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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Season in review: Brad Treliving

Coming into the season with a contract extension and some extra powers, Brad Treliving was rearmed with confidence and autonomy to truly make the Calgary Flames the way he wanted to, without any obstruction.

In his first season of total freedom, it did not go as planned. Looking to build on a forgettable playoff appearance, Treliving’s team took a step backwards, and a pricey one at that.

Here’s a comprehensive review of everything Treliving had his fingerprints on this season.

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The draft

  • Juuso Valimaki – D, 16th overall
  • Adam Ruzicka – C, 109th overall
  • Zach Fischer – RW, 140th overall
  • D’Artagnan Joly – RW, 171st overall
  • Filip Sveningsson – LW, 202nd overall

As usual, Treliving’s major strength lies in drafting. With a limited number of picks, he picked up some really likeable players.

The Flames walked away like bandits from the 2017 draft. Valimaki appears to be ready to contribute sometime in the next two years, perhaps even next season. Ruzicka and Joly look like steals relative to their draft position, and Sveningsson is no slouch either. Perhaps Fischer was an odd pick given his career history, but a fifth rounder isn’t going to make or break the team (though it is a little odd that they would use a pick on a guy rather then just waiting it out and signing him – like Glenn Gawdin – if he performs above expectation). Getting promising players on four of five picks is pretty much all you can ask for.

The trades

  • June 17: traded the rights to Chad Johnson, Brandon Hickey, and a 2018 third round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for Mike Smith.
  • June 24: traded a 2018 first round pick, a 2018 second round pick, and a 2019 second round pick to the New York Islanders for Travis Hamonic and a 2019 fourth round pick.
  • June 29: traded Keegan Kanzig and a 2019 sixth round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for Eddie Lack, Ryan Murphy, and a 2019 seventh round pick.
  • July 1: traded Tom McCollum to the Detroit Red Wings for a conditional seventh round pick (condition not met).
  • Dec. 30: traded Eddie Lack to the New Jersey Devils for Dalton Prout.
  • Feb. 26: traded a 2019 seventh round pick to the Ottawa Senators for Nick Shore.

Treliving went gambling leading up to the draft. Picking up Smith, an aging goalie with consistency issues, was going to be risky; but for the price of a backup goalie who wasn’t going to sign here, the fourth (at the time, fifth if he stuck around until Valimaki was drafted) best defensive prospect who also wasn’t going to sign here, and a third round pick, it turned out to be a great get. Until his injury, Smith was the guy who had pretty much put the Flames in a playoff spot. They got a starter for a handful of spare parts, which is much better and cheaper than previous attempts.

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The Hamonic trade was the opposite of that. The Flames paid a hefty price for a guy coming off of a disastrous season hoping that he would improve in a better situation. The logic behind the trade was certainly understandable: TJ Brodie struggled with bad partners and Hamonic struggled with an overall bad situation. They were once among the tops in the NHL before the 2016-17 season, so put them together and they’ll be good again. Bada boom, bada bing.

But there’s a lot to pick apart in that logic. Perhaps it was reasonable to assume that Hamonic was going to be a bounce back second pair defenceman, but why did he give up the same package he gave to get Dougie Hamilton, a burgeoning first pairing player at the time of that trade? Why did he not pay for the player Hamonic was last season prior to the trade instead of paying for the player he was three seasons ago? Hindsight being 20/20 and all, but it never crossed Treliving’s mind that Brodie might’ve been part of the problem, which is certainly more clear now. It seems that a lot of the potential failures involved in this deal were not addressed or given much thought.

With two years at a very reasonable cap hit left, it’s much too early to declare this trade a loss (Hamonic’s play away from Brodie has been promising), but even if Hamonic was a fine player throughout the season, Treliving overpaid at the draft. The damage has been mitigated by great drafting in recent years, but the Flames still gave up a lot of high end assets for a player that wasn’t worth them.

(An afterthought at this point, but it is certainly worth remembering that Treliving also didn’t lottery protect the first round pick. Twelfth overall in this draft isn’t much to get excited about, but it was a disaster that failed to materialize and one has to wonder if he really did give his team an honest assessment before making the trade. Did he really think the Flames were guaranteed to make the playoffs? Was Hamonic really going to be the guy to put them over the edge? Why wouldn’t he lottery protect the pick just in case the worst case scenario happened?)

Otherwise, Treliving addressed depth concerns for very cheap. Lack was worth a shot as a backup goalie, and they didn’t pay much of consequence to get him. When he didn’t work, they shipped him out. Shore is a very low risk deal for a player who is looking like handy 4C depth in the immediate future.

Signings and such

  • June 26: did not qualify RW Alex Chiasson, D Ryan Culkin, and D Kenney Morrison
  • Re-signings:
    • June 29: Kris Versteeg, one year x $1.75M
    • June 30: Michael Stone, three years x $3.5M AAV
    • July 13: Micheal Ferland, two years x $1.75M AAV
    • July 14: Curtis Lazar, two years x $950K AAV
    • July 20: Garnet Hathaway, one year x $650K
    • July 22: Jon Gillies, one year x $725K
    • July 22: David Rittich, one year x $725K
    • Aug. 28: Brett Kulak, one year x $650K
    • Sept. 5: Tyler Wotherspoon, one year x $650K
    • Sept. 6: Sam Bennett, two years x $1.95M
  • Signings
    • July 1: Marek Hrivik, one year x $650K
    • June 27: Spencer Foo, two years x $925K (ELC)
    • Oct. 3: Tanner Glass, one year x $650K
    • Oct. 4: Jaromir Jagr, one year x $1M
    • Nov. 16: Glenn Gawdin, three years x $775K (ELC)
    • Feb. 25: Cody Goloubef, one year x $650K
  • Extensions
    • Feb. 16: Mikael Backlund, six years x $5.35M AAV

Treliving got some great deals for re-signing players. Versteeg didn’t get a raise from his 2016-17 contract, and it would’ve again been a value contract had he not been injured for the majority of the season. Re-upping Ferland and Bennett for under $2M each was very shrewd business, affording the Flames some valuable cap space for next season while finding out what those two players are.

