Reserve list changes under Brad Treliving

As happens sometimes, a comment from Brad Treliving’s media availability made me think over the weekend. When talking about goaltending, Treliving had this gem of a comment on Friday:

Building a team isn’t just the 23 you see here, it’s
building your reserve list. Eighteen months ago when I came in here, I
believe that you built your teams on the blueline and in goal and from
there and up center ice, so when you look at where our defense reserve
list was 18 months ago to where it is today, where our goaltender
reserve list was 18 months ago from today, we drafted and will continue
to draft a bunch of centers every year, that’s the strength of where
teams are built. So it’s not by accident we’ve added some bodies, now
it’s up to those guys to continue to develop and strengthen. But I think
we’ve got some guys that have a real chance.

That begs the question somewhat: how has the Flames’ reserve list – the players under contract and their unsigned draft picks – been altered since Treliving arrived in late April 2015?

(For clarification’s sake: the focus here is on “net” migration in and out of the Flames system. Jonas Hiller was brought in and then left, canceling him out, and others in similar situations are also not listed.)

GOALIES

IN OUT
Brian Elliott Joey MacDonald
Chad Johnson Joni Ortio
Mason McDonald Karri Ramo
Tyler Parsons Olivier Roy
David Rittich
Nick Schneider

When Treliving arrived, goaltending was in a rough, rough state. As you can see, he’s brought in a lot of goalies from different areas. Jon Gillies has been retained, but otherwise Treliving has moved six bodies in and four bodies out (excluding Jonas Hiller and Niklas Backstrom, who went both ways).

Interesting quirk: Treliving brought in one goalie each from the the Czech Extraliga (Rittich), Q (McDonald), OHL (Parsons) and WHL (Schneider), yet has zero Finnish goalies.

DEFENSEMEN

IN OUT
Rasmus Andersson Chris Breen
Riley Bruce Chris Butler
Deryk Engelland Mark Cundari
Stepan Falkovsky James Martin
Adam Fox Shane O’Brien
Dougie Hamilton John Ramage
Brandon Hickey Eric Roy
Jyrki Jokipakka Kris Russell
Kenney Morrison Patrick Sieloff
Adam Ollas-Mattsson Derek Smith

Here’s a simple metric for you: right shots brought in include Andersson, Bruce, Engelland, Falkovsky, Fox, Hamilton and Morrison. Right shots that left include Ramage (and nobody else). Probably given how huge special teams are – and the importance of having right-shot power-play options – Treliving’s made getting righties a focus since he’s arrived.

In terms of NHL players, I think the common feeling is Hamilton is an upgrade on Russell and Engelland is an upgrade on Butler, so there’s that. The remainder of the changes have been fringe guys replaced by younger guys that haven’t been proven to be NHLers or fringe guys yet.

FORWARDS

IN OUT
Sam Bennett Kenny Agostino
Brandon Bollig Bill Arnold
Troy Brouwer Sven Baertschi
Austin Carroll Paul Byron
Alex Chiasson Mike Cammalleri
Dillon Dube Joe Colborne
Michael Frolik David Eddy
Freddie Hamilton Turner Elson
Garnet Hathaway T.J. Galiardi
Pavel Karnaukhov Curtis Glencross
Linus Lindstrom Coda Gordon
Andrew Mangiapane Markus Granlund
Mitchell Mattson Ben Hanowski
Matthew Phillips Blair Jones
Brett Pollock David Jones
Daniel Pribyl Josh Jooris
Hunter Shinkaruk Corban Knight
Hunter Smith Brian McGrattan
Matthew Tkachuk Max Reinhart
Eetu Tuulola Ben Street
Bryce van Brabant
Kevin Westgarth

The Flames have shipped out seven centers and brought in nine of them during Treliving’s tenure. You can make an argument that they’ve been trending younger and/or more skilled, with names like Bennett, Dube, Pollock, Phillips and Shinkaruk replacing Arnold, Granlund, Reinhart and Street. (Another general trend: good AHLers being supplanted with potential NHLers.)

Another trend: as with blueliners, we’ve seen a lot of right-shots brought in – though it’s been more of a general churn rather than a lefties-replaced-by-righties trend. Eight righties have departed, replaced with nine new righties. Unlike with the center refresh, there isn’t a large-scale trend; the right shots that have left have generally been replaced by players of similar quality.

