If the Calgary Flames make a significant trade at the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver and you’re surprised, you probably haven’t been paying attention over the last five years. This will be Brad Treliving’s sixth draft as Calgary’s general manager and he’s forged a reputation for himself. Treliving has made a trade in all five of his prior drafts, with four being of the significant variety. Don’t expect that to change next week.
2014: Toeing the waters
|To Calgary:||To Chicago:|
|Brandon Bollig||3rd round pick, 2014|
I still wonder if this was a Treliving trade or one spearhead by Brian Burke. Bollig had the type of attributes Burke seems to hold in high regard, while Treliving had only been on the job a few weeks at the time. Regardless, the price for a player of Bollig’s caliber was high when the deal was made, and that was proven to be true over the course of his time in Calgary.
Bollig played two seasons with the Flames totaling nine points in 116 games before finishing his career in the American League. Acquiring Bollig would have been fine for a price that made sense, I guess; unfortunately a top 90 pick doesn’t qualify as sensible. There is good news, though: this trade was by far the least successful over the last five draft days.
2015: The first big splash
|To Calgary:||To Boston:|
|Dougie Hamilton||1st round pick, 2015
2nd round pick, 2015
2nd round pick, 2015
Whether you were a big Hamilton fan or not, it’s tough to argue this trade wasn’t a big time ‘W’ for Calgary. In his three seasons with the Flames, Hamilton scored 42 goals off the blueline while playing in all but one game. Sure, Hamilton had his issues while in Calgary, but the offence alone made the price paid by Treliving a fair one.
For his final two seasons with the Flames, Hamilton made up one of the NHL’s best pairings with Mark Giordano, which is something that can’t be discounted. I feel Giordano-Hamilton was a better duo than Giordano-Brodie, while fully recognizing how important the captain was to both partners.
Finally, when you take into account the deal that sent Hamilton to Carolina, it’s fair to say Calgary got great return on their initial investment.
2016: Searching for a goalie
|To Calgary:||To St. Louis:|
|Brian Elliott||2nd round pick, 2016
3rd round pick, 2018
Elliott had an up-and-down season with the Flames after being acquired at the 2016 draft, and we all remember how horribly it ended. But while the trade didn’t end up being a home-run for Treliving, I really don’t fault him for taking a swing. In desperate need of a number one goalie, Calgary took a shot with one of the best available options at the time.
Elliott’s numbers entering 2016-17 had been consistently strong when used as part of a tandem. The Flames were hoping that would translate with a larger workload, which didn’t work out as planned. Still, Elliott had a great second half of the season and I still wonder how different we’d feel if he hadn’t soiled the sheets in games three and four against Anaheim.
Either way, I don’t look back on this trade as a bad one for Treliving. He had a need to address and pounced on an opportunity. Yes, it didn’t work out as intended, but it was a worthy gamble knowing the price Calgary paid.
2017: Another big name blueliner
|To Calgary:||To New York Islanders:|
4th round pick, 2019
|1st round pick, 2018
2nd round pick, 2018
2nd round pick, 2019
Oh what a difference a year makes, hey? One year ago, this trade looked iffy after Hamonic’s average first year with the Flames. Fast forward to this summer and I think people are feeling a whole lot better about the price paid. Hamonic’s second season with Calgary was solid and consistent as he did what he was brought in to do: solidify the team’s second pairing.
Hamonic is a bona fide top four defenceman and his asking price from the Islanders was a commensurate one. This trade won’t ever look like a steal for the Flames, but they paid market value for a player that looks pretty important heading into the coming season. If Hamonic re-signs next summer, the trio of picks given up will look even more like a fair price.
2018: The Carolina blockbuster
|To Calgary:||To Carolina:|
Through the first half of the 2018-19 season, this looked like it might be the best trade in franchise history (I’m exaggerating just a touch). Thanks in large part to Lindholm’s great first few months playing with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, this looked like a runaway for Calgary. Things normalized on both sides as the season progressed to the point where this looks like a deal both teams would do again.
There are still a few things to determine before the fate of this trade is sealed. Is Lindholm’s production sustainable? How much higher is Hanifin’s ceiling? Do the Hurricanes lose Ferland in free agency? Is Hamilton staying in Raleigh? All of these questions need to be answered before we can make a final ruling. For now, it’s safe to say both teams are happy with year one.