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For the most part, the rest of Treliving’s body of work is inoffensive. He didn’t splurge the cash on big name free agents and signed depth guys for depth money. Foo and Gawdin were two no-cost assets with high potential that addressed organizational needs. Perhaps one could complain that the entire Jagr experiment would’ve worked better had he been signed earlier and had the benefit of a full camp, but it’s nitpicking. Jagr was a fine fit for a team sorely lacking RW depth. Like Versteeg, it worked until he was injured, and it probably would’ve been a value contract that would’ve solved a lot of bottom six scoring issues had he stayed healthy.

Extending Backlund was Treliving’s major piece of business this year. All in all, it was a pretty fair deal, getting Backlund for just under market value. The contract may run pricey into Backlund’s later years, but Treliving locked up his lockdown centre for the next few years at a much cheaper rate than what he could’ve gotten had he tested the market. Losing Backlund would’ve left a hole in the roster that no one could currently fill.

The major issue is Stone’s contract. If you frame the re-signing as Stone being a stopgap for a prospect RHD like Rasmus Andersson, it doesn’t make sense why he gave Stone three years at that AAV. Stopgaps aren’t particularly necessary when you’re a competing team, and if they’re around for more than a season, they aren’t really a stopgap. Stone was the worst regular defender on the team and the Flames could’ve easily found another third pairing defender to hold down a spot for a year while prospects developed below (Ryan Murphy, a player the Flames traded for just to buy out, had half of Stone’s production in a quarter of the games played. He was also better from a possession perspective). Stone’s quality makes the contract very unlikely to be traded and Treliving may just have to use another buy out to open up a defensive spot for Andersson.

To a lesser extent, signing Glass was also a dumb move. The career fourth line fighter had a pretty good preseason – perhaps having something to do with him playing for his potentially last ever NHL contract – and was rewarded in spite of his entire career history, which would’ve been evidence enough that Glass had probably not turned a corner. He did not turn a corner and was a fourth line fighter during his entire time here. He only played 16 games for the team, but it was 16 games of nothing (all I can remember is him fighting Milan Lucic once) and you have to wonder if someone else could’ve done a better job.

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Odds and ends

  • June 30: bought out Lance Bouma
  • June 30: bought out Ryan Murphy
  • Feb. 26: claimed Chris Stewart off waivers
  • April 17: fired Glen Gulutzan, Dave Cameron, and Paul Jerrard
  • April 23: hired Bill Peters
  • May 31: hired Ryan Huska and Geoff Ward

Here’s all the other stuff that didn’t fit into other categories.

Buying out Bouma was Treliving making up for one of his early mistakes as a GM. Here’s hoping that he’s learned that players who have random shooting spikes aren’t deserving of big money contracts. Buying out Murphy was odd given that he made under $1M and was a right-shooting defenceman, but a very whatever move in the end. He figured to be fine defensive depth on a team that employed Matt Bartkowski.

Stewart was a fine piece of business. I don’t think anyone expected him to save the season, but he was free and an inoffensive pickup for the late season. Given that they probably didn’t want to (and absolutely shouldn’t have) sink more assets into a season that was heading off the tracks, Stewart was worth a shot.

Replacing the coaching staff was the punctuation mark to the disappointing season. Treliving didn’t go for a radical stylistic difference by picking up Peters, Huska, and Ward, but they’re at least looking like upgrades on the previous staff. We’ll see how it plays out.

The good and the bad

Treliving might’ve had his worst season as the Flames’ GM. It isn’t any particular move that causes me to give this assessment, but rather the entire mindset behind the 2017-18 Flames.

Treliving took a roster that barely cracked the playoffs last year, kept most of it the same, half-assed a few pretty major things, and paid a hefty price to do so. The 2016-17 Flames weren’t a perfect team by any stretch of the imagination, but with a few tweaks in the right places, they probably could’ve been much better.

The GM tinkered at the edges and didn’t see major improvements. Even on their best nights, the Flames didn’t look as good as the teams that eventually made the playoffs. They had a lot of bounces go against them this year, but the maxim that you make your own luck seems fitting. When things got tough, the Flames simply didn’t have a roster that was going to dig them out of the hole they were in.

The bottom six still couldn’t find the scoresheet. They still didn’t have a bona fide top six RW, relying on Ferland to shoot 20% on a night-in, night-out basis. The backup goalie situation worked until it absolutely all fell apart, which was not helped by Smith also falling apart. Those were all things that were obvious issues at the end of last season. This roster had its holes and they were Treliving’s responsibilities.

Not to say all is futile and that Treliving should be canned. He still assembled the major parts of the Flames core that will take them to the playoffs, but his mistake this past season was not actually adding to it in the right areas. He has the opportunity to right his wrongs and actually do that this offseason. The Flames will have some cap room to play with, some free spots to fill, quality prospects ready to play, and an entire new coaching staff. There’s really no excuse why this roster shouldn’t see major improvements.


      • freethe flames

        I’m not sure if firing the coaching staff would have saved the season especially with the lack of talent up front and then the rash of injuries that occurred; Monny playing injured for at least a month probably longer and the Smith injury coming when it did. But I do agree that he should have fired the coaching staff earlier.

        • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

          One other thought on this. It appears the Tre had his eye on Peters and with the circus that is Carolina had a good idea that he would be available. That may have helped him decide to hang in longer than desirable.

          • Mickey O

            To say that Treliving had his eye on Peters would be a rather drastic understatement. Treliving basically hired Peters for the 2018 season back in 2016 at the World Championships. When Peters signed an extension in Carolina with that opt-out clause included, the deal was as good as done.

            Gulutzan was hired as a Corsi-style interim coach before Rebar came on board. The only way Treliving might have changed his mind was if GG somehow won a couple of playoff rounds last year.

    • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

      @WW I agree with two of your three. Coaching was a tire fire and needed to be addressed once it was obvious personnel utilization was so poor. Not protecting the 1st is just sloppy and not what you want out of a GM. The thing that chaps me the most is the price paid for Hamonic. I like the player but the 3 picks smells of someone who panicked under fire and that is what you REALLY don’t want from your GM.

      Now for the 3 best moves:

      T1. The draft
      T1. Signing Backlund
      3. Signing Mike Smith … he was the paddle we needed on Schitt’s Creek.

      • Still no edit button?

        Yes the backlund signing was an awesome move. Unfortunately some don’t understand hockey enough to know the importance of a true shutdown centreman who can put up points.

          • Still no edit button?

