The National Hockey League’s trade deadline is rapidly approaching, as Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. MT is the final opportunity for the league’s 31 clubs to tinker prior to the playoffs.
The Calgary Flames are still very much in the playoff mix and will probably be active before the trade deadline. But looking back at general manager Brad Treliving’s history as the Flames’ top tinkerer provides some suggestions as to when the club will start to make their moves.
The Flames were well on their way to eking into the Stanley Cup playoffs as the 2015 trade deadline approached. Interestingly enough, though, Treliving was content to sell some expiring assets – it’s almost as if he knew the team was propped up by high shooting percentages.
Treliving made a pair of moves prior to the March 2, 2015 deadline. He sent Curtis Glencross to Washington on March 1 for a second round and third round draft selection. On deadline day itself, he sent Sven Baertschi to Vancouver for a second round pick.
The Flames were well on their way to not making the playoffs in 2016, and Treliving made a series of moves with that in mind. He made a “hockey trade” a week before the deadline, swapping Markus Granlund to Vancouver for Hunter Shinkaruk. Two days before the Feb. 29 deadline, he sent Jiri Hudler to Florida for a second round and fourth round draft pick.
He made two moves on deadline day itself: Kris Russell was sent to Dallas for Brett Pollock, Jyrki Jokipakka and a conditional second round pick, while David Jones was sent to Minnesota for Niklas Backstrom and a sixth round pick.
In 2017, Treliving made a pair of deadline moves. One was well ahead of the deadline, one was on deadline day itself.
On Feb. 20, well ahead of the March 1 deadline, the Flames acquired Michael Stone from Arizona for a third round pick and a conditional fifth round pick. On deadline day, they swapped Jyrki Jokipakka and a second round pick to Ottawa for Curtis Lazar and Michael Kostka.
A matter of timing
History suggests that Treliving will make a deal on deadline day itself because, well, he always does. However, his past moves – particularly the Stone addition – suggests that if he’s buying a player, his preference is to add that person early to maximize their ability to integrate with the team. However, the reported high prices in the trade market likely are going to delay any moves the Flames make to closer to the deadline when prices fall – they just don’t have an abundance of the types of assets that teams jump at.
The Flames will almost definitely make moves, potentially a few of them, but they’ll all probably be closer to the Feb. 26 deadline because of asset prices.