The Young Stars Classic tournament is good fun. Not only is it a great chance to see prospects in action, but TSN’s legendary broadcaster Bob McKenzie does his annual lengthy chats with Canadian general managers. His chat with Brad Treliving is 51 minutes long and hits a lot of marks that you’d expect it to, with Treliving holding his cards close to his chest.
But here are a handful of things that McKenzie got out of Treliving that were a bit illuminating.
Treliving sought out an established, experienced number one goalie.
“We felt we needed somebody that had been there as a number one guy. Mike has done that.”
Treliving gave much of his “usual” answer about how athletic and motivated Mike Smith is and the low odometer on him given his age, but this was about as blunt as the Flames’ general manager has been about what he was looking for in the goaltender market.
Glen Gulutzan and Jordan Sigalet contributed to the decision to acquire Eddie Lack.
“Our goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet spent, this was a project for him for the last number of months is just looking at every available goaltender out there, watching clips of their last couple of years. He felt with some tweaks we could get Eddie back to the Eddie that was in Vancouver.”
Given that Gulutzan had Lack in Vancouver, him providing intel is logical. But the Flames utilizing both (a) their extensive video library and (b) their goalie coach to target potential backups was a pretty interesting detail.
The Travis Hamonic trade was as much about loading up the blueline as it was about properly slotting the kids into the NHL roster.
“We needed to solidify our top four. We feel we’ve got some young kids coming. It’s unrealistic at this time to place them or put them in a role where they’re going to be relied on in a top four role.”
The trade gives them the ability to transition the kids and shelter them on the bottom pairing, rather than having to play them over their heads out of necessity. (McKenzie paired together Stone and Bartkowski when asking a question about Stone, but Treliving cautioned that there are kids pushing for the six and seven spots.)
Matthew Tkachuk worked on his strength and his quickness over the summer.
Remember the three or four partial breakaways that Tkachuk got caught by defenders on during the season? Apparently Tkachuk does, because he trained with Gary Roberts over the summer. He apparently weighs about the same, but the distribution of the weight is likely different now.
Mark Jankowski is on the cusp of being an NHLer.
“He’s, to me, checked all the boxes. He should be pushing now for a job. … He’s doing all the things guys do when they make the step to the NHL.”
Treliving said he hates singling guys out, but Jankowski is the guy he’s most interested to see in main camp.
The Flames are likely holding onto their cap space as an insurance policy.
Right after discussing holding a couple roster spots open for kids on purpose, Treliving mentioned that sometimes you’re waiting on a young player and they’re not ready yet. The cap space they have allows them some flexibility to add at the trade deadline, or even early in the season if a player they’re hoping to take a step in camp doesn’t do it.