Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

‘It should be hard to make the team’: Brad Treliving talks offseason moves’ impacts

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving has been a busy man since just before the National Hockey League’s entry draft two weeks ago. He’s added a lot of players to the organization, yet still found time to hold court with local media following Friday’s on-ice sessions at development camp.

Here are the main takeaways from Treliving’s chat.

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Treliving noted that the on-ice aspect of development camp is fairly secondary to the informational aspects of camp, as this camp is meant to prepare everybody for their summers of training more than it is meant to be guys fighting to win jobs.

It’s July. This is an information camp. It’s about giving them all the information so they can be as productive over the summer as they can so they’re ready to go to whatever camps they’re going to go to.

A few questions to the GM related to all the players the team has added. In terms of the message to the organization’s youngsters who may’ve been hoping for NHL time this season prior to all the signings, Treliving doesn’t think it’ll dissuade them.

Number one, it should be hard to make the team. If you’ve got a good team, it should be hard to make the team. I think our team is getting there. Secondarily, I don’t think these guys are rubbing their eyes and kicking stones. They’re motivated to come in here and play, so I think if nothing else it’s fuel to a lot of these guys and it’s going to be good competition. We’re a long way from training camp, but obviously there’s a certain couple of guys that are going to be in the mix come September.

He mentioned DIllon Dube, Spencer Foo and Juuso Valimaki as players that should push, but also noted he didn’t want to leave out any names, so there are definitely others in that group.

In a related question, he was asked about the added minor-league bodies and noted that many of the depth moves were made with a few specific goals in mind.

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As you become a deep organization, you’ve heard me talk of a bottom push, it should be hard everywhere. There’s been a plan in place, too. A couple of those signings – and locally we might not know these guys much – Buddy Robinson is a 25-year-old guy who’s looking at this to come and push for a team spot, and I think when you get to September he’s going to be a really interesting guy.

But what it also does when you do have some kids that are going to be playing in the American League, part of the signings are to spur the development of those guys – whether it’s a defensive partner for a certain guy, or a certain winger to play with a certain centerman – just to be better. It’s not done to take away from any opportunities for young guys, but it’s pro hockey: it should be earned, and it should be something that pushes everybody to be better.

Organizationally in the last few weeks we’ve gotten deeper on both teams. And we’ve got some kids that are going to be turning pro that will make us even deeper.

All indications from camp thus far are that Matthew Phillips, Valimaki and Dube will be turning pro despite being eligible to return to the Western Hockey League. Glenn Gawdin, who’s used up his junior eligibility, and Zach Fischer, signed to an AHL contract, will also be going pro.

Treliving had an interesting assessment of 2017 pick Adam Ruzicka:

His draft year, coming out of the Hlinka, he’s a first round pick. We ended up getting him in the fourth. Now, why? He’s got to become an everydayer. You see it in flashes, and then it goes away. You see it in flashes. If he can become an everydayer with the package that he’s got: size, skill, talent, reach. Very intriguing guy, but it’s doing it every day.

Goaltender Tyler Parsons is in town but won’t participate in the on-ice part of camp this weekend. He tweaked something doing his summer training.

    • SgtRoadBlock

      no Goaltender was more hurt then this guy Rick DiPietro,
      Tyler Parsons can be a gem in time.. London Knights spawn cream of the crop players.. Matty play with him

  • Getpucksdeep

    I notice Treliving and Conroy rarely mention Mangiapane and yet lots of posters here seem to have him in their fantasy line ups. I saw Mangiapane as well and I wasn’t overly impressed. Foo stood out more than any tryout forward and had a far greater impact on the play when he was in the line up. I also thought Shinkaruk was equal too what Mangiapane brought. Not knocking the kid but it’s clear there will only be a spot or two open now and barring another trade thats if Lazar and or Hathaway get sent down after camp. Foo looks good and I’m very interested to see what Calgary has in Dube.

