Brouwer in the Calgary uniform. He has bought out six different players since 2014, but to be fair only Michael Stone, Troy Brouwer, Lance Bouma and Mason Raymond were his signings.
Overall, Treliving has given the Flames an ability to be near the salary cap and spread out the money over the 24 players on the roster, rather than having it be top-heavy. Even with some bad UFA signings I still think he is near top-ten in the league in contracts.
Signings score: 8.1
Overall score 7.5
This team has a window to compete until the end of 2021-22, when players like Gaudreau and Giordano become UFA. Before then, they will need to make some decisions on defense with TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Derek Forbort and Erik Gustafsson along with Cam Talbot in net.
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