In anticipation of the annual National Hockey League trade deadline on Monday, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving held court with local media at the Scotiabank Saddledome prior to Saturday’s game with the Ottawa Senators.
Here’s the broad strokes of what Treliving had to say.
(Questions and answers paraphrased and edited for clarity.)
-Treliving opened by apologizing for not being around recently, noting he had “business out of town.”
-Complementary towards Hudler, confirmed the details as Hudler for a 2016 second and 2018 fourth, thanked Hudler for his service.
–What about Hudler didn’t fit in with their plans? He noted it wasn’t necessarily about fit, as he’s a good player, but noted that in a cap system they had to make decisions. “There’s only X amount in the pie, and it’s got to feed everyone, so you have to make decisions.” Noted second round pick was important to get.
–Was there a point where they were open to an extension? He noted they were always open to the possibility, but as time went on the realities of the contract situation they had and the uncertainty of the cap number played into it. “As time wore on, we felt we had to go this route.”
-Was there a preference between getting a pick back or a prospect back? They went into the market and looked for the best deal they could make. The second round pick has great currency in the market. “We’re very much open to prospects.” Noted there is an incubation period for a pick – going back to school/junior and then the AHL – but at the end of the day they see what’s available and make a decision. “This was the best deal that was out there for us.”
–Was Florida a team they were going back-and-forth with or did they enter into things lately? “It’s a conversation that’s been going on for some time. We stayed in touch. He expressed an interest.” Talks gained momentum today, but they’d been talking for awhile.
–How would he assess the market? Is it what he expected? Treliving noted it was a tight market, thinks it’s because of “the financial reality of our league.” Notes young players might play on your team at a low (cap) number, which allows GMs to do other things. “I know everybody when you make a pick says ‘let’s get 10 firsts and 3 seconds and 5 thirds,’ that’s not reality. This isn’t fantasy island here, it’s reality and it’s a tight market.”
–How does he project the next two days? Not going to handicap it, but says they’re going to make lots of calls and see if they can help themselves. Joked he wouldn’t have to try to connect Wifi on planes going back and forth from the east coast.
–Can he speak to Kris Russell’s situation (and the report that he was told he’d be traded)? Treliving said he wouldn’t read a lot into that report. Spoke very highly about Russell. “You win hockey games with guys like Kris Russell. We’ll see. It’s also a business, so we’ll see what happens. I’m not going to comment on interest levels and those types of things, only to say he’s a good hockey player and good hockey players always generate lots of interest.”
–Based on prices for other players on other teams, there may be a perception of what Flames players could garner. “Are we looking at your talent with rose-coloured glasses or is it important to be very diligent at what people are offering you?” “At the end of the day, the price is what somebody’s willing to pay. It’s like selling your house; you probably want a whole lot for it, right? It’s probably worth what somebody is willing to pay.” Says you have to know what the interest level is in the market, but not all players are valued the same. Notes it’s a difficult time of year, doesn’t want to talk about players as asset. “If we make deals, we make them number one because we think it’s important and doing the best thing for the organization, you try to maximize the best return you can, but you try to do it in a very dignified way.”
–Are they anticipating call-ups, pending other moves? He’d anticipate somebody will join them for the road trip, regardless of other moves.
–What did you see as the impact Hudler had on Gaudreau and Monahan? Treliving spoke highly of Hudler’s skill and competitiveness, discussed how easy-going he was and how much he helped the team’s youngsters. Noted on the plane ride home after Game 2 of last year’s series with Vancouver, Treliving said he was going to talk to Gaudreau and Monahan on the plan, but Hudler waved him off with “I got this.”
–How challenging have the last few days been with the business of the Wideman hearing at this time of year? “Challenging’s a word. I’ve got others. We’ll go with challenging.” He doesn’t expect to hear anything relatively soon.
-A question was asked about whether players traded after the deadline could play. (Nobody joining a team after the deadline is eligible to play in the playoffs, an issue that came up last season when Douglas Murray was trying out with the Flames post-deadline.) Treliving wasn’t sure about whether players moved between non-playoffs teams after the deadline would be able to play.
–What’s Derek Grant’s status? He’s progressing, he’s being examined early this week to see how things look. The initial injury had a 6-to-8 week timeline.
–“Brad, do you feel like you’re done?” “With you guys?” He doesn’t want to make predictions, but he’s going to see if they can help themselves.