Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Draft week is Brad Treliving’s time for big moves

Everybody has a favourite time of year. Some people love Halloween. Some people love Christmas. Based on his level of activity and enthusiasm, it seems that Calgary Flames general manager loves the annual NHL Draft. For most of his tenure, he’s used the draft (or the week prior) to make his biggest moves.

When the 2014 draft came around, Treliving had been in his job for 10 weeks. The draft work had largely been done by then. At the draft, Treliving swapped a third rounder to Chicago for Brandon Bollig. By his standards, a minor move.

In 2015, Treliving made arguably his biggest draft swing. After adding a slew of picks in trade deadline swaps – they gained a pair of second rounders and a third rounder for sending away Curtis Glencross and Sven Baertschi – the Flames packaged their own first and second rounders, plus a second they gained in a prior trade, and sent them to Boston for Dougie Hamilton. On the second day of the draft, Treliving traded up into the late second round to select Oliver Kylington.

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In 2016, the big swing was using a second round pick to grab Brian Elliott from St. Louis. The Flames had a couple extra picks from trade deadline swaps that sold off Kris Russell and Jiri Hudler, so they were able to add Elliott and make a lot of picks, too.

In 2017, with the Vegas expansion draft looming, Treliving traded a third round pick, college prospect Brandon Hickey and pending free agent Chad Johnson to Arizona for Mike Smith. The conditional pick connected to the Smith trade – it could’ve become a second rounder in 2020 – made a trade at the draft for Travis Hamonic pretty complicated. The Flames sent their 2018 first rounder, their 2018 second rounder, and a second rounder either in 2019 or 2020 to the Islanders in exchange for Hamonic and a fourth rounder in 2019 or 2020.

In 2018, the Flames entered the weekend with no first round pick. And no second round pick. And no third round pick. But Treliving made another big trade, moving Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and college prospect Adam Fox to Carolina for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin.

The 2019 draft week was the rare year with no big splash, as the salary cap was unexpectedly announced as being a couple million dollars lower than anticipated. Between the lower cap and ongoing negotiations with then-restricted free agent Matthew Tkachuk, there wasn’t much wiggle room for Treliving to make a trade.

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But history has shown that more often than not, Treliving uses the draft and the week before to add fuel to the proverbial trade negotiation fire. And the draft has often been the occasion to lock down trade details and pull the trigger.

After two disappointing playoff appearances, time will tell what kind of splash Treliving can make in an effort to improve his hockey club.