            ….. every one knows using plus minus as a viable stat is a noob move. He had his best chances for per game with a low chances against. He had an extremely low pdo meaning he had back luck this year and is bound to bounce back. Even with that he still played against all the top lines with defensive zone starts. Completely shut down McDavid 2games in a row as well

          • Korcan

            “He probably doesn’t get the requisite amount of public recognition, because he’s never scored more than 53 points in a season, but Mikael Backlund is one of the top two-way centres in the game. He starts more of his shifts in the defensive zone, faces top competition, and consistently generates the best shot differentials – over the past five seasons, only eight forwards have a better relative Corsi than Backlund among those that have played at least 3,000 5-on-5 minutes.” –Scott Cullen

    • Manginasal

      @WW
      Dont worry my dove. Everything will work itself out.
      Flames will have a monumental 2018/2019 season.
      Book it!
      They will match their wins/loss totals to the 1989 team.

  • freethe flames

    An area of concern from last season that remains going into this off season is talent up front. At the end of the preseason BT said he was disappointed that the young forwards had not impressed enough at training camp and during the preseason. What did he do? He sent the most impressive of the bunch down to the Heat so he could keep Glass in the lineup and signed Jagr. Then was concerned about the lack of secondary scoring. Many on this site believe that our young guys will develop over the summer and become the secondary scoring so badly needed. I like some of the young guys but even if Bennett/Janko each score 5-10 more goals (which is possible) I still believe BT will add to that forward group this off season. Who or how he will add to this group is the question; FA should only be used as short term solutions to give the 3 CHL kids some time and it is not an overly strong group of FA. Trade some or his assets for help and here again he is limited by his assets and by who needs what he is trying to sell. Fixing this problem and others are more important than adding draft picks.

    He also has some other significant work to do this off season: sign his own RFA’s, extend Tkachuk, consider what they want to with Ferland/Bennett yes they can wait but they cannot be ignored.

    • Sir ryosus

      I hope they find a player that can help with the heart and fight for this team. Too many times last season they just quit when the going got tough. Gio may be a good leader work ethic and professional but can’t seem to get the boys to dig deep when needed. Flames do need a top 6 forward but need to tell Mony that if he can’t play 200 ft game he and Johnny can only play together on pp because together they a defensive liability. I don’t know who could play with them and have offensive success knowing they will have to cover for them defensively.

      • rusty_shakleforde

        Yes! All of this ^. I’m really hoping Mony steps it up next year. I feel like a total whiner for saying it because he’s a 30 goal scorer, but he needs to earn that A. We can’t judge what he’s like in the locker room, but his play doesn’t really match the A on his chest.

        • rusty_shakleforde

          One can and ought to base analysis off more than/in addition to numbers. Effort, backchecking (Mony), the overreliance on Johnny to carry the puck in all the time. I dunno, just a few things. But this ain’t my thread

      • Korcan

        Anyone who has ever lived with a hernia, not to mention two bad hips and a bad wrist, should have nothing but respect for what Mony played through (and still produced) during the second half of the season. I for one will never question that young man’s heart and I’m even willing to cut him a little slack for not backchecking as hard as he could have otherwise.

  • rusty_shakleforde

    And also, when does a team ever have too many scorers? Did BT and co just think like “well, we should have ENOUGH scorers, so I guess we won’t think about adding any more.” Winnipeg is a good example. So many players can score on that team! They got Laine on the second line for Pete’s sake! Legit so many guys on that team can score. Why don’t we try to emulate that? We got the cap space, we have the young guys coming up. What we (obviously) need is an injection of scoring, and most importantly a transfer and development of leadership, skillsharing, and team culture.

    Winnipeg believes in themselves, and they darn well should. They’ve got the talent, they’ve got the gusto, they’ve got the finish. Calgary can take a few (albeit somewhat major) steps, and get there.

    • rusty_shakleforde

      And I don’t want to be a veteran lover kinda fella, and it doesn’t have to be old guys, but what I think the magic of landing a player like Tavares or RoR–the glitter in my eyes, so to speak–is the leadership. Its the ability to rally. Look at Washington this playoffs. On paper worse than they’ve been in years, and yet they have amazing leadership, and they believe. Ovi is killing it, and is the true leader of that team. And importantly, he’s not having to carry the team on his back either–he’s inspiring them, driving them.

      We got guys like Chucky and Smith, and quieter but nevertheless instrumental leadership from guys like Giordano and Backlund. But that can’t be all.

        • McRib

          “Its the ability to rally. Look at Washington this playoffs. On paper worse than they’ve been in years”

          Ovi, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Oshie, Burakovsky, Eller, Connolly (really wish we signed him), Vrana etc is a lot more skill then we have up front as well.
          Not to mention the Flames would never have anyone like Ovi on our team. We only take “nice guys” who belong in a country club not in a Hockey dressing room. If you don’t believe me go read the GQ Ovi ariticle from a few years back. The guy is a wild child and that’s contagious come playoff time, we refuse to have anything like that on the Flames (see nixing Seguin, E. Kane, etc trades).

          • McRib

            The main problem is Flames ownership on down to our GMs don’t understand what real “leadership” means. Having a bunch of old boys who toe the line everyday agreeing with everything you say and sending a message of doing favours like getting Matt Stajan to 1000 games instead of worrying about making the playoffs is not how to build a competitive hockey team. When we were winning Stanley Cups we had big egos like Gilmour, Fleury, Vernon, Lanny, etc and then one day we decided to never have those types of egos (i.e. real winners) again and traded Gilmour away for nothing and built this character first passive losing mentality for the next two decades. Outside of Kipper standing on his head and Iggy shooting the lights out in 2004 we basically haven’t been a playoff team since, yet we continue to go back to same the well again and again.

          • Justeen Trudope

            Only one team in the league has a player like ovi it. I think Calgary has some great players that thrive in playoff hockey the problem is getting there or barely limping through the gate. The only way you build a dressing room like Vegas or Washington is by winning.

  • Skylardog

    Been a busy couple of months, but happy to have a few minutes to rejoin the discussion. I have been keeping up on the going ons, just not commenting.

    A GM must be able to assess all areas of the organization. BT appears to have weaknesses in this area. He either has his hands tied when it comes to a coaching budget or is unable to evaluate coaching ability. I am not saying that I oppose Bill Peters being hired. On the contrary, Peters has had very little to work with in Carolina. But winning is a mentality. It is tradition. It is a mind set. Peters has not yet coached a playoff game. Hard to change the mindset and culture when the leader has never experienced success. Just saying.

