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Brad Treliving on Juuso Valimaki, Travis Hamonic, the Flames’ top four, and more

Following a weekend that saw his club add five prospects via the draft as well as blueliner Travis Hamonic, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving held court with media on the draft floor. Here are a few key quotes from that availability.

On 16th overall selection Juuso Valimaki:

He’s a great kid. We think that we’re starting to build and add some depth to our defense prospect pool. He’s a big guy that can move a puck, creates offense, high hockey intelligence and really competitive, so we think there’s some great traits. There’s a high ceiling with this kid. We’re excited to have him and glad he came our way yesterday.

On the high cost of acquiring Travis Hamonic from the Islanders:

They’re hard deals to make, he’s a good player, we’ve had interest for awhile. The reality is you pay a price for good players. It’s always difficult paying those prices, but you have to give to get. The way we look at it is two things: you evaluate the price obviously, but you overlay it on what you think that impact on your team’s gonna be. When you look at Travis Hamonic and adding him to Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton and T.J. Brodie and some of the young people we have coming, we think now that top four really solidifies.

On the draft picks he’s traded over the past several months:

We don’t look at these as any types of rentals. Curtis Lazar’s a young player. If he’s on the board at mid-40s, late-40s today, I take a crack at Curtis Lazar. We look at that. We look at Travis Hamonic as a guy who’s just 26, gonna be 27-year-old player. There’s lots of hockey in front of him, he’s under contract for three years, a good contract. He fits with our group, the impact he can have on our team. And the work that our group has done, if you look at position by position, we feel we’ve accumulated depth. Again, you never want to give up picks but you have to give to get, and I firmly believe how you build here is you build right through the center of the ice.

Top four D, obviously goaltending we feel we’ve solidifed that position, we’ve got young kids coming there. You look at our top four defense and then your reserve list, we think that top four defense can match up. You look down the center of our ice: Monahan, Backlund, Bennett, Stajan, Lazar, there’s depth there. You got Jankowski coming. We feel we’ve got some players on the wings in Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Frolik, Ferland. We pushed our players to raise the bar and push it this summer and felt we had to do our part, too.

On the potential for a contract extension for Mikael Backlund:

We like Backs a lot. I spoke with his people and said we have some work to do before that. We’ll get through that and get through sort of the first part of free agency and then go from there. We certainly plan on having a conversation this summer and seeing where it goes from there.

On whether the number of goaltenders they have under pro contracts ties their hands in terms of the backup goaltender position (or forces them to put a young goalie in that spot due to the numbers game):

You don’t put anybody in the NHL just to say, “Okay, we’ve got too many in the minors so let’s put one in the NHL.” The second goaltender situation is something we’re going to address, whether that’s internally or externally. We like what we’ve got coming, but again, I know we want to get them there as quick as we can, let’s make sure they’re touching the steps you need to touch. But I think we’ve got really good depth there. If they’re ready, that’s something to look at. If it’s determined that having more time is the best path, we’ll look at that, too.

  • Tombstone

    With some of these trades it looks like CGY is chasing the Oilers. Oilers could’ve traded for Hamonic when they trade Ebs for Strome but didn’t. 30 other teams could’ve made the same trade but also didn’t. Before that CGY traded for Mike Smith because he had the most success against the Oilers. CGY is after Spencer Foo, why? Because the Oilers are.

    • Tombstone

      Even prior to that, Oilers where in on Dougie Hamilton before the Flames, Flames where trying to trade for Talbot but EDM got him. Flames wanted to re-sign Russell last year but he chose EDM. Veersteg tryout with the Oilers but wasn’t good enough so he signed with the Flames.

        • Stu Cazz

          Right on Ari! This guy is the old Train77 dude so take his comments at face value. Teams not looking at what divisional rivals are doing will fail. Flames did were not granted a shot at McDavid because they didn’t have a dismal record for 10 years. I applaud Treliving & his management team for doing it right, without any generational handouts!

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Along with the Leafs, the Flames are Canada’ s most popular, dynamic young team. Think about it. The Canadiens are a bit long in the tooth to be called young and dynamic. The Sens can’t even get enough love in their hometown. Great young talent on the Jets but it isn’t working on the ice. Vancouver is trying to find a dignified and respectful way to cut ties with the twins just so the club can reach ground zero. As for the Oilers, they are just weird.

      • jakethesnail

        Wow…oiler revisionist view of hockey history. Oil lost out on all the players that the Flames picked up. Don’t be surprised if the Oil lose out on Foo too!

    • Puckhead

      As I said before, Calgary is chasing all the teams ahead of the Oilers. The Flames organization does not set their sites on failure.

      I guess it sucks for you because its status quo for the Oilers. Suck it up and move on.

      Go 🔥 Go!!!