      • Getpucksdeep

        I’m talking about all summer long in all the short interviews not just this article. Those guys mention Andersson, Valimaki and Kjillington all the time. I just never hear them glow about Mangiapane.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      I guess it’ll be interesting to see how much Mangiapane recovers from his surgery; keeping in mind he’s not around for Tre and Conroy to make comments about, I still think he’s a really good player, but yeah we shall see how fast he recovers. Likely he’ll start in the A’.

      • Brian McGrattan's Salute

        I guess what I saw from Mangiapane was some good offensive instincts. A good shot. Makes moves to get to some open space, and makes the play that should happen, and quick.

          • piscera.infada

            Didn’t Foo basically play on the top line though? A lot easier to standout playing with Gaudreau (or even Backlund), than it is stapled to Stajan and Lazar or Brouwer (as Mangiapane was).

          • Jumping Jack Flash

            Foo was gifted top line minutes with elite players at the end of the season while Mangi was buried on the 4th line with scrubs…. not apples to apples. Mangi needs to pack on size which might be difficult coming of his injury while Foo is getting bigger….could be the difference.

          • Redleader

            Exactly I’ve seen more from Foo,Shinkaruk and Klimchuck so far .mangy looks too soft and in 10 games played his way back to the AHL . Where does all the praise for him come from ? He didn’t do anything

        • HOCKEY83

          Mangi is a goal scorer. put him on a line with some talent rather than the 4th line that he was on last season when he saw some ice time and he’ll produce.

    • Korcan

      What makes Mangiapane so intriguing to me is how he, at his young age, was able to sustain his elevated play throughout his entire season in Stockton last year. Even when his linemates kept changing due to call ups, his play never really dropped off. He did struggle in his few games in Calgary, partly due to deployment, and it showed how he needs to get stronger if he wants to compete for a spot next season. His shoulder injury is unfortunate because it is no doubt hampering his summer of training. He likely will not be yet ready to compete for a spot in September.

      My guess is Tre, knowing this, is intentionally not mentioning him because he does not want to put any unnecessary pressure on the kid. He will likely have him start in Stockton where he has more time to train, then when his game is where it should be he will be one of the first call ups when a LHS forward goes down in Calgary.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I have been out of the country for 3 weeks with limited wifi access. I was trying to follow the trades and signings and could not be happier with the changes that Tre has made.

    Sorry to see Hamilton go but he is not a core piece to building a championship. I liked Ferland but he does not seem able to play his robust style anymore so his value is limited.

    I am pleased that we received Lindholm and Hanifin in the trade. I don’t know much about Ryan but he seems to fill a need. However, I will be disappointed if he bumps Janko to 4C since I still feel Janko needs to be in the top 6 either as a center or winger unless the 4 lines get relatively even playing time. I think the biggest losers are in the pipeline like Foo, Mangi, and Ras that we’re close to cracking the line up. I still expect Ras to be in the starting line up.

    • Styxx

      Eric Francis said a couple days ago that Hamilton wanted to be moved, that other GMs knew this which diminished Tre’s bargaining power, so Tre did very well in making the deal. He also stated Fox for sure would not have signed with Calgary, that he was only interested in NY area teams.

        • Off the wall

          I wonder what Eric Francis new gig is going to be now that he’s not writing for Postmedia?

          I really hope he’s not taking Roger Millions job. Please give that to Ryan Leslie!

      • Al Rain

        My read on today’s NHL is that if a team is thinking in traditional “4th line” terms, they’ve already lost.

        Jankowski, if he becomes good enough, could make a fine 4th C. Or Backlund for that matter.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        If by NY area teams you mean the Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Flyers, I’d get them into a bidding war in–pun intended–a New York minute. All are clubs that aren’t afraid to spend the bucks and have fanatical fanbases, and they are forever jostling with another to capture the largest market in America.