    It should have been Stone or Hamonic, not both. Stone’s contract length will make it tough to move. The Hamonic experiment is far from complete. That means Brodie (or Hamilton) are the odd men out. Brodie’s decline is a factor of GG. Someone has to go (I will argue 2 DMen need to go) to create spaces for Andersson and Valimaki. That means Brodie for sure (and he should have been in his prime and at the top of his game if not for GG) and someone else. Who is that going to be? Don’t move out 2 and you will lose Fox for sure. Young guys must have hope of cracking the lineup.

    • McRib

      The fact that Treliving is still saying Brouwer is going to turn it around tells me everything I need to know about him. Outside of the Hamilton traded and slightly above average drafting (let’s not forget passing three times on local product Brayden Point in 2014 for a bunch of ECHLers) what has he done since that amazing?

      • Justeen Trudope

        Well who do you want to replace him one of the other 29 GMs that passed on him 3 times also? Calgary has been stuck with GMs that were slightly below average at the draft and look where that left them

  • buts

    Tre waited on GG when it was obvious in December the team was going no where. An interim coach would have done better. Tre’s moves in the next 6-8 weeks will define his career here in Calgary because our core is ready to make the jump to contenders. Good drafting is the only positive I have for BT, poor trades, some poor FA signings and poor coach hires are red flags on his resume.

  • Skylardog

    I would hope that Peters and BT recognise the importance of roles and work together to ensure that the lineup makes use of players that have specific strengths in certain roles.

    One of the big failures in the last year was asking Backlund to produce goals, not act as a shutdown guy. That stemmed from BT’s lack of vision in getting a top 6 right winger. Corsi was good but in terms of GA, the Backlund line fell apart. In 2017-18 5v5, Backs was -18 with 56 goals against. Frolik was -17. In 2016-17 Backs was +5, with only 38 goals against, Frolic was +3.

    5v5, the 2017-18 Flames allowed 158 goals against compared to 144 in 2016-17, 12 more against. If Backlund (and in a way his line) accounted for 18 more against year over year, then it becomes clear that it is not the bottom 6 that let the team down, but the poor play of the Backlund line. They play even, not -18, and the team is in the playoffs.

    And on that note, look at the Gio Hamilton pairing. In 2016-17 they were +23 with only 23 goals against. Last season they were +5 with 48 goals against. In contrast, Brodie (as an indication of the second pairing) was -14 in 2016-17 with 56 against, while in 2017-18 he was -8 with 57 against. Yes, we needed Brodie and his partner to be better, but it is the decline in defensive play of Gio and Hamilton that made the difference.

    Not all is ever as it seems unless you dig deep into the stats.

    • I thought we all put +/- to bed as a defensive stat a while ago. Frolik and Backlund can’t be blamed for goalies having a <.900 SV% while they were on the ice. If you think players have an influence on their goaltender’s saving ability, you also have to explain why Troy Brouwer, Tanner Glass, and Matt Stajan were all at the top for on ice SV%.

      • Skylardog

        Of those playing more than 100 minutes, scoring chances against per 60, Tkachuk ranked 6th, Backs 7th, and Frolik 9th among forwards. Stajan was 2, Lazar 4th with Shore and Jagr the others in the top 10.

        Shore, Stajan, Brouwer, and Lazar were 1-4 in high danger chances against. Save percentage is a reflection of the quality of the chances given up, not the save%. Backs was 7th, Tkachuk 10th, and Frolik 11th.

        Christian, you are missing my point in all of this, that under GG, and due to the lack of a top 6 RW being obtained by BT, the role given the Backlund line was incorrect. They were tasked to score, which is nit their strength, and exposed them to becoming a defensive liability, rather than the best shutdown pair (Backs and Fro) in the NHL. They quite simply were giving up high quality chances to top 6 forwards.

        On one hand here you are saying that Smith was great until injured, and then you are saying the goaltending was the issue for the Backlund line, not their play. Early in the season last year (20 to 40 games in), I was pointing out that the play of the Backlund line had tanked defensively. Yet at this time, Smith was playing at his best.

        Unless Peters and BT figure out roles, not much will change next season.

        • You seem to be making a stretch assertion. If SV% is tied to the amount of high danger scoring chances given up/60, it should stand to reason that the players with the worst HDSCA/60 should have the worst on-ice SV%, but that is simply not true. Gaudreau, Monahan, Glass, and Ferland are all the worst in the HDSCA/60 category and have pretty good on ice SV% regardless. Likewise, Backlund is in the middle of the pack (the highest of the top six forwards) and has the worst on ice SV%. Perhaps the two are not at all connected.

          (also, if fourth line guys keep popping up at the top of the HDSCA/60 chart, perhaps it says more about the fourth line role rather than the players. Fourth liners aren’t exactly playing against players who are dangerous offensive threats)

          If you stretch it back to last season, Backlund and Frolik had similar HDSCA/60 numbers to the 2017/18 season and didn’t have low SV%. Almost as if they are not connected and one is independent of the other.

          Otherwise, I don’t see how not having a top six RW affects what happens with Backlund and Frolik. They were still in a shutdown role. Their on-ice SV% (rarely if ever consistent or controllable on a year-by-year basis) sunk. Unconnected events.

      • freethe flames

        Any stat is flawed and any stat has a level of value. Frequently you need to put a variety of stats together with the eye test to truly paint the picture of whats going. The +/- stats for the 3m line look rather bad but when you put into the light of their role and the play of others around them one has to pause about how effective they were and were they asked to do to much. They had the most difficult zone starts and faced the other teams top lines on a regular basis and also were expected to be the second offensive line; at times I think led to them making mistakes and gambling rather than just playing it safe. Frolik who has been a rather consistent and reliable defensive forward made uncharacteristic mistakes in part IMO b/c he was thinking offense. This was true to a lesser extent for both Backs and Tkachuk but I can’t prove it b/c there is no fancy stat to show it.

      • Derzie

        +/- and SV% matter big time over the long haul. They are a season stat or a career stat with meaning. They are not a game stat. But make no mistake, they have value and they can be used to draw reasonable conclusions.

