Flames’ GM Treliving on Glencross trade: ‘We’re trying to navigate parallel paths’

If the Curtis Glencross trade on Sunday tells us anything of long-term import about the Calgary Flames organization, it tells us that they’re keeping their surprising success in perspective. 

Little was expected of the rebuilding Flames this season. They were widely regarded as a team that was too limited up front to hang with the big three from California, or even the aging Vancouver Canucks, in the tough Pacific Division. Instead, with 20 games to play, the Flames are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.

It’s perhaps somewhat surprising to see a team that could sensibly have been looking to buy at the trade deadline, instead turn around and sell a still useful veteran piece like Glencross. Brad Treliving has a plan, it would appear, and he’s sticking to it.

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In his media availability on Sunday, Treliving didn’t entirely write off the idea of making a short-term move ahead of Monday’s NHL trade deadline. He did downplay the possibility though and suggested that recent moves to acquire Drew Shore from the Florida Panthers and claim David Schlemko off of waivers, were examples of moves designed to bolster the club’s depth in the immediate future.

“We think we’ve got deeper at key positions… (and) we want to continue down that path, but we’re also investigating ways we can get better today,” Treliving told reporters.

“We’re trying to navigate parallel paths,” Treliving continued. “We’re not going to impact the long-term future of this franchise, but you also want to recognize what the players have done to put us in the position we’re in today.”

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The idea of navigating ‘parallel paths’ is a fascinating and well articulated one, particularly because the short- and long-term interests of NHL clubs are often in conflict when it comes to their behaviour ahead of the NHL trade deadline. For the Flames for example, losing Glencross will hurt in the short-term. 

Treliving knows this, and though he expressed confidence that young players already in the organization will be good enough to step into Glencross’ shoes without the club missing a beat, he reiterated that this move was made with his eyes squarely on the long-term fortunes of the franchise.

“Are they going to replace Curtis tomorrow?” Treliving asked rhetorically of young players like Sven Baertschi. “No. We’re not heaping expectations (on them), but we think we’ve got some depth up front to fill (the) hole created by Curtis, and we think it allows us to put some assets in the bank.

“Whether those are players that are picked, whether (the picks are) used for other things, just with (a player who is on the last year of his deal) and where we are at an organization, we just thought this was prudent.”

So in navigating his parallel paths, Treliving opted to give precedence to the future. Considering what, say, the underlying numbers would suggest about the Flames’ season that’s a wise move. Even without Calgary’s ugly shot-attempt differential, it’s still a wise move if the goal is winning a Stanley Cup rather than simply generating playoff revenue…

On multiple occasions on Sunday, Treliving hinted that, in his view, the picks he got back for Glencross are assets that could be moved rather than used to draft prospects. In particular, he suggested that the picks could be useful in making trades with clubs that are pressed up against the salary cap this summer.

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“There’s some (cap uncertainty) when you do your forecasting of where teams will be at from a cap perspective,” Treliving explained. “There may be an opportunity to use those picks to get NHL players. So it opens up possibilities, not the least of which is using those picks.”

That could be a smart play, especially considering how clubs like the Chicago Blackhawks will be looking to shed salary this summer.

How the Flames use the picks and other assets that Treliving has accumulated remains to be seen, but one thing seems certain: in spite of their surprising success this season, Treliving’s Flames have their sight firmly set on the future. 

  • MonsterPod

    BT and the balancing act. Is it possible that the hole created by Glen+ can be filled by Stajan and or Raymond? If not these vets then I have high hopes that given a chance that one of the kids: Sven, Ferland, Poirier, Grans, Shore, or Jooris could fill his role(some may have already surpassed what he has done)How do you fill his experience in the locker room especially with Gio injured and Stajan off on personal leave.

  • everton fc

    Ferland can play LW. So can Baertschi, as we all know. I wonder if Stajan gets moved? To see Ferland/Granlund/Poirier on two consecutive nights – Wolf didn’t get that type of look.

    Who knows…

    Shore, to me, remains unproven. It’ll be one of the kids above, unless they take on a LW as part of a deal to take another team’s salary for another asset, which may or may not happen.

