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Assessing the Calgary Flames’ drafting under Brad Treliving

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Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
7 months ago
During Brad Treliving’s tenure as general manager of the Calgary Flames, he oversaw nine drafts. Some turned out better than others, but how does his record look in the aggregate?
Let’s dive in and take a look at Treliving’s legacy at the draft table via the 54 selections he made.

The hits – picks who played in the NHL

Of Treliving’s 54 picks, 12 of them – one in every 4.5 picks – have actually played NHL games. The promising dozen are Sam Bennett (2014 1st-round), Rasmus Andersson (2015 2nd-round), Oliver Kylington (2015 2nd-round), Andrew Mangiapane (2015 6th-round), Matthew Tkachuk (2016 1st-round), Dillon Dube (2016 2nd-round), Matthew Phillips (2016 6th-round), Juuso Valimaki (2017 1st-round), Adam Ruzicka (2017 4th-round), Jakob Pelletier (2019 1st-round), Dustin Wolf (2019 7th-round) and Matt Coronato (2021 1st-round).
Granted, a few of these guys have only played a game or two. And it’s worth noting that, yes, Valimaki was lost on waivers for nothing and that Phillips will likely be lost as a Group 6 free agent. But everybody else is either a current asset or was able be flipped for other assets (like Bennett and Tkachuk were), so the Flames got some value out of most of these selections.

Works in progress – picks that are currently in the system

So, the Calgary Wranglers just had one of the best American Hockey League seasons ever. In addition to Phillips, Pelletier and Wolf, who were all big pieces of their regular season success (but are captured in the first category of picks), the Flames have another seven players on the Wranglers who are picks that they developed: Martin Pospisil (2018 4th-round), Emilio Pettersen (2018 6th-round), Connor Zary (2020 1st-round), Yan Kuznetsov (2020 2nd-round), Jeremie Poirier (2020 3rd-round), Ilya Solovyov (2020 7th-round) and William Stromgren (2021 2nd-round).
The Flames also have ECHLers Ilya Nikolaev (2019 4th-round) and Rory Kerins (2020 6th-round) in the system, as well as WHL star Lucas Ciona (2021 6th-round) waiting to go pro in 2023-24.
One of the purposes of drafting is to stock the developmental cupboards, and the Flames have done that pretty well lately.

Incompletes – picks that signed but never made the NHL

The Flames drafted and signed six others under Treliving that failed to really pan out in their system and played in the minors but never played any NHL games. Those six are goalies Mason McDonald (2014 2nd-round) and Tyler Parsons (2016 2nd-round), and forwards Hunter Smith (2014 3rd-round), Austin Carroll (2014 7th-round), Eetu Tuulola (2016 6th-round) and Dmitry Zavgorodniy (2018 7th-round).
Of these guys, McDonald and Parsons seem like the biggest missed opportunities.

Swings and misses – picks that weren’t signed

13 players selected by Treliving didn’t end up signing with the Flames:
  • Two of them, Brandon Hickey (2014 3rd-round) and Adam Fox (2016 3rd-round), had their rights traded by the club.
  • Two more, Adam Ollas Mattsson (2014 6th-round) and Zach Fischer (2017 5th-round), signed AHL deals but never formally entered the entry level system.
  • The others were primarily picks that didn’t develop as hoped and so weren’t offered contracts: Pavel Karnaukhov (2015 5th-round), Riley Bruce (2015 7th-round), Linus Lindstrom (2016 4th-round), Mitchell Mattson (2016 4th-round), Stepan Falkovsky (2016 7th-round), D’Artagnan Joly (2017 6th-round), Filip Sveningsson (2017 7th-round), Milos Roman (2018 4th-round) and Ryan Francis (2020 5th-round).
Of these, the biggest missed opportunity was definitely Fox, but the Flames still managed to get value for the pick via his trade to Carolina.

Still eligible to sign

Finally, there are a bunch of players that – as of this writing – are still eligible to sign with the Flames and enter the entry-level system, but haven’t yet. These players include Demetrios Koumontzis (2018 4th-round), Josh Nodler (2019 5th-round), Lucas Feuk (2019 4th-round), Jake Boltmann (2020 3rd-round), Daniil Chechelev (2020 4th-round), Cole Huckins (2021 3rd-round), Cam Whynot (2021 3rd-round), Jack Beck (2021 6th-round), Arsenii Sergeev (2021 7th-round), Topi Ronni (2022 2nd-round), Parker Bell (2022 5th-round) and Cade Littler (2022 7th-round).
Of these players, Feuk and Chechelev are playing in the minors on AHL contracts signed with the Wranglers.
A good amount of these listed players probably will end up signing, but there aren’t any sure-fire home-run picks – an optimistic projection of a couple of these players is that they turn into reliable depth or become AHL needle-movers.
What’s your take on Brad Treliving’s drafting as GM? Is the farm system in a better place than it was when he arrived in 2014? Let us know in the comments!

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