5 Quotes From Brad Treliving’s Chat With Bob McKenzie

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 9.04.12 PM

Bob McKenzie was in Penticton this past weekend. While TSN didn’t cover the Young Stars Classic tournament in astounding depth, McKenzie did have a chance to chat with the general managers in attendance.

Of note for Flames fans was McKenzie’s 31-minute chat with Brad Treliving. While we heartily encourage you to watch the entire thing, as McKenzie is a great interviewer and Treliving has a tendency to reveal a lot with his lengthy answers, we attempted to distill the half-hour into five digestible morsels.

ON EXPECTATIONS

We have
to take a step forward. We’ve talked a lot over the summer. It was a
really good year for us, but we did some things in ways that I don’t
think you can expect to duplicate, so we’ve got to take a step and
we’ve got to get better.”

Treliving noted that they can’t be pre-occupied with thoughts about being able to replicate last season’s results – their season ended in the second round, so they feel they need to be better. He praised Bob Hartley and the coaching staff for being the driver of the team’s success last season.

ON POSSESSION STATS

Coming
into the year, we wanted to be able to hold onto the puck longer and
spend less time in our zone, more time in the offensive zone. So,
there’s a little bit of a style of play, an adjustment there, but
also in personnel – maturation, growth, those types of things. No
question, you have to dig in, look at the data, try to learn from it
from a certain extent, but we feel we’ve improved ourselves and
hopefully we’re going to give ourselves the best chance moving
forward.”

They’re aware of (a) how bad their Corsi numbers were last season and (b) how improbable their success was, in regards to late-game comebacks and their high shooting percentage. And they seem to think they’ve addressed lots of that, through internal progression of their younger players and the additions of Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik. (Treliving specifically mentioned the younger players and alluded to the additions improving that aspect of the team while discussing the defensive group and Frolik’s arrival in different sections.)

ON SAM BENNETT

We’re
not going to over-burden him with any expectations or dump him into
the deep end right from day one. He’s got to find his game at his
pace.”

Treliving elaborated on the plan to start Bennett at center a bit, pointing out that the team’s depth with Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund and Matt Stajan really helps with easing Bennett into things.

There’s
not a need for him to be overwhelmed, there’s not a need to put him
in situations where he may or may not have success.”

ON GAUDREAU & MONAHAN

We’ve
had initial talks with both players. Probably the best answer, Bob,
is ‘we’ll see.’ We’ll kind of get into the season. Both are big parts
of this time, are going to be big parts of this team in the future.
Talent like that…and like you said, the careers that they’ve had
thus far, they’ll probably be looking for good raises.”

McKenzie joked that meant they’ll be expensive deals and Treliving chuckled and repeated “we’ll see.” Treliving referred to the duo as “cornerstone pieces” in their chat.

OTHER STUFF

  • Treliving’s really happy with their depth: it was specifically mentioned in regards to center, goaltending and on the blueline.
  • Emile Poirier, Drew Shore and Bill Arnold were mentioned as young players that could push for spots.
  • He referred to Michael Frolik both as a “Swiss army knife” and as a “line fixer.”
  • Treliving noted that he was pleased that the Oilers got Connor McDavid, because it pushes the Flames to be better. (He reiterated that the league isn’t easy and isn’t supposed to be easy.)

  • BurningSensation

    What was really driven home to me in the interview was how committed to advanced stats and data analysis the team is. Mackenzie even joked about the army of stats guys Treliving has working for the Flames.

    Obviously Burke isn’t the anti-stats guy he likes to portray himself as.

    • Parallex

      Well… I think a more accurate conclusion would be that Treliving isn’t of the same opinion and that you can say that Burke won’t impose his views on Treliving (I imagine so long as the hot burning fire in Burke’s loins for truculance is simultaniously kept satisfied).

    • RedMan

      You clearly didn’t catch Burke’s interview yesterday on Sportsnet 960…he confirmed they use stats as the least important of three evaluation tool methods when evaluating players.

      In other words, it’s important but it’s not that important

  • RedMan

    About McDavid, he also said that Bob has a family show so he couldn’t actually say now what he said then.

    Saying Edmonton getting McDavid was good for the Flames because it pushes the Flames is making lemonade out of Lemons. No one wants to see a player that good go to your main rival. Had he gone to Arizona or even Buffalo, that would have been infinitely more palatable.

    That exchange tells me Treliving is a very positive guy, sort of a Bob Johnson type.

  • BurningSensation

    I think that Burke gave Treliving free rain last year (post Engellend and Bollig ) he was willing to see how Treliving and the team fared before he would interfere. Luckily for us Treliving/Hartley knocked it out of the park and forced Burke to trust them…IMO this helped solidify Burke’s position/decision to remain upper management and not meddle. So far the relationship (post aforementioned contracts) has really worked.