        Presumably Carolina had the same info that Tre had regarding Fox’s desired place to play, yet the Canes still wanted him. That suggests that the inclusion of Fox in the trade was not the hinge that made the deal swing. Did Tre think of Fox as a mere inducement to further sweeten an already sweet deal for the Canes?

        Tre gave up too much in that deal and that he didn’t even try and create a bidding war among the NY area clubs for the services of Fox suggests Tre capitulated way too early.

        • BringtheFire 2.0


          Negative. When you make a list of who left and who joined in this off season-when you look at the trade in the context of the bigger picture- he did not give up too much. Fox was never signing, Ferland isn’t much of it (sorry, Ferly) so it’s essentially Dougie for Lindholm and Hanafin, which is a win.

          Add James Neal and depth here and there, and it was the right move. Our roster is better.

          (Provided Brodie returns to form with Gio, of course).

          • Derzie

            How quick people are to devalue players they gave up and over value players who haven’t played one game. Like clockwork until the reality kicks in in October. We got worse on defense by a lot. Full stop.

      • HOCKEY83

        Every talking head in the league has the same story regarding Hamilton and Fox so it’s not just Francis. Also it was brought up on The Fan that the Moxies / Museum story that was turned into a monster buy the fans was just a what if and never happened.

  • oilcanboyd

    The philosophy of earning your spot in the lineup is all well and good but as long as hanger ons like Lazar (and Brouwer) are on the team when they have been spinning their wheels in the NHL leads the fan base to think that is not in practise with the Flames.

    • MDG1600

      Guys like Freddie Hamilton and Lazar staying on the roster too long was a reflection of the the teams lack of depth at the forward position. There really wasn’t anyone pushing them off the roster. Hopefully this year will be different.

      • MDG1600

        Or a guy like Mangiapane can play in 20 minutes a night in Stockton and develop properly. He had 0 points in 10 NHL games so he probably wasn’t really a better alternative than Lazar at this point in his development. In fact Lazar is a good example of why teams shouldn’t rush guys in to the NHL. Lazar only ever played 13 games in the AHL and it doesn’t seem to have done him any favours.

    • cberg

      This is so true. The policy of “have to earn a spot” only applies to the prospects, while if you are a vet you get a free pass and a long list of excuses. Certainly a better team is going to be harder to make, but this earning needs to go for all the players. It hasn’t in the past. There is no indication it will in the future.

  • Trevy

    With all the talk about the competition in our forward lineups, I keep wondering about our dmen. There’s been a lot of talk on how Valimaki is very close to making the jump to the big league, along with Andersson who showed he belonged last season and Treliving hinting that Prout could conceivably be the 7th defenseman. It definitely sounds like there will be more tinkering done on the back end, with the notion of at least one dman being moved out. I think the whole Karlsson saga is what’s holding things up right now in what will surely become a domino effect once that’s settled

    • FL?MES

      People keep bringing up Karlson as being a sticking point for other trades being made and I could be missing something here, but I don’t see how Karlson being available would affect the Flames ability to move a guy like Stone. They are different types of players and fill different needs.

      • Trevy

        I get what you’re saying, but it’s been always speculated that Stone would be a great fit in Ottawa, not only to reunite the brothers, but also to fill the gap where Karlsson would vacate. That’s just one scenario, but other teams that are involved in Karlsson that lose out, may also look for an alternative replacement. I realize that you can’t really say Stone is the consolation to someone like Karlsson, but he is better than any free agent dman that’s left, is a right shot, youngish and has good size and won’t cost much in a trade. Salary still may be a sticking point though

        • HOCKEY83

          Talk is that Karlsson would be involved in a trade that sent Kucherov and sergachev out of Tampa. This is something that could happen because Kuch and Sergachev dont have NTC’s where as in Dallas where the other rumor is all their stars have NMC or NTC and there’s not a chance any player would ever want to choose to play for Ottawa right now. There is no way Stone would put Ottawa as one of his locations to be traded to on a list. Gaurantee you Ottawa is on his 15 no trade list. I imagine Ottawa is on every players no trade list.

