Following a trade deadline that was simultaneously defined by big moves involving five first round picks on one hand and a bunch of smaller tinker trades throughout the rest of the league, the Calgary Flames ended up having a fairly sedate deadline day.
After all the dust had settled, Flames general manager Brad Treliving chatted with the assembled media to discuss the team’s two deadline additions and where the team goes from here.
Treliving noted that the team had lots of conversations and a list of wants that they wanted to address, but the two moves they made were what made sense to them given the prices in the trade market. The plan is for both players to join the team in Dallas and they’ll go from there.
He did note that given Smith’s injury status they looked a bit at goaltenders and felt it didn’t make any sense to make a move based on the performance of David Rittich and Jon Gillies and the prices out in the market. (He emphasized that the team’s exploration of goalies wasn’t out of dissatisfaction with either of their current players, but rather just doing their due diligence.)
On Nick Shore:
“One of the things we were looking for was a right-shot center, a right-shot center we felt could handle a defensive role. When you look at our center ice with Monahan, Backlund, Jankowski and I also put Bennett in there, I put Stajan in there, Lazar… I think you’ve heard me talk about, I think you need depth at center. We’ve had Marek Hrivik has gone down with an injury… We wanted to make sure we had ample depth there.
“What Nick is is he’s an excellent penalty killer. He’s had offense in his career, it hasn’t translated right now to the NHL. I think there’s more talent, skill and ability there than has translated to the numbers, quite frankly. He’s still a young player in this league, so we think he can come in and help us.”
On Chris Stewart:
“We’ve got a real motivated player who’s on an expiring contract who wants to continue his career. What we talked to him about is coming in and being the Chris Stewart that we see sometimes when he’s in the other jersey, he wasn’t a whole lot of joy to play against… Big body, shoots right, has scored in the past but you’re right, there’s been some inconsistency in his game. We’re hopeful we’re going to get a guy that’s going to come in here and be hungry to help us, and I know he is.”
Rather than big swings, Treliving noted that this year’s deadline was about working to improve the team around the fringes where they could: “Today was more about tinkering and finding what we thought were some players that fit, but ultimately the group that we started the day with will determine our fate down the stretch.”
Aside from trying to find a right-shot center, the deals seemed to be primarily about adding depth and giving the team some options going forward. Adding bottom six bodies wasn’t necessarily reflective of any dissatisfaction with the current group, but you also have to think that if their bottom six was performing really well there would’ve been less desire for tinkering.
“We’ve got some depth now. We’ve added to some depth. We have some young guys that have come up and played throughout the year. A lot of times in the league, games are determined by your top guys. That doesn’t change. I think our top guys have been good, and now we’ve got to have everybody playing good.”
Were the high prices paid for big-name rental players surprising? Not really, given the quality of the players: “It’d surprise me if one day, ‘Oh geez, rental prices are so low.’ That would surprise me. Probably not going to happen.”
Treliving noted that there were some pending AHL-related transactions that were going to be announced, primarily based upon keeping some players eligible for the Calder Cup playoffs.