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Brad Treliving’s Calgary Flames NHL trade deadline history hints at what could come

With the NHL team sitting four points out of the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference, Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving’s history suggests he’ll steer clear of deals altogether.



Will No. 9 find Brad Treliving feeling fine enough to make a deal or two or will he hold the line with his roster?

March 3 will be his ninth NHL trade deadline as Calgary Flames general manager.

With the NHL team sitting four points out of the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference, Treliving's history suggests he'll steer clear of deals altogether. 

By the time Friday rolls around, though, who knows? He might be in sell mode, which is something he's done when the Flames have been even a half-dozen points out of the postseason race and the prospects for making a run unlikely.

And if the hot-and-cold team somehow pulls itself back into the playoff equation?

If history means anything, that's the overriding factor: contention.

Let's take a look back.

Calgary Flames forward Tyler Toffoli

Calgary Flames forward Tyler Toffoli

Loading up early


February 14, 2022

To Flames:

  • Tyler Toffolli

To Canadiens:

  • Tyler Pitlick
  • Emil Heineman
  • 2022 1st round pick (Cgy)
  • 2023 5th round pick (Cgy)

March 16, 2022

To Flames:

  • Calle Jarnkrok

To Kraken

  • 2022 2nd round pick (Fla)
  • 2023 3rd round pick (Cgy)
  • 2024 7th round pick (Cgy)

March 21, 2022

To Flames:

Ryan Carpenter

To Blackhawks:

2024 5th round pick (Cgy)

March 21

To Flames

  • Future considerations

To Canadiens:

  • Michael McNiven

Treliving struck early in 2022. The Flames GM secured a top-six winger in Tyler Toffolli in mid-February and a depth centre in Calle Jarnkrok five days before the trade deadline to reinforce a Flames lineup that had been at or near the top of the Pacific Division standings most of the season. 

"I like the makeup of our team. It's a real business-like approach,” Treliving said following the deadline. “They're steady at the wheel. I like the chemistry of the group. They believe they're a good team. There's