  • TheWheeze

    Im not calling for Treliving’s head. He does seem to be learning from mistakes. He has a huge amount on his plate. Bad decisions are par for the course. I guess my only comment would be way too many low cost low risk acquisitions that don’t last the season and play middling minutes here and there. I understand injury coverage but to me he needs to do better here. Just my take

  • where.is.ville?

    Treliving is a liability. He is a bumbler. We have a solid defence (although not so obvious last season), with good prospects in the system. Smith was a good pickup, but we have no backup – this is a major issue. We should have kept Chad Johnson. The forwards are largely a disaster – beyond Monahan, Gaudreau and Tkachuk, the rest are disposable. He needs to land a backup goalie and 2-3 bonafide NHL top-6 players. Can he do it?

    • oilcanboyd

      Beyond McDavis and Drai, the rest of the oilers are disposable. Cheech needs a number one goalie; Talbot showed his true colors as nothing more than a backup; they don’t have a solid defense, wingers are inadequate and they have very little money to pay top flight talent unless they dump Hopkins and Lucic.
      There you where.is.! I tore down the team to the North and they are far worse off than the Flames. and the oilers still have Cheech as GM, the guy who tore down the Broons.

  • Honkydonk

    The mere fact this teams holes the season prior went virtually in addressed last off season highlights all you need to know.

    We need a goalie and RW oh good I will go ahead and trade for a right shot D who had a down year the year prior.

    It’s this inability to be rational. To always want to over weasel to a win I don’t like.

    Just look at the two teams playing for the cup. They are fast, very creative and offensively minded, don’t have the best defence but they also have great goaltending.

    Give us that

  • MDG1600

    Hamonic Trade was a major mistake. He paid a fortune to try and fix a “problem” that didn’t exist. The Flames organization was and is knee deep in solid defence prospects. Meanwhile the obvious lack of depth up front was addressed with wishful thinking.

  • Off the wall

    I know we’re all a bit frustrated with this teams results last season. We expected huge improvements, (I know I did) and we came up way short of expectations.
    Is that on Treliving? Since he’s the GM, he takes the rap for the results. But he would be the first to say so.

    I’m not saying Treliving did a poor job, however I’m with Skylardog, in that he failed to make proper assessments of our squad.

    Our defence, with the huge cost of Hamonic was touted as a game changer, only it didn’t translate into a better defensive game.

    I’m not so quick to say it’s all on Treliving. We vastly under-performed as a team and we can all appreciate GG’s inability to make adjustments in game settings was a HUGE disappointment.

    I’m sure Treliving wanted to make coaching changes earlier, but that’s not always possible, especially if you’re waiting for the right candidates to become available.

    This season will be a true test of Treliving’s GM duties.
    Personally, I believe he gets this right. He’s identified our players weaknesses and will make this team better.

    How he makes this happen is still to be determined, however I wouldn’t bet against him.
    He’s a student of the game and good students always improve their skills.

    Some may say Peters’ hiring is another poor judgement call by Treliving because of Peter’s record as a coach.
    This isn’t Gulutzan, this is an experienced coach. Rebar will create accountability, something that was missing for two straight years.

    Anyone who wants to label our Flames as a bust because of Treliving is welcome to their opinions, however when our team improves don’t hop on the bandwagon, because they’ll be no room for you!

    • Derzie

      You list problems very well then you say that next year will be great, and those who don’t think so are bandwagon jumpers. Wrong. Drinking kool aid is not a requirement to be a fan. Critical thinking is an important part of improvement. If your response to a problem is ‘I trust things will work out’ that is both optimism and ignorance. Tre has shown or done nothing to show that this team will be better next year. It might. It might not. The numbers and probabilities say it will not be better. The moves he has made (or not made) are all debatable. To be honest, letting the amateur scouting team do their job has been his strongest area. Getting Hamilton is another highlight but if the complainers get their way, he’ll be traded away for some less valuable forward & picks. Giving some asinine nickname to a coach that has done the square root of zero for the Flames is a surefire indicator that that kool aid has been chugged hard. Winning needs to come from people earning it, wanting it and not taking no for an answer. We need to have a similar attitude as fans if we want our team to perform.

  • Kevin R

    I heard the witch hunting drums pounding from this article before I even logged into my computer. Just want to make a few points:

    1/When we played Anaheim in the playoffs, we got swept but we had some horrible goaltending & the wrong end of a league wide trend of terrible officiating. So he got Smith for spare parts. I see no issue with this, in fact I like what Smith brings to our team. I hope he brings the same next year, we just need a coach to manage his starts & confidence in the back up.

    2/Hamonic was an overpay, but really, was it? Bonafide 2nd pairing known to have a more rugged style of play which was badly needed on our back end.
    At the time, he had 3 more years at an amazing cap hit. Leafs were dangling JVR & their 1st. NYI wanted more & felt the cap hit was worth the extra. Im sure there were other teams in the bidding. That’s what happens when you acquire the players at the draft, the currency is easier to send, especially when you dont want to relinquish a roster player. I agree the price in hindsight was way too high but hindsight sure is 20/20. In fact, the best way to learn from this is for Tre to get a bidding war on Brodie at the draft.

    3/Stone was only possible because of the acquisition of Hamonic & his incredible cap hit. Again hindsight says Tre spent too much on the backend & should have invested that 3.5mill on a forward & how do we know he didnt try. I totally disagree that Stone is a buyout. Why?? Just keep him to the Trade Deadline & move him at that time. He’ll be way easier to move than Brouwer.
    But maybe Tre just felt Stone gave the team some high end blue line depth because he felt this team was a playoff team. I certainly dont fault him for thinking that way.

    4/Coach being fired sooner, yeah maybe. But I agree with Here’s Johnny. It may take a lot of consumption of truth serum, but maybe Tre saw the situation in Carolina & knew he had his new coach at the end of the season. By the time things went sour & we fell out of the race, the injuries already happened & no interim coach could have prevented the season end we had.

    5/Backlund signing is fine. But I agree, to expect Backlund to suddenly be a 65-70 point centre is pie in the sky. Leaving Tkachuk on that line going forward will be a huge mistake. Bennett is a winger & Janko needs another full year in the NHL to make progress. That is where I hope the target will be.

    @Skylardog You say Peters hasnt won & it’s about proven winning mindset, well Peters did work under Babcock during the winning years in Detroit. Look at the teams & coaches this year in the final. Trotz had been labelled as being on his last hurrah in Washington, even after he beat Columbus & please tell me what Gallant has won as coach? His previous team made him take a cab to the bus station.