    Aulie’s been waived. Just sayin’. Not sayin’ I want him back here.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    Crystal ball says: I see Rundblad from Chicago coming here for a second, hopefully not ours but the new one from Washington. Otherwise it is Coburn for same return. Wish NHL Numbers had no-trade clause info, miss Capgeek.

  • beloch

    Claiming Schlemko off of waivers may be pretty meaningless, but it might also be the sleeper move of the trade deadline for the Flames.

    In 2011-2012, Schlemko played 46 games for the Coyotes with first pairing deployment. Since then, he’s been given deployment that’s sort of in between a second and third pairing defender. He puts up 0.24 ppg and would project as a ~20 point producer if he ever played a full 82 game season. He’s never played more than 48 games in a season though.

    Could he be an upgrade on Engelland? It’s possible. He might also be Smid 2.0. Namely, a formerly good defender who has been so frequently injured that now he’s not much good. This is the second time this season that Schlemko has been claimed off waivers. The Stars claimed him after the Coyotoes put him on waivers but he played just five games as a Star. Why so few? He was apparently healthy while in Dallas and simply a healthy scratch. There’s probably a good reason why Schlemko is being passed around like a hot potatoe.

    I’m curious to see Schlemko play. However, he’s been riding pine for months and is probably seriously rusty. I’d much rather see Wotherspoon finally play a NHL game this season, but the Schlemko move suggests he’ll be put on a plane back to Adriondack shortly.

    • Canrock 78

      I’m not sure if you have ever made a mistake? I sure have and leaned from them. You think of the moves he has made since free agency. Drew shore, signing Brodie and now the trade today.

      I have been watching the sports panels and have not seen one person say that we did not win this trade considering the situation he was in. We now have 5 picks in the top 80.

      I believe he has learned from being schooled by Scotty bowman. But I’m sure he was not the first one to get that lesson. Obviously that lesson has not hurt us to much we are in a fight for a play off spot.

          • everton fc

            I think I connected yours to my response in error. I agree with your original post.

            Unrelated to this reply, I’ve put Polak’s name out there a few times and been shot down. Now people want him here. He’d be a good fit here. Team players. Hits hard. And so on.

            You somehow add him (I’d even consider Gardiner), and when Gio returns, you have one of the deepest d’s in the league. Let Ferland play Glencross spot.

            I wonder if either Stajan or Raymond move on? And Boston’s looking for a RW very much like David Jones.

            Still, I think we do little else. But some of the names above won’t kill us if they move on. Other than Jones, who I think we should keep.

  • everton fc

    There’s been some talk about the Flames having scouts at the Leafs game tonight. I can’t think of a single player outside of Kessel that would be available there I’d want the Flames to even consider. Lupul, Bozak, Phaneuf, Polak all make me sick to my stomach just thinking about them.

    • MonsterPod

      Polak on our bottom pairing is a good move if it can be done inexpensively. I have no interest in Kessel, Phaneuf or Lupul but for the right price (and given the Flames inability to score lately) Bozak might be a good fit,

    • T&A4Flames

      It’s been said plenty of times, every leaf not named Reilly or Gardiner are available. What about JVR? And I would take Polak. Dude hits like a freight train and is still signed for a few years. And is a right shot.

  • beloch

    Just in case anyone is interested, if you use the data from the draft pick value review we did in the summer and assume Dallas picks at their current position (8th overall), the value of their 2nd and 3rd combined is worth about 90% of the value of their 1st rounder. If they perform well down the stretch and fall to 14th place in the draft, the picks they traded to the Flames will actually be more “valuable”, in terms of their probability of producing viable NHL’ers, than their 1st round pick, although this would be bad since their value would be less in absolute terms. This is because draft pick value falls off much more rapidly in the first round than it does in later rounds.

    Almost getting a 1st rounder for a pending UFA is pretty good.

      • beloch

        Good catch. I was still thinking of Schlemko at the time I wrote this.

        Good news: The Caps are going to pick later than 14th, so their 2nd plus their 3rd is worth more than their 1st. The Flames basically got a 1st rounder.

        Bad news: The Caps’ 2nd and 3rd aren’t worth nearly as much as Dallas’.

        Win some. Lose some.