SUM IT UP

Overall, Treliving has added as many players to the reserve list as he’s removed from it since he arrived. The general trend has been towards more right-handed shots and forwards with NHL potential (rather than AHL potential).

In terms of (fairly) established NHLers, they added Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson, Deryk Engelland, Dougie Hamilton, Jyrki Jokipakka, Sam Bennett, Troy Brouwer, Alex Chiasson, Brandon Bollig and Michael Frolik at the expense of Joey MacDonald, Karri Ramo, Chris Butler, Kris Russell, Paul Byron, Mike Cammalleri, Joe Colborne, David Jones, Josh Jooris and Kevin Westgarth. (The difference in the two groups has been made up by home-grown prospects filling organizational spots.) (Also, Jooris isn’t necessarily gone just yet.)

Has Treliving definitively upgraded the Flames’ reserve list? Or is it more a series of subtle tweaks? Sound off in the comments.

  • StarIV

    Good article. I see a definite improvement in the quality of the prospects. I’m not surprised to see older prospects leave when they don’t make the NHL, as room has to be made for the newer prospects. I’d be curious to find out the difference between the prospects in the AHL and average age from now and two years ago. I feel like the number of AHL prospects is increasing and their age is decreasing, but I can’t say that for sure.

    • freethe flames

      In Bollig’s case it’s not his salary that is the issue it’s that he not a replacement level player at this point. (BT acquired him but likely a BB decision) His presence seems to prevent prospects from playing. If nothing else he will be gone at the end of the season. He probably should play in the AHL mentoring Carroll and Hunter Smith.

      Wideman fell off significantly last year but had he not been injured and suspended his numbers may have met his norm. The truth is unless you get from him seasons like he produced 2 seasons ago he has always been overpriced.(This what happens during FA, I’m worried that in 2 years we may be discussing Brouwer in the same light) I still think he will be moved at some point but the flames will either have to eat a bad contract coming back or salary. Personally I don’t see how we can be successful playing both him and Engs.

      Another guy whose production has dropped over the last 2 years has been Stajan.(BB signing I believe) Two more years of over $3m and getting in the way of prospects. Generally I like Stajan and think he has had a rough go for a number of years from coaches and fans but last year I really noticed a drop of in his play. The only time I thought he played okay was the first 2 weeks of the season and the last couple of weeks when he played with Backs.

      There are some good names on the in box but there are a lot of unknowns and that’s why we call them prospects.

  • al rain

    As for that list of (fairly) established NHLers that have come and go, I’d say there are 6 or 7 new players that I’m happy/excited about. As for the guys that they replaced, I’d say there are none (Jooris excepted) that I will miss in the slightest.

    So yeah, upgrading.

  • Fat Tony

    God I remember the days when Joey McDonald was our best option in net and everyone counted on Mike Cammalleri to score goals.

    Love the turn around this organization took when BT was brought in, he knew what needed to be done.

    FT

      • Fat Tony

        That it was.. I still remember him playing with a Red wings themed helmet. Brutal.

        And I never meant it to sound like he was the “guy”, he just ended up being the guy because of injuries to others

        • Baalzamon

          Ah you’re speaking of the time when Kipper got hurt and the Flames didn’t want to run with Irving. Gotcha.

          … Come to think of it he may have been the best option at that time. Frightening.

  • Parallex

    I think I would actually call it tweaks with the forwards. I see a genuine effort towards greater depth in goal (understandable given that Kipper basically ruled the net position for so long that developmental attention towards netminders had atrophied) and more RH shots at D… but the forwards strike me as just the usual roster grind of age.

    I do kind of wish they had kept Agostino and Arnold around longer as I still think they have some NHL upside (Agostino particularly).

  • CalgaryCandle

    I get that Tre is rebuilding the prospects. What I don’t get is the recent AHL purge.

    Previously he had placed a large premium on not giving away prospects. Yet he shipped out Arnold, Shore and Agostino with no return. Agostino was picked up immediately by S.L. Why didn’t he try to get draft picks before the draft?

    Perhaps not resigning Colbourne was contingent on getting Brouwer in FA. But again why not sign and trade. There was a lot of interest around the league and he landed first day in Colo.

    I respect Tre’s decision making too much to think he was sloppy.

    Any theories to explain his actions???