    • Skylardog

      Yes – he was a part of the Detroit teams, they declined while he was there, although, again, roster is a factor.
      102 points, 8th in the NHL, in year 1, out in 5 in the playoffs
      56 points, 14th in the NHL lockout shortened season. 7-7 in playoffs, out in round 2.
      93 points in season 3, 15th in the NHL. Out in 5 in the playoffs.

      Not exactly in the top echelon of the NHL while he was there but his mentor was darn good in those years. Still only 3 appearances in the playoffs in 7 years, none as the head coach. Only 1 playoff series won, none as HC, and a 9-15 record in playoff games.

        • Skylardog

          I am not against the hiring of Peters. It has the potential to work out great, especially now that Ward has been added. But sometimes you need to change the culture: The Flames are consistently outside of the playoffs looking in. Why would you not look at a coach with a proven history of making it into the playoffs? On a list of check boxes the Flames should have had in the hiring process, missing that box is an oversight (in my opinion and I am sure in the opinion of many others).

          BT’s choices always seem to involve a familiarity. Smith, Stone, Bartkowski. Peters, Grossman… Can he go outside of his close experiences to bring in personnel? He is showing an inability to do that.

          Babcock actually backs up my point. Here is a coach with a proven history of taking his team into the playoffs. He goes to the Leafs, one of the worst teams at making the playoffs, and has them there in his first 2 season. Yes, young players that they picked up from high draft positions are a part of that, but the D-core is a sponge. He still got them in and with room to spare. He has changed the culture in the room in just 2 seasons. They believe they can win. Not sure that culture is here in Calgary, at least not yet.

          I hope Peters can do the same as Babcock, but his track record says no. But I get it – he had no team and no budget to get them there in Carolina. I believe he has a roster here he can work with.

        • Skylardog

          Lets talk about Gallant. Hired after the Panthers had only 9 wins and 25 points in 48 games during the lockout year, he took Florida to 91 points in year 1 and then to 103 points and a division title in his second year. He was fired with an 11-10-1 record, while in a playoff spot last season, and put in the cab as we all know. The Panthers then fell out of a playoff spot, missed the playoffs, and missed again this past season. Gallant was not the problem in Florida.

          The Florida cab thing had more to do with a sudden falling out between Dale Tallon and ownership, not a performance issue for Gallant. It was a MAJOR blunder for the Panthers.

          Trotz is well respected. He broke the record for most wins as an original hire by an expansion team, and was in Nashville for 16 seasons. You don’t stay that long if you are mediocre. He posted a .533 record with a team that started from nothing. He has 11 playoff appearances in 20 seasons as a head coach. When you consider Nashville was an expansion team, that is not too bad. He has been in the playoffs 11 of the last 14 seasons.

          Sorry – you didn’t see Trotz and Gallant taking their teams where they did this season? I, and WW were screaming for GG to be let go and Gallant hired here in November 2016. Gallant has shown he is even better than what I and WW anticipated.

          • Korcan

            Gallant also had Luongo in net. And now he has Fleury. I’m not saying Gallant isn’t a good coach, but having great goaltending doesn’t hurt. My money says GG would still be in town were either one of those two his goalie this past season. “Great goaltenders make great coaches”

          • Kevin R

            Soooo Gallant really didnt win anything prior to going to Vegas & lo & behold he is in the SC Final. Trotz actually makes my point, he did really well with Nashville & went to Washington & fell flat until this year. He’s been on the hot seat all year & comments even after the Pitt series that he still may be out if he doesnt win it all. These Stanley Cup runs are basically all the stars coming into alignment, kinda like 2004. Even more in a parity league. We need a coach that can consistently get us to the dance/playoffs. I have more confidence with Peters than GG. Deep down I was hoping we had a shot at getting Trotz because I think this team needed someone that will scare the performance out of these young guys. Trotz has that hitman stare thats for sure. & of note, Babcocks Leafs missed the playoffs in his first year. Leafs have some pretty nice forward pieces but Calgary have nicer pieces on the backend on both the active roster & in the pipeline. Amazing what a winning season next year will do for our culture.

  • Off the wall

    Anyone who knows me, knows I have more stories to tell than a child’s library. Sorry, I can’t help myself.

    I’ve been looking for a work truck for over a year, my current truck is showing signs of age and it’s repairs have been going up each year I hang onto it.

    I’ve been trying to make most of the repairs myself, although I’m limited in the mechanical skill department. I’m not cheap, but I’m careful with expenses as it affects my overall business operation costs.

    It has taken me a year to find the right fit for my business, a truck within my budget and something that’s going to last me a long time without expensive repairs.

    I’m a bit weird in that I will search until I find the right fit, even if it takes me longer than what would seem normal to most people.

    Well I finally bought a new truck, no it’s not a brand new truck, cuz I’m not rich nor stupid with my money. It’s actually older than my current truck, but it came from an original owner who looked after it well and has low kilometres. It passed inspection with flying colours. It’s also a heavy duty, which makes my life a little easier with payload.

    My point is this. Treliving has a budget. He’s frugal but not cheap. It takes time to get what you’re looking for and sometimes you need to bite the bullet and wait patiently until you have the resources and money to make proper decisions.

    I think his time is now. He’s going to make the purchases we’ve been waiting for. He’s going to retire the older underperforming players, so to speak and make his signature on this team. It’s taken longer than we wanted or expected, but the returns will merit it.

    That’s my last take on this. I’m going out for a drive in my new, old truck. She’s a beauty and I’m proud of her. When I fire it up, it gives off a throaty rumble. Gives me goosebumps.

    Treliving is about to fire up this team and when he does, I will have the same goosebumps!!

    • Honkydonk

      Typical man speak. All hope with no evidence but wants to have everyone stand behind and come together for nothing but hope.

      It’s simple you are either and alpha or you are not. Tre is not an alpha and he’s track record is what I go on.

      Only real way to dictate the future is to look at ones past. He’s past does not make him a winner but everyone wants to life on this guy because he lucked out on the Dougie trade and his dad owns Boston Pizza.

      He would be the last person I’d ever hire in a leadership role

      • Honkydonk

        Buy hey he’s like 99 percent of all men since WW2. A bunch of girly pansies and ok being so. As long as they wear their fancy new sneakers and their $200 jeans and listen to their gangsta music everything’s alright.