  • Derzie

    I watched this interview along with the Chiarelli interview. I found myself really thankful that we have the management team we have. Treliving really talks about the right things: the process of getting better, the workings of a team, character. The Chia interview was all over the place. Knowing that the Oil have improved their players greatly this year (and management in that anyone-but-mac-six-rings is a plus) and seeing how much more believable and inspiring Brad is when compared to Peter, I really feel good about our place in the BOA. Watch them both and see what you think.

    • JayCMcG

      Really agree on your point about liking the management team and I should add that this is the first time I’ve ever been happy about that aspect of this team.

      None of the GMs that had a short tenure ever gave me the impression they had a clear vision and I got really tired of the Sutter Dynasty and their “Meat and Potatoes” approach.

      BT walks a fine line between not dismissing achievements while being honest about where the team needs to improve and holding players/coaches/himself accountable.

      I think the point you make about Chiarelli’s interview being all over the place kind of reflects his Boston Tenure. Sure a Stanley Cup is what any GM strives for but it seems to have come at a cost since the team, now, is in terrible shape; Chiarelli seems like a “win now at any cost” kind of guy.

        • Captain Ron

          You are probably right but I can’t help get a gut feeling that they have the wrong guy for the cap storm ahead of them. I see the Oilers having a much better year this year, they may even be in the playoff race in Feb. Mcdavid will come as advertised but they will realize the holes before they can make the next step of being a deep playoff team. But by the time Draisaltl & Yakapov need to be resigned, they have Eberle & Hall on the cusp of being UFA’s, at the same time McDavid’s ELC is up. No bridge deal for that boy. It’s looking like the perfect cap storm. Does Chia have the gonads to move Hall or Eberle to defer some of this? With so many young high end players, the Cap has shortened the window for this group, no all of them can get 6.0mill/year. But do agree, that team needs some success this year similar to what the Flames did last year in the worst way. That’s a lot of pressure on a GM with all eyes on him & his team. I like where we are at & how the long term brick & mortar are being constructed by BT.

          • Train#97

            Those guys may have to be moved at some point. That’s what will happen in the cap world .Calgary will experience that as well. Go to NHL NUMBERS look at the cap situation between Edmontin and Calgary. Very similar situations. Edmonton may hit they time before Calgary but with both teams it’s coming.

          • BurningSensation

            Treliving (and his prddecessor) has already done good work on preparing us for the cap crunch.

            Hamilton , Brodie and Gio are all on ‘value’ deals. Lots of cap space frees up when Wideman, Engelland, Hiller, Bollig, etc. come off the books.

            A smart team can afford to keep their core together if they can continually be surrounded by younger players in their ELCs.

          • Train#97

            Totally agree . Chicago has went with a core group and it does cost them but they just keep rotating in and out a good supporting cast. Edmonto has also tied up Nuge Eberle Hall on good long term deals . 1 comes off in 2019 and 2 in 2020. Nilotic ,Ference ,Purcell come off next year.
            It can be done but you need to be smart about it.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            Chiarelli is not Stan Bowman. Bowman has been excellent for his tenure in Chicago. That said, he may have finally stumbled on the new contracts for Kane and Toews. If the cap does not go up substancially over the next 2 – 3 seasons, Chicago will be solidly in cap-hell.
            Edmonton is not Chicago. Attracting and keeping players will not be as easy (it’s just a fact of life – sorry). Meaning your team will be paying a premium in both cap space and contract length.
            McDavid will be the most expensive player of his generation, making cap management even more complex in Edmonton. You needed a patient GM, you got a win-now guy.

          • Parallex

            Speaking of cap concerns, the one issue that I had earlier with the management was the burning of year 1 on Gaudreau and Bennett for a few games. However, I’ve come to think that it may be a bit of a benefit when negotiating long term deals (if you assume that they will both progress and be better in year 3 vs. year 2). This is assuming neither will be given a bridge deal.

          • Train#97

            Ummmm….yeah except that you are completely wrong…if they wanted to Calgary could eliminate close to 25 million in current salary after 2015-2016 (not that they will.. some of those players will be extended.)

            Edmonton however has 26 Million tied up in a defense core that is a mess…
            In comparison Calgary has 28 million invested in arguably one of the best defense groups in the league with Wideman and Russell comimg off the books should they desire.

            In terms of organizational strengths\depth and allocation of future cap space/money the two teams couldn’t be more different.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            Leaving Nakladal and Wilson out of it, of the defencemen that look like they could play in the league, Calgary has Hickey and Anderson with Kylington, Kulak and Culkin and maybe others (like Morrison and Rafikov) looking like they might be real prospects as well. That kind of fills out the 4-7 slots even if several of these players don’t hit their potential. All of these guys will be ready in two to five years, i.e., when Wideman, Engelland and Smid come off the books. I’m not sure they even re-sign Russell with the possibilities coming along on the farm.

            Calgary doesn’t need to rush their d core. At all. They have a d-core in their top 3 and just need to bide their time to reduce the amount of money they have tied up in the bottom 4.

            Maybe that’s optimistic, but you have to think at least two of Calgary’s current crop of young defence prospects should make the show. At least two. If it is in a bottom 4 type role, that’s millions off the payroll. If they are good enough for the show and they aren’t bottom 4 material, well, how sad is that?