    • Greg

      On Colbourne, I don’t think the interest matched his own expectations. If he was asking for the reported $3.6M, then he wasn’t going to sign here for less without testing the market (or arbitration) first. And if Colorado was the highest bidder at $2.5M, then signing him for more than that would have made it impossible to do the trade part of the sign-and-trade transaction. Maybe he’s hit his prime and will keep scoring like he did last year, but more likely he’ll trend back down and look like an overpay. Although I’d still take him at $2.5M for 2 over Brouwer at $4.5 for 4 🙁

      The rest of the AHLers he let go? Must have been a numbers game and they decided it was better giving those spots to the new guys coming in (Janko, Mangiapane, etc). I’m disappointed with a few of them (particularly the ones that already signed elsewhere (still think agostino will be a decent bottom 6 at least), but it’s not like stockton was a powerhouse last year either.

      • Bananaberg

        Colborne had interest from two other teams (non-Calgary):

        Winnipeg: $3.1/yr x 3 years
        Colorado: $2.5/yr x 2 years

        Went with COL because of a Sakic guarantee that he’d get Top 6 minutes. WPG obviously has a pretty deep Top 6 as is. He’s likely to see lots of action with the likes of Mackinnon, Duchene, Landeskog, etc.

        Should give him a great chance to get 20+ goals in the next few years. That said, he wanted to stay in CGY. I still don’t understand why Treliving didn’t at a minimum do a sign/trade with him. Clearly WPG or COL would’ve given up mid-late round picks to acquire the asset…

        • supra steve

          “Clearly WPG or COL would’ve given up mid-late round picks to acquire the asset…”

          How is that clear? Making a trade requires a second party, you can’t just “make a trade” without a partner. If assets were available for Colbourn, I’m sure BT would have taken them. Because none were acquired, it would seem clear to me that none were offered/available.

          • Kevin R

            Clearly there is more of an attraction for a player when no assets have to be given up to acquire the asset. People need to get over the Colborne issue. Same as Jooris, Im sure BT is gambling he can get Jooris signed to a two way deal. We may need the flexibility until Smid goes on LTIR.

            Vey seems like an upgrade over some of the RFA’s we allowed to walk. totally on side with changing the guard in Stockton. Didn’t make the playoffs so why would he bring back all these guys?

          • Baalzamon

            Jooris is waiver eligible and plainly good enough to play in the NHL, so signing him to a two-way deal wouldn’t serve any purpose. If it’s a matter of a “paper transaction,” as people suddenly like to talk about lately for some reason, that works with a one-way just as well as a waiver-eligible two-way.

            Vey was signed to a two-way deal because I think the Flames fully intend for him to play in the AHL next year. Jooris will sign a one-way. His last contract was a one-way, I don’t see why it would suddenly be a two-way. I imagine that the sticking point in the negotiations is term.

          • Baalzamon

            Not the point. If the Flames thought he was worth a one-way last year, why wouldn’t they think he’s worth a one-way this year? He wasn’t tendered a qualifying offer because the Flames didn’t want to give him a raise (qualifying offers have built-in raises based on the salary of the previous year).

            He can sign a two way deal which allows his movement between both leagues.

            One way contracts can be sent to the minors too. The only difference between a one-way and a two-way is that the two-way has a different AHL salary. Either way, Jooris is subject to waivers, and the Flames never sent him to the minors last year. A two-way contract would serve no purpose.

            Bottom line, though, is why would Jooris want to sign a two-way deal? If he doesn’t get the one-way from Calgary, he’ll get it from someone else.

          • supra steve

            “If he doesn’t get the one-way from Calgary, he’ll get it from someone else.”

            I agree that this is what would have happened in previous years, not so sure that is the case this year.

            Vey took a 2-way, and no one else has plucked Jooris from the free agency pool yet.

            All goes back to my theory that the players are going to need to make some big changes with the next collective agreement. They are going to want to put a cap on the percentage of the cap that any single player can take home and boost league minimum wage…so there’s more than table scraps left when it comes time to pay players like Vey and Jooris. Players like this are clearly not as valuable as stars like Toews and Kane, but in a players association vote, they have just as much power, and they will outnumber the greedy SOBs that are taking home $10million per year.

    • The Fall

      re: the RFA purge.

      All the players listed had basically shown their ceiling as replacement level NHL’er at best, and more likely career AHL’er (if that). Those players are available at any moment, usually for league minimum salary (see Mason Raymond). Continuing to use resources and contracts on players that are only taking ice time from your high ceiling prospects is a disservice. I’m thinking of the two Colts here, likely turning pro; the ice time and PP time are needed to develop their skills as top line / top pair guys.