        And you wonder why divorce rates 60 percent a woman say enough

        • Squishin

          Honkydonk: “HURR I’M AN ALPHA MALE, RARRR!! LOOK AT MY MUSCLES, YOU PANSIES!!”

          The word vomit continues. Sometimes you have good things to say, but very rarely nowadays. Let’s get past the feeble, outdated insults and start debating rationally, shall we? Like grownups.

          • Off the wall

            Honkydonk, you made a great point ( Boston Pizza) and then proceeded to unravel from there.

            Treliving’s father runs a reputable and very successful enterprise, a skill which is very necessary in today’s game. Success is not something you gain overnight. Perhaps you should read the entire story of how he became a success, rather than scoffing at it.

            I for one believe you can learn from the success of those closest to you. His father is a very shrewd and rich man I may add.
            I’m pretty sure father Treliving is an Alpha among other things, not that it matters, except if you’re a canine.

            Perhaps you should also read about Brad Treliving. You think everything was handed to him on a silver platter? Read about his struggles playing hockey and how he had to adapt knowing he wasn’t making the NHL.

            If you have something enlightening to say, please do, however you may wish to reflect on your choices of wording, because you just sound more bitter than constructive..

  • aye

    For people advocating replacing Tre, I just want to ask who do you have in mind as a replacement? Chuck Fletcher, Mark Hunter? Let’s not forget quality GM’s are much harder to find then coaches, and the work of GM’s may not pay dividends until several years later. Capitals are a good example of a team essentially built by McPhee, just as many of the current Flames roster is work of previous regime.
    Tre has done many good things during his tenure, and is clearly learning from his mistakes, and essentially admitting mistakes by firing Hartley after giving him an extension, firing GG which he himself hired, buying out Bouma, Raymond, etc.
    Let’s also not give too much credit or place too much blame on the GMs for what happens on the ice. On paper, the Flames looked really good last season, and all the critics were praising Tre for his excellent work, while many criticized McPhee for his strategy in building the VGK, it’s fair to say that everyone including the GMs themselves are shocked by how things turned out this season.

    • piscera.infada

      Capitals are a good example of a team essentially built by McPhee

      I mean, sure? But let’s not forget he made what was probably one of the biggest blunders in the modern NHL, as well.

    • Derzie

      When someone is not doing a good job you look for people that match what you want, not people who don’t. Staying with crap because there is worse out there, or it’s hard, is lazy.

  • Mickey O

    The Michael Stone contract has been talked about before. It was 3 years or nothing – the player simply would not have taken a 2 year deal. Stone was signed on June 30th. Dollars to donuts there was a Russell $4M x 4yr deal waiting for him the next day. Whether Treliving should have signed Stone is a separate discussion altogether.

    To say that Treliving might have to buy out Stone to make room for Andersson is off the mark. Players get bought out when it appears that no GM will give you anything for them. Stone will still get you a 4th rounder, minimum, 3rd on a good day. RHS defencemen that can munch minutes are a rare breed, and you pay a premium for those guys.

    Treliving already has 2 buy-outs on the books this year, he can only use one more. I hope like hell that Troy Brouwer is the candidate this season; Stone shouldn’t even be in any buy-out conversation.

    • Then he should’ve just walked away. There was never any need to commit to Stone (especially when you had to give away another draft pick) and if someone else is going to make a mistake, let them make it.

      And no, no one is going to trade a third round pick for Stone. He’s a third pairing guy with no offensive upside besides a wildly powerful but equally inaccurate shot. The entire “premium for a RHD” thing is pretty false.

      • BendingCorners

        Not sure I agree, CT. Physical defencemen are a good thing to have and it was by no means clear last summer that Andersson was even close to being ready. He is basically Engelland’s replacement – third pair that can eat more minutes when necessary, good at knocking people down, not much offense. I do think 3.5MM was a bit high but unlike the Brouwer contract it isn’t way over.

        • Who cares if he’s physical if he’s routinely getting outshot and the team is getting outscored when he’s on the ice. He’s not a minutes muncher if he’s a liability every time he’s out there.

          You can find good defensive depth for very cheap, check out Brett Kulak. Depth is not something you pay for, that’s why it is depth.

      • Beer League Coach

        I made the same comment in another thread about a week ago about the timing of the Stone signing. I would have drawn the line at 2 yrs and a max of 2.5 m per yr. At $4 m per yr for 4 years he would look good with that oil drop on his chest. Also Tre could have saved a draft pick (albeit a low pick) if he had called Stone’s bluff and waited one more day.

  • BendingCorners

    It takes more than one year to build a team. The current roster should have not only made the playoffs but opened at home. Bad coaching played a part, as did (a little bit) some bad puck luck, but injuries played a role too.
    Monahan played hurt for half a year, Frolik broke his jaw, Brouwer broke his face, Versteeg hurt his hip and Jagr broke his body. On top of that Smith pulled a muscle. That’s two top-six forwards, two talented RHS, a depth forward and a starting goalie. Imagine Monahan, Smith, Jagr and Versteeg healthy all year, then comment on Treliving’s results.
    Last summer the team needed a goalie, another top-four defenseman, a talented RHS forward. Hamonic was an overpay and Jagr was (it turns out) too old, but Smith and Hamonic were good additions and Jagr could have bought the team an extra year to find a more permanent solution.
    I don’t recall very many of us writing that Bennett would fail again, or that Frolik would degrade or that Brodie would implode.
    Finding two top six RHS forwards, a solution to the Brodie problem and a high-grade backup goalie wil make for a busy and difficult summer. Maybe all of those things happen or maybe only some, a lot depends on what other GM are willing to do too. Either way, I think Treliving did a decent job last summer and expect he will again this summer.

    • BendingCorners

      Bang on, Mickey. Stone is a physical D and if they move him (no matter the method) they need another such D to replace him, even if only as #7.
      If Brodie is moved, a 5-6-7 of Kylington-Andersson-Stone would not be a bad thing.
      As for Brouwer, unless the cap overhang lasting into the new CBA causes a worry, buying him out now is the right move. Waiving him to Stockton would be okay too – he’d be a good mentor down there I think. the Flames definitely can afford the cap hit (3.45MM) and his replacement should cost less than 1.05MM so it works.

