Over the weekend, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving held court with local media to primarily discuss Sam Bennett’s return to the Ontario Hockey League. Since it was the last time many of us will see him before the NHL’s trade deadline, he was kind enough to field questions about the trade deadline.
Here’s the gist of what he spoke about over the weekend. There were other questions asked about a few other topics, so I cut out any questions that didn’t directly relate to the trade deadline for clarity and reading convenience.
Does he have a wish list at the trade deadline?
We’re balancing a few things right now. We’re talking everyday of how we can make ourselves better. Would we like to help ourselves here for the last stretch? Absolutely. To me, it still comes down to ‘what’s the cost?’. We are not gonna start putting A assets into play here; young players, top young prospects and first round picks, for something that may help us for the next four to six weeks. It’s balancing, keeping the long-term view in mind and protecting that, while also seeing if there’s ways that we can tweak and help ourselves down the stretch. What’s our wish list? We’d love to be able to add some depth here. We’d love to be able to see if there’s things in different areas that could help us.
(Questioner interjected) Depth all over?
We’re looking at the blueline. We’d like to look at the blueline, obviously, if there’s a way to help that, we would like to do it. I think up front, again if there’s something we think makes sense that could help us at a reasonable price we’d like to do that. I do think up front, and we’ve seen it over the course of the year, we’re starting to get depth in the organization. We’ve seen a number of young players come up and play. I think there’s a lot of guys pushing, not just to come up and play a game and get through a night, but I think they’re really pushing to be players here. Which leads me to say, we’ve got some young defensemen in the minors, but they’re young players. They’re still finding their way at that level, so that’s an area we’re looking at. You know, there’s 20-some-odd other teams that are looking to do the same thing, so we’ll continue to look at it.
Has it been busy regarding calls about the team’s veterans?
It is. I mean, there’s talk. Actually, over the last 48 hours… You know, leading up to the deadline, the wesks and months before, you get to all the teams to try to find out exactly, as much as you’re looking at your team, you’re looking at everybody else and trying to find out what might they need. What are they looking for? You get an understanding of that to see where there might be fits. Do you have something that works for them, do they have something that works for you, and is there a fit there? And it’s almost a daily process as teams win or lose, the teams are making decisions whether they’re adding or subtracting. We’ve had some interest in some of the players we have, but again that’s just usual. That happens all year and not just around the deadline. But we have nothing that is imminent with us.
Is there any interest in adding more draft picks, or is the focus on prospects?
I love picks. You know, we like to have picks. I think it’s probably been fairly well-documented, not only has it been well talked-about about the upper end of this year’s draft but I think there’s some depth to it. So yeah, if there’s an opportunity to add picks, we like those, too. And you’re looking at everything. There’s picks, there’s young players that are at different stages of development that are either into their pro careers maybe or further along in terms of a year or two post-draft. So those are, yeah, you’re looking at all of it. But you pay attention, part of this process is you’re constant in touch with your amateur people in terms of… We recently had some amateur meetings just do so some slotting of where certain people could slot into and the value of certain picks at a certain range. Absolutely, it all comes into the equation.
Does Joni Ortio’s injury change the value to the organization of Karri Ramo?
Obviously… Karri’s been an important guy here. And I know there’s always lots of talk and you’re evaluating, but when you lose depth at any position it increases. But I think Karri’s been a very important player for us all year and will continue to be.
He’s been adamant about not giving up “A assets,” but what if the team gets an offer involving a great player? (Phil Kessel was mentioned as a hypothetical and Treliving made a joke about the reporters trying to get him into trouble by mentioning specific players)
It’s like anything else, regardless of who the team is… We look at how does it make us better? And does it make us better for four weeks? Does it make us better for four months? Is it something that can make us better long term? You evaluate everything. You talk… The process is getting to all the teams and just trying to find out. You don’t know what may be a fit or might be available or not available if you don’t ask the questions. So that’s where we’re at. The other piece of this too, and I know everybody gets juiced up around the deadline, there’s the possibility you don’t do anything. You don’t do things just to say… I love spending time with you guys, but you don’t do it just so you can get you all together and say “look at what we did.” That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, either. If there’s something there that’ll help us and the cost makes sense, by all means, we’ll be interested.