      • Off the wall

        You’re right in a way Puck.
        It seems as though once Tavares was signed in Toronto, it did create a lot of movement for other teams looking for offence.

        GM’s have a weird habit of playing the waiting game, until a big name is moved. Karlsson has absolutely nothing to do with Stone, that’s for sure, however once defensive pickings become slim, GM’s always look for possible additions to their lineup.

        Stone just may be that guy.

  • Demeo8

    I think this team got better on paper but until they play it’s up in the air as to how good this team can be. sanjose la, maybe vegas have the upper hand going into the season all still have great goalies and offensive weapons vegas who knows lol hopefully betting on winning more face offs and basically switching out ferland for neal and hanafin for hamilton works, I guess we’ll see. neal is clearly an upgrade over ferland hanafin has hamilton potential but can he reach it. I also think bennett will flourish under bill Peters cuz he’s a hard ass and Sam works harder when he’s getting pushed plays better motivated by coaching

  • SgtRoadBlock

    i Don’t see any Rookie cracking the Line up This year, This is the Roster we got a lot vets and a Goaltender backup battle to be won…
    New Coach playbook has to be written up so the Ahl Coaches can train the Rookies before call up.
    we will see Rookies come up for ir play time ,

  • calgaryfan

    Treliving already has his team picked, he knows who is on the team, at least to start the season. If you have a one way contract and don’t need waivers your chances of being sent to Stocton are slim.

  • sRo

    Bull crap! I can tell you the whole lineup right now. Gaudreau-Monahan-Neal Thachuk-Backlund-Lindholm Bennet-Jankowski-Frolik Hathaway-Ryan-Brouwer Brodie-Giordano Hanifin-Hamonic Kulak-Stone Smith Rittich Lazar-some plumber they’ll sign out of camp Prout He says the same thing about competition every year, yet I predict their exact team every year in early July.

    • FL?MES

      It’s crappy because Brouwer has decent size (6’3” and 215 lbs) and we could use this in our lineup. Really hoping he comes to camp motivated and puts on a show. Maybe BP can show him how to screen a goalie and MT can give him some tipping pointers?

      • HAL MacInnis

        I hope you’re right. With his physical presence, he’s been very disappointing, to say the least. Gulutzan was, however, a friggin’ weirdo (fits right in with Edmonton) so maybe Peters can bring out the best in Brouwer.

        Again, I hope you’re right, but that hope ain’t much.

  • freethe flames

    Here’s hoping he gets something done log term with both Hanifin and Lindholm.

    Saying every position should be earned is refreshing; where has that been the last little while. If it’s true then he should be buying out Brouwer; nothing he has done for the last two seasons has been earned. He wears a letter and nothing from his on ice performance warrants it, he has been given every opportunity to earn his pay and has failed; meanwhile other guys watch him play; that has to be disheartening.

    Those who are comparing Foo and Mangiapane must watch different games than me. When Mangiapane was up he played 4th line and was still creating chances with his speed, Foo got to play with Johnny but when he was moved off that line looked lost at least that was what I saw.

    Johnny talking up Buddy is great; hopefully he pans out.

    Time for nap.

  • freethe flames

    So as the Flames signed Buddy Robinson on the advice of Johnny maybe we should look at him. 6’5″ RHS 235lbs and has played 5 years in the AHL: 31/34/23/31/51* points. Last year he had 51 points playing in Jets organization. So lets give a look. How about one game with this as the forward groups: Johnny/Monny/Buddy, Tkachuk/Janko/Neal, Mangaipane/Backs/Lindholm, Bennett/Ryan/Frolik.

  • Eggs Bennett

    I liked what I saw from Mangiapane the few games I saw live last season. Thought he made lots of good simple plays under pressure and used his speed to play effectively enter the zone. It’s too bad that he didn’t have anyone to pass to after he gained the zone, which could explain the lack of production… hopefully he gets another shot with better systems and better line mates