      • Mickey O

        BC…Think bigger. Valimaki – Hamonic. That needs to happen. Have Kylington as the top dog in the AHL for a full season.
        Can’t agree with you on Brouwer being a good mentor in Stockton. You’d just be transferring the problem to the farm team, instead of the big club. Be gone with you Troy Brouwer, be gone I say!

  • ComeOn

    The element missing from this discussion is the role that Gully played in player deployment and how Treliving and Gully’s working relationship effected individual player outcomes.

    Does Brodie obviously play better on the other side?
    Could Gully leaning on the Backlund line heavily in defensively critical situations affect their numbers?
    Would have been wiser to see a bit more Hamilton in offensive or pp scenarios? A bit less in defensive scenarios?
    Did Smith’s lingering period of injury impact the team’s outcome?
    Did Gully coach like a robot and expect that doing the same thing over and over again and would result in different outcomes?
    Did we really need the Brouwerplay?
    Did we need to play the fourth line heavily when down?

    My point is, all these things factor into individual and team stats and I’m just not sure how accountable Treliving is. I know how accountable Gully was, and he’s fired.

  • Skylardog

    BT, like all GMs has made some good, and some bad moves.

    How I will judge him at this point is quite simple.

    Buyout Brouwer, and you have my support. It is quite simple.

    Brouwer has 2 more years at $4.5. Buyout would be 4 years at $1.5. That would free up $3.0 per season with $1.0 being needed to replace him on the 4th line. Net gain is $2.0 in cap hit. All Brouwer is worth is a 4th liner.

    With $2.0, and the remaining cap space, a top 6 forward is easily within reach. Move a defenseman, and we are able to get a top 3 guy.

    • piscera.infada

      The issue with buying-out Brouwer is that it isn’t a cap-related argument. The Flames don’t (and won’t) have cap issues this season, so why save the cap hit this year, to defer it for two more following the end of his contract? There is a very real chance that the Flames could have cap concerns in three years time, so why pigeon-hole yourself with $1.5 million in dead cap, when you don’t really have to.

      Fundamentally, if you’re argument is “buyout Brouwer because he’s not good enough”, then I see the logic (and likely agree). Don’t frame it as a cap-savings issue though.

      If it were me, I’d just keep him as a 13th forward this year (assuming someone takes his spot on the fourth line), and reasses the buyout possibility next year if I need to–when the cap penalty will be only one-year beyond the life of his contract.

      I understand people wanting him bought-out just so that he’s not an option for the coach. I don’t think that’s happening though–that would be a tough sell to your ownership group. Better to just hope the guy you hired is smart enough to see it isn’t working, or that better options are available internally.

      • L.Kolkind

        That is a very good point. Calgary does have the cap space to keep him for another year, which will help in future years when Calgary has a new contract for Tkachuk, a top line RW and hopefully another good rw. Defering the cap hit while you can makes sense for this season. Brouwer while not being good enough to play in the NHL is whatever if he is a 13th forward the only problem is when coaches play him instead of better players, such as on the pp or pk.

      • freethe flames

        You are right about it not being a cap issue unless you are going big game hunting. If you are chasing Tavares then you might need the cap space. For me it’s about the fact that he has not delivered any of the on ice thing we were told he would bring and as such is a detriment to the team. But in saying that I also understand why they likely not buy him out. Enough about Brouwer.

      • Mickey O

        The thought of having Brouwer around at $4.5M to be the 13th man gives me the dry heaves. I wouldn’t want him on the team at $1.5M a year. He’s just plugging up a spot on the roster. He’s already the type of guy that sulks when he thinks he isn’t getting his deserved ice-time, he half-jokingly said that himself.

        Keeping him around because you might need to save some coin down the road seems like folly to me as well. If Treliving doesn’t move Brouwer somehow it will be a lingering problem all season. Cut the cord with the guy. Buy him out, tear the “A” off his jersey and give it to Tkachuk.

  • L.Kolkind

    Mildly on topic what are thoughts on going after Kovalchuk if we don’t get JT? He is an LW, but could be a great fit with Backlund and Frolik while Tkachuk plays with Bennett or on the top line with JG and Monahan.

      • L.Kolkind

        I thought so, but on hockeydb it said LW so thats what I wrote. He is an RW after further research.

        Kovalchuk is far younger 35 compared to 45 Jagr. He is coming back to win a cup him so could sign cheap and him with Gaudrea could be amazing. Kovalchuk kinda reminds me of Datsyuk with his longevity and was still quite a bit over a point per game in the KHL last year. I know the KHL is a lot easier to put up points, but I think he could get at least 60.

      • Beer League Coach

        Kovalchuk is reported to be looking for 4 or 5 year term and at his age it would be a mistake to sign him for anything more than 1 year at a time. So he is not a candidate for Flames. He won’t even consider a short term deal.

  • Ramskull

    I just don’t know where we find a top 6 RH RW that fits into our core age of 23-29. There’s none for sale so prying one from another team could have a disastrous cost.

    • freethe flames

      None that we know of. The key for me is how many teams need what we have to offer. Looking around the NHL there are teams that clearly need help on the back end and that is what we have to offer. The question is what do they value guys at. I have said various times before that it is so easy for us to over value or undervalue our own players and prospects based upon our own bias. What is a 27 year 20+min a night LHD who has averaged 36 points a year over 5 seasons and can play the PK and PP units worth; add that he has a good value contract. Is he worth a 45+ point 13 minute a night RW in the same age group? More/less? I can’t tell you what the market will be but I know what or when I would walk away from.

    • freethe flames

      So I just went through capfriendly and there are IMO 15 teams that could see an improvement on their D core by adding TJ Brodie(I excluded a few other teams that I just don’t expect us to trade with) now the question is do they have anything we need. Some of them may not value him as much as we do but there may be trading partners. Heck IMO some of them would improve their D core adding Stone.

  • freethe flames

    Christian: I seldom thank you for an article but thanks. While it’s nice to reread a history of the moves that led to our team not making the playoffs and there are lot of contributing factors to it; from bad coaching, bad deployment of players, injuries, lack of organizational depth and some questionable accessments of the talent level of the players we do have; I am more concerned about what you and others think need to be done. I would live to see an article of say you, Ari and Ryan’s views of what BT needs to do between now and the draft to improve not only this team but the entire organization.