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Brad Treliving has traded a first-rounder three times (but always for players with term)

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
Friends, it’s trade deadline season. So far, we’ve seen three 2023 first-round selections traded. The New York Islanders moved theirs for Bo Horvat. The New York Rangers moved one of theirs for Vladimir Tarasenko. The Toronto Maple Leafs just moved theirs for Ryan O’Reilly.
So with the Calgary Flames probably still looking at upgrading their roster before the trade deadline, it’s worth looking at Brad Treliving’s history when it comes to moving his team’s first-rounders. He’s done it three times, but always for players with term.
Just before the 2015 NHL Draft, the Flames traded their 2015 first-rounder (plus a pair of 2015 first-rounders, one of which they acquired from Washington for Curtis Glencross) to the Boston Bruins in exchange for restricted free agent Dougie Hamilton. At the time, Hamilton was unsigned and had four seasons left until he would qualify for unrestricted free agency.
Was a first and two second-rounds a bit steep? For where the Flames were in their progression, it was a solid gamble. With the Flames punting on Glencross and Sven Baertschi and getting extra picks, they had currency to gamble with, and Hamilton’s offensive prowess was probably worth chasing down. He was signed for six seasons after the trade – extending his controllable window as an asset – and losing out on a mid-round first-round pick for an asset as tantalizing as Hamilton was, even in retrospect, made lots of sense.
At the 2017 NHL Draft, the Flames traded their 2018 first-rounder (plus second-rounders in 2018 and 2019, after some conditions in the Mike Smith trade were settled) to the Islanders for Travis Hamonic. At the time, the Flames were coming off a playoff sweep at the hands of Anaheim and had lost four really close games. They had been pushed around a bit by the Ducks, and as such, they likely valued the combination of physicality and stay-at-home style his brought to the table. He was also under contract for three seasons at a $3.857 million cap hit.
Was a first and two seconds an overpay? For the offensive impacts Hamonic offered, yes. He was also a minus player for two of his three seasons in Calgary – for whatever plus/minus is worth – and his defensive underlyings were also fairly underwhelming. So, yeah, it was probably an overpay for attributes that the Flames felt they were lacking from their playoff exit. But three years of team control for a player with a fairly palatable cap hit is something you can wrap your head around, at least.
Finally, six weeks prior to the 2022 trade deadline, the Flames traded their 2022 first-rounder, plus a 2023 fifth-rounder, Tyler Pitlick and the rights to Emil Heineman for Tyler Toffoli. Toffoli was under contract for two additional seasons at a $4.25 million cap hit. He was a logical choice to acquire, given his position (right wing), his handedness (right), and his history with Darryl Sutter.
(While it doesn’t fit the exercise, the Flames acquired an extra conditional first-rounder from Florida in the Matthew Tkachuk trade, and moved it to Montreal with Sean Monahan to open up the cap space to sign Nazem Kadri. It wasn’t their own first-rounder, but it allowed them to add a player with term, so it sorta fits the overall pattern of how Treliving uses first-round picks as trade chips.)
In short, friends, if you’re anxious about the Flames moving a first-rounder at the trade deadline for a rental, history suggests that’s not how they’ve done business with Treliving at the helm.
(The dynamics regarding the status of their first-rounders is quite complex. We’ll get into that later.)

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