          • ChinookArchYYC

            I think Edmonton’s situation re: cap is far more precarious. No real starting goalie has emerged yet, so getting a qualified one in 2016/17 becomes more expensive, or one of the existing guys will get paid a heck of a lot more if he manages to have decent numbers/wins.

            Defense has too many holes considering the cap they sit at. Sekera and Fayne are the only two top 4 players. Nurse, Reinhart and Klefbom are prospects that could become top 4, but too early to judge.
            Jultz either gets resigned for more money or leaves.

            To fix the problems, Chia will need to trade a $6m player and replace the non-performing players. Maybe the prospects are the answer, but Edm can’t continue to play the “this is a building year, so playoffs are out” card.

          • Parallex

            I agree, it’s going to be difficult for them to manage it. I don’t think Yakupov is going to see much of a raise (honestly $3M at the most), but there’s a lot of other guys that they’d probably like to keep. Even if they manage to keep all their former first round forwards (Hall, Eberle, RNH, McD, Yak, Draisatl), they need to fit them in with Pouliot and Sekera’s contracts. They’ll also need to resign Klefbom, Nurse, and Reinhart to contracts, as well as a number 1 goalie. McDavid will probably be making $9M by his 2nd contract, and Draisatl probably won’t come cheap either.

            Looks like they will be fairly top heavy, with a rather mediocre bottom of the lineup. It’ll be interesting to see what Chiarelli does.

  • RedMan

    If Burke’s tenure with the Flames has shown us anything it’s that Burke believes in delegation. Putting capable people in important positions and letting them do their jobs.

    I may not agree with many of Burke’s views on hockey, but I can get behind his apparent theories on management.

    • Parallex

      His tenure with all teams tends to disagree… I think we got lucky here since with the exception of Treliving the non-player staff has largely been retained from previous administrations (Hartley, Conroy, Snow, Button etc. etc.) rather then his own guys (like Nonis).

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Anyone catch the Burke interview on the fan this morning where the first praise of him Treliving he mentioned was Tre bringing in Bollig and Engelund…. Those two still feel like a Burke move to me… Kinda felt like he was giving himself a pat on the back through someone else… I’m not sure what to think about Burke sometimes.

    • RedMan

      I have no doubt about Burke’s intelligence – he is obviously a very smart and educated man.

      As a hockey manager, my position is the polar opposite. I do NOT like his hockey decisions.

      That being said, I am aware of the fact that while i respect Treliving’s management decisions and style so far, i have to give credit to Burke for having Treliving in the position. It is grudgingly that I give Burke credit, but credit is due.

      I can even overlook the Bollig/Engelland decisions, because in all honesty, nobody thought the team was ready to take the next step so soon, and bringing in placeholders to babysit a team through bad years and to bring them up to the cap floor is what it is. For instance, when Edmonton was finishing last year after year, imagine trying to attract talent without overpaying?

      Calgary looked like they were in the same boat; in fact everyone, including most of us, probably expected Calgary to take a step back last year while Edmonton took a big step forward.

      The team surprised everyone, and the team ends up having these players whose salary is not commensurate with their ability and contribution.

      That being said, they are still good people who came here when we looked bad, and gave their best over the course of the season, and I have no problems with the team dealing with them in respectful ways, but also doing what it take to move forward as a team. If the team moves these guys, i believe it will be in a respectful way – maybe trading them and retaining salary, giving them chances to continue their careers.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Burke’s Comments regarding Bollig and Engelland I need only to refer to “The Departed”

      “What Freud said about the Irish is: We’re the only people who are impervious to psychoanalysis,” declares Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) in Martin Scorsese’s film The Departed

      Don’t try to figure out the Irish…Freud figured that out several years and pounds of coacaine ago!

    • Captain Ron

      I heard Hartly on the fan the other day and he praised Treliving for bringing in players and he mentioned Bollig and Engelland.

      These two are obviously highly regarded in the dressing room and to be honest them standing alone aren’t a problem, seeing as they have short contracts. It’s when you throw Smid and Raymond in the mix, as lower on the depth chart players, who also eat too much cap that causes concern.

      But really it’s only concerning because we’re worried about re-signing players like Monahan, Guadreau, Russell and Hudler. But when you stop and consider the below market value signings that have already occurred and the fact Russell was born here it becomes less concerning, at least for me.

      Guadreau and Monahan will re-sign, no doubt and players like Smid, Engelland, Raymond, Bollig and Wideman will only have 1 yr left on their deals. it is alot easier nowadays to move an NHL calibre player with one year left on their deal. Retaining salary in a trade is just one option Treliving can utilize to free up some capspace to keep who he feels necessary.

      I wouldn’t worry about Engelland and Bollig as they won’t stop Treliving from doing what needs to be done.

      Years of Monahan, Guadreau, Bennett, Hamilton, Brodie and Gio lie ahead and I have little doubt that the right support group will be retained to solidify things.