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.