    • smatic10

      I aways wonder where trolls find the energy to post mindless garbage on the internet. Lucky for you, I’m in the mood to waste my time. So here it goes:
      Oilers could have traded for Hamonic but they couldn’t take that much salary back otherwise they wouldn’t be able to afford Russell (who was signed for too much money and for far too long). Actually it would be 29 other teams that could have potentially made a trade like that, not 30 because you have to subtract Calgary and NY in order for your math to make sense. Even if the 29 other teams had similar offers on the table, maybe Treliving is just a better negotiator than most? Certainly better than Chiarelli. Remember when Calgary got Hamilton instead of Edmonton? Remember when Chiarelli panicked and acquired Reinhart (at the expense of Barzal and an additional second) and then lost him to Vegas for nothing. How about getting an extremely underwhelming return for Taylor Hall. Sure, I can’t talk too much trash because the Oilers had a good season…but if you take McDavid out of that lineup, I question if the Oilers would have even made the playoffs. You guys are lucky you drafted a generational talent after an embarrassing amount of years drafting high in the draft. Let’s see how that Russell deal looks when McDavid/Drai are locked up for monster deals and you wont be able to afford additional help.
      We traded for Smith because we needed a number one goalie, not because of his Edmonton record. That doesn’t guarantee anything. We needed a goalie that can hold down the fort till Gillies/Rittich/Parson’s is ready.
      Calgary is after Foo because management should always be in conversations with players that can make their team better. Foo already went to the Flames development camp in 2016.

  • TurkeyLips

    The Hamonic trade.

    Steep price. But that extra 2nd round pick was for his sweet, sweet contract – under $4 million AAV until 2020 people. This trade was as much about reinvigorating T.J. Brodie as anything. Everyone talks about how Bennet was saddled with anchors but Brodie’s been the most unfortunate victim on this club. In being robbed of his most productive, synergetic partner so said captain could show Hamilton the ropes, Brodie’s potential vanished. The difficult reality was that in acquiring Hamilton, we never translated the additional depth at defense into second pairing success. It’s taught how complimentary pairings are so bloody important for the blueline, 3 good d-men does not make for 2 solid D-lines and that reality exposed us in the worst way last season.

    By being put in such a compromised pairing with either Engelland or Wideman, Brodie was noticably frustrated and played as such over wide stretches. We all know the guys potential, and hopefully Hamonic settles him down and rejuvinates Brodie who’s still in his best years.

    • TurkeyLips

      Defense are massivley undervalued, to the point where even now I admit Hall for Larsson was a fair, one-for-one deal realtive to the impact each player has on winning for the their respective teams.

      Top pairing guys are nigh-impossible to trade for. You need equivalent going back becaues no team guts top pairings willingly, queue Nashville / Montreal trade. So that’s not going to happen when we need strictly addition.

      #2 guys are extremely expensive, costing first overall picks for some teams to acquire. Not cheap, nor the right way to go about things. Top pairing guys need to be developed internally, prohibitve acquisition costs necessitate this.

      #3/#4 guys have proven time and time again to have huge leverage in trades. Nobody expected Russell to sign for such bags of money, but did Edmonton really have a choice when the competing GM down south always closes the deal faster? Probably not.

      At face value this Hamonic trade seems atrociously expensive, but by completely addressing our second pairing this trade really finalizes our Hamilton acquisition and the great unbalance it caused. I see us getting a 26 year-old Engelland, sorely needed come playoffs, and really you couldn’t ask for anything more from your second pairing than two young, $8 million combined AAV, NHL-proven D with huge upside. That’s what we have now., and just like that the two biggest Flames shortcomings have been addressed with swift justice. Lets see how those season openers against the Oil go.

      If the fossil fuels do get re-crushed, Tre’s the real team MVP

  • buts

    A first and 2 seconds is too high a price for a stay at home d-man. Stay at home d-men are not hard to find. I hope I’m wrong but I believe Stone is just a small notch below Hamonic. Vegas has to dump some D in the near future too but as far as Ham goes I think because the leafs and coil wanted him BT got suckered. One has to believe that either Ras, Kyling or Kulak will be a top 4 soon. I like the 5 draft picks today and wish them all the best. Lastly I hope flames management realizes that the development in the AHL with Huska is questionable and that maybe a change should be coming. There’s too many regressions of too much talent happening in Stockton.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Define soon as in one of the of the AHL defencemen will a “top 4 soon?” Even if one does, I doubt it will be this season or next season. A minimum of two full seasons in the show before the guy can even audition for the top 4, or if one is a prodigy, then Hamonic drops to third pairing for the last year or two of his contract. The club can absorb Hammy’s contract as a 5th if the prodigy is making entry level dough.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    With the veteran Smith in net, the Flames could go young in net–Rittich.

    Do I want defence spots 5, 6 and 7 filled with Kulak, Wortherspoon and another rookie? No, but two out of three ain’t bad.

    Tre needs to find a way to move at least one member of the White Elephant line. I’d keep Stajan. Brouwer is immoveable. Bouma is possible. Cut a deal with Arizona or Vegas as long as it doesn’t involve another draft pick.

    Ideally, Tre can snag a top 6 right winger who is in the last year or two of a contract but on a club that is going no where in the next season or so. Whose available on the Islanders, Coyotes, Knights, Canucks, Avalanche, Devils, Sabres or Flyers?

  • Mahaloeh

    Hamonic is a nice pick up but the one thing that would concern me is he hasn’t played a full season in his career. Very much a Larsson type player comparison in my opinion.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      No, he hasn’t played a full season but Hamonic’s pain threshold is through the roof. An owwie that would sideline the vast majority of NHLers means Hammy plays 12 to 15 minutes a night.

  • Garry T

    Inasmuch as I hate giving away 1 and 2 rounders, and I hope this is the last of that, I think we have started the catchup process in terms of the Oilers.
    They have done a good job in YEG since Chirelli arrived.

    Somehow, either by trade or off the farm we need to obtain 2 RW before the season starts. And know that Brouwer understands the fans are upset and that they will not tolerate empathetic performances. As such we should see a much stronger and more consistent effort from him.

    Unfortunately to get a Neidereiter we have to give up a goaltending prospect and a good farmhand plus a Ferland or similar player. Otherwise we need to see what we can do about Hayes from th Rangers and use Ferland with Bennet and Jankowski so that Hayes compliments Monny and Johnny.

    Things are looking better. Good job.

  • Garry T

    On the draft. I think we are doing like last year …. Adding to our depth.
    When drafting without 2s and 3s it is pretty tough to compliment the farm grouping. But I think amateur scouting is trying very hard with limited resources. Time to start collecting and protecting picks from here on in Brad. If I am Treiliving, I am watching the waiver wire to further compliment Stockton. The Avalanche did a wonderful job in that regard last season.
    Go Flames and bring up some kids this year ….. Please!

  • freethe flames

    With just shy of $18m left before the cap and very few assets left to trade it looks like BT will likely go the FA route to fill the remaining gaps. If we presume that Ferland/Bennetts/Lazar cost @$6m that leaves @$12m left to find a back up goalie, maybe a #5 defender and then decide what to do up front. Reading this it does not sound like he thinks Rittich or Gilles is ready to be the back up.
    Maybe Condon? What about on D does it sound like he is willing to go with 2 rookies? I doubt it. Take a look at the UFA’s on D who is a legit 5? Then what about upfront? Whose out there? Are Chaisson and Versteeg the best options? is there someone else who might be a better fit?

    Adding Hamonic makes us a better team but unless something happens upfront we still will struggles. The $10m cannot start the season. Lazar needs to have a bounce back year. Bennett needs to take the step forward we are all waiting for. Tkachuk can’t regress. Should be fun to see what BT does ove rthe next week.

    • Puckhead

      Capfriendly shows $15.7M of cap left.

      In his interview about Hamonic it sounded to me that he may be thinking about supplementing the top 4 D with young guys.

      I like Versteeg but it sure would be nice to open up a few spots for forward prospects (appears that Janko is the front runner for the 1st spot). Both Klimchuk and Shinkaruk are deserving based on how they performed last season).

    • Kevin R

      I can see Johnson resigning for another year, not right away, but then we aren’t in any rush to sign a backup. Kulak has shown enough to easily be that #5 & Tspoon, Anderson & Kylington will have to beat out Bartkowski for that #6 & 7 spot. If they can’t….well then they need more time in the AHL.
      Cap wise, I don’t see us needing too much cap space to fill the 5,6 & 7 spots. The backup should be relatively cheap as well. Bennett & Ferland will be the expensive RFA’s & both are probably getting 2 year deals. Bennett Brouwer & Stajan would be 9 signed forwards. We have room for a reasonable deal with Chaisson & Versteeg, leaving room for Jamko & Lazar in our 13 forwards. My bet is we go into next season with some healthy cap space unless a real sweet deal comes around.

      • flames2015

        I would like to see Johnson back. He would likely cost what he did last season which isn’t much plus he’s already familar with the team and system. Should Smith struggle at the gates, like Elliot did. We at least have confidence in Johnson covering.

        I liked Chiasson, but I would rather just bring back Versteeg. Chiasson will want a raise/term and I would rather us bring up some farm players than have him tie up a roster spot. F. Hamilton/Hathaway. And its time to see what we have in Lazar for more than just a 13th player.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    If Flames sign Radulov for at most 4 years x 7 Million plus retain their RFAs, this will be a great off-season. And find a way to either off-load one of the 4th liners or have them play to their actual talent level, then that would be a huge bonus.

    • Puckhead

      Adding Radulov would be a very cruel thing to do to the rest of the division. I’m not one for big moves but this is one I like. It would suck for the forward prospects in the short term but man would that be fun to watch.

    • Sobueno

      Oh man, I’d 100% be down for that. Even if he was slowing down in the last year or so, still would be pretty sweet over the next couple years. I was wondering whether the timing of this trade (and the reasonable cap hit the addition brings) was partly to attract free agents. No one wants to join a losing club, it’s a hell of a lot more attractive to be a team that made the playoffs and then made some more positive moves in the off season.