      The main theory being: you draft and groom for top 6 forwards and top pair D. You pick up the fillers when needed for cheap.

      JoCo was kinda unfortunate but he was shooting near 20%. Not worth going to arbitration. Let him sink another teams’ top 6.

    • jakethesnail

      Tre had to clear out space on Stockton to make room for new prospects coming of age. Agostino and Arnold were likely viewed as career AHL players’ Shore had his chances but clearly did not impress the coaching staff (or me).

      No sense in keeping career AHL players or players whose upside is a fourth liner.

    • piscera.infada

      In the case of Colborne, he purposely wasn’t qualified so he wouldn’t have arbitration rights–that would have likely been a ludicrous arbitration settlement based on what were likely unrepeatable percentages. Once he didn’t have arbitration rights, he was likely done with the organisation at the cap-hit he eventually signed at, because the act of not being qualified significantly under-cut his earning potential. You couldn’t have traded his rights prior to that, simply because no one was going to trade for that (or any) arbitration case; and after, why would a team trade for him when they can just sign him on July 1?

      Now, I’m sure Treliving may have been able to get some “future considerations” or something for Agostino, Arnold, or the like, but do we really know he didn’t try?

      I, for the record, think that not resigning Agostino (as well as Jooris, assuming he isn’t) was a mistake. That said, I do think some get a little bit too carried away with the whole “must receive assets for all assets being lost” thinking. Quite simply put, I’m not sure the stock of some of these fringe NHL prospects is enough to warrant any value coming back–and that (unfortunately) includes the one’s I liked. This is the reality of prospects: many seem really nice in theory, but until any of that perceived value is realised in a meaningful way, they’re still just hope and potential.

  • freethe flames

    I wonder where Wideman fits in relationship to the remaining uFA RHD.

    Wideman: 51 games 2 goals 17 assists 19 points.

    Wisniewski: 1 game O points(I can’t recall what his injury was)

    Schultz: 63 games 4 goals 14 assists 18 points

    L Schenn: 72 games 4 goals 12 assists 16 points

    Zidlisk: 53 games 4 goals 12 assists 16 points.

    There are of course many others to compare him with and this is a short list. Also I know there are ll the other stats as well to discuss. But if a team is looking for a 5/6 RHD who can play on the PP is he not as good of option as these other guys especially if the Flames eat some of his salary?

  • Hat

    The numbers game on Jooris, Arnold, and Agostino is simple to me. All had but BT did not value them at the price of their qualifying offers. Particularly with Monahan and Gaudreau to resign, every $100,000 you save on a contract matters. They are less valuable assets if their NHL cap hit exceeds 1 million without even being NHL ready. And I suspect the AHL salaries they would be qualified at would be quite pricey for the value of their services as well.

    Is this small peanuts in terms of overall costs? Certainly. But those small savings add up a tonne, particularly with the Canadian dollar so low.

  • Letting Agostino go was absolutely a mistake based on the info we have. Derek Grant is understandable… he was actually given a decent chance to prove himself in the NHL and he put up 1 assist in 15 games.

    But Agostino, who is also 2 years younger than Grant, just came off of 2 solid years in the AHL where he was almost a PPG in the 2nd one. He played in a measly 2 NHL games this season as opposed to Grant’s 15.

    To me it makes no sense, but I guess there must have been something else going on behind the scenes that I’m unaware of.

    • Connor McDaigle

      A team that Agostino is a big part of, is not a very good team. Making a shrine in your basement for minor leaguers just sets you up for disappointment. (why Byron, why?!?) Besides, it’s one less reminder of the worst asset management/trade in team history.

  • freethe flames

    My problem with letting the AHL goes is who mentors the kids in the AHL, who provides time for them to develop instead of rushing them if there is an injury in the NHL. Having veteran AHL scorers makes the organization better. Now in saying that we d not know if BT and the players had conversations about their futures and when it was clear they were going to be given little chance they agreed to move on and try there luck elsewhere.

  • jakethesnail

    Yeah, those greedy B’s voted to cap salary for first year players, leaving more for themselves.

    So what is happening now is that non-superstar veterans are shown the door and replaced by cheaper players so the teams can stay below the salary cap.