The Calgary Flames went into the trade deadline second overall in the National Hockey League. Speaking to the media in Manhattan, general manager Brad Treliving tried to put things into perspective when reflecting on the deadline process.
Adding Fantenberg adds to team depth
Treliving noted that the Flames were familiar with Oscar Fantenberg, adding they scouted him in Sweden and the KHL. Given his recent playoff experience, the team thinks he’ll give them some depth.
“Left shot, can play either side,” said Treliving. “Gives us depth. One thing that we were cognizant about this whole time is we’re in a position that we’re in based upon the group that’s here. If we can support it more, we want to do that. And when I look at our young defense, we want to support them rather than replace them.”
The Flames are carrying seven defensemen. Fantenberg gives them eight NHL defenders, the impending return of Michael Stone from his blood clot gives them nine, and Juuso Valimaki is almost up to speed in Stockton after missing over two months with a high ankle sprain. Simply put: they have options.
Up front, the forwards that have been brought up from Stockton throughout the season were brought up to assess the team’s depth. The team seems comfortable with their options there, too.
Keeping up with Western Conference moves
Given all the hubbub and hype about the big rentals available at the forward positions, it’s probably natural to be a bit disappointed that the Flames didn’t add a big piece – especially when Vegas added Mark Stone, San Jose added Gustav Nyquist and Winnipeg added Kevin Hayes. That said: Treliving seems very pleased with the team’s performance through 62 games and didn’t want to make big moves just to make them.
“I said coming into this deadline our goal was to try to help our team without taking off of our team,” said Treliving. “But that caveat was always there: we weren’t prepared to move Juuso Valimaki, we weren’t prepared to move Rasmus Andersson, we weren’t prepared to go deep into first round picks. Those were the acquisition costs for a lot of the people out there.”
The Flames’ hockey ops group set their prices weeks ago, determined the pieces they weren’t comfortable with moving, and stuck to their guns.
“We’re not going to sit here and for very short-term help impact the long-term of this team,” said Treliving. “I’ve got a great deal of faith in this team, and I said it many times: if we do nothing today, the same 23 bodies that have gotten us this far, they’re still here. If we can add to that, great. If we had to do something that’s going to impact us moving forward, that just didn’t make sense for us.”
There was no appetite for deficit spending from the Flames this year.
“We’re pretty excited about our team,” said Treliving. “The fact that we wake up and I’m gonna go have a cold beer and still have guys like Valimaki in our organization, that’s a pretty good day. Let’s all put it in perspective: we got a good hockey team and we’re excited about the last 20.”
This and that
Treliving also appeared on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and mentioned a couple interesting items.
GM Treliving confirms team papered Lazar down and back up from AHL. They have three recalls between now and end of the season.
Neal (lower body) to be re-evaluated after the trip. Valimaki up to speed in the AHL. Expect Stone to be blueline option at some point, too. #Flames
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) February 25, 2019
The team’s cap situation is good, in that they have some wiggle room for recalls and likely can fit in the expected performance bonuses – $850,000 for Matthew Tkachuk and likely a mixture of smaller ones for other young players on entry-level deals – without significantly impacting next year’s cap.