Assessing the Calgary Flames’ player re-signings under Brad Treliving
Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike7 months ago
Over his nine years at the helm of the Calgary Flames, former general manager Brad Treliving had to hammer out new deals for a lot of prominent players. He developed a reputation as a tough negotiator, but one that seemed to do a fairly good job crafting deals that were fair for both sides and provided some decent value for the Flames.
Here’s a rundown of the trends and tendencies Treliving showed in re-signing players that Flames held the rights to.
Before we dive in, a minor distinction: we’re looking at restricted free agents and pending unrestricted free agents that re-upped with the Flames. For UFAs, we’re giving a two day buffer in terms of the opening of free agency – if a UFA re-signed with the Flames the day free agency opened, most of those contract talks occurred before he went to market, so we’re calling that a re-signing for these purposes.
Like our UFA look-back, we’re looking primarily at deals that committed $3 million or more.
Six players had their rights acquired by the Flames and Treliving (re-)signed them before they played a single game with the Flames:
- Dougie Hamilton (acquired from Boston) signed a five-year, $34.5 million deal that was all salary but had a full no-trade clause in the last three years. [He was traded to Carolina before the end of his second year, before his NTC kicked in.]
- Elias Lindholm (acquired from Carolina) signed a six-year, $29.1 million deal. It featured no bonuses or clauses whatsoever.
- Noah Hanifin (acquired from Carolina) signed a six-year, $29.7 million deal six weeks after Lindholm signed. His deal had $3 million in signing bonuses and a modified no-trade clause in the last two seasons.
- Nikita Zadorov (acquired from Chicago) signed a one-year, $3.75 million “show me” contract. It featured no bonuses or clauses.
- Jonathan Huberdeau (acquired from Florida) signed an eight-year, $84 million contract. It featured $61.5 million in signing bonuses, a franchise record, and a full no-move clause throughout (with a modified no-trade clause added for the final two years).
- MacKenzie Weegar (acquired from Florida) signed an eight-year, $50 million contract. It featured $8 million in bonuses and a full no-trade for the first four years and a modified no-trade for the final four years.
Treliving signed 23 established Flames to new deals (worth $3+ million) as well. Most of them were straight-forward deals featuring no signing bonuses or added clauses. The “straight-forward” deals include new pacts for Mikael Backlund, Karri Ramo, Lance Bouma, Micheal Ferland, Sam Bennett (twice), Mark Jankowski, David Rittich, Andrew Mangiapane, Juuso Valimaki, Dillon Dube, Zadorov, Oliver Kylington and Dan Vladar.
Most of these deals are fairly unremarkable extensions. The most noteworthy was Bouma’s, which had the final year bought out. But the remainder of them were fairly run-of-the-mill market-rate extensions. (Ferland and Bennett were traded during the final year of their deals, while Valimaki was claimed by Arizona on waivers early in the final year of his.)
Nine other deals were handed out that involved bonuses, clauses, or both. Eight of them were to players you can easily argue were core players. One wasn’t.
- TJ Brodie signed a five-year, $23.252 million deal in 2014 that had no bonuses but had a modified no-trade clause for three seasons.
- Mark Giordano signed a six-year, $40.5 million deal in 2015 that had $4 million in signing bonuses, a no-trade clause for four seasons and a modified no-trade for the other two.
- Sean Monahan signed a seven-year, $44.625 million deal in 2016 that had $3.5 million in signing bonuses and a modified no-trade for the final three years.
- Johnny Gaudreau signed a six-year, $40.5 million deal in 2016 that had $6.5 million in signing bonuses and a modified no-trade in the final year.
- Michael Stone signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal in 2017 that had no bonuses but had a modified no-trade clause for all three seasons. [This deal was bought out after two seasons.]
- Mikael Backlund signed a six-year, $32.1 million deal in 2018 that had $4 million in signing bonuses, a full no-trade for the first three years and a modified no-trade for the final three years.
- Matthew Tkachuk signed a three-year, $21 million deal in 2019 that had $7.5 million in bonuses but no clauses.
- Rasmus Andersson signed a six-year, $27.3 million deal in 2020 that had no bonuses, but had a modified no-trade in the final two seasons.
- Andrew Mangiapane signed a three-year, $17.4 million deal in 2022 with $1 million in signing bonuses and a modified no-trade in the final two seasons.
The Giordano signing, the first major deal Treliving tackled as GM, essentially served as the team’s internal cap. At the time Giordano was the team’s captain and best player, and locking him into such a lengthy, team-friendly deal seem to impose a salary structure on the rest of the team. During Giordano’s time as a Flame, only Gaudreau ($6.75 million) and Tkachuk ($7 million) ever had a similar cap hit as the captain.
Treliving’s tendencies appeared to be bridging players on one, two or three-year deals until he figured out if they were core pieces, at which point he would go longer and also dangle signing bonuses and clauses to incentive these players to sign these lengthy deals.
In general he didn’t go too heavy on signing bonuses, though Huberdeau is a distinct outlier, with his $61.5 million in bonuses doubling what Treliving had handed out in re-signing deals to that point. Heck, Treliving gave out $56 million in signing bonuses to everybody else he signed to major deals as GM.
Treliving was similarly stingy with no-move clauses, preferring to hand out modified no-trade clauses instead, which gave players a bit of a safety net while maintaining the team’s flexibility in terms of moving players mid-contract.
Which of Treliving’s “re-signing” deals has aged the best? The worst? Let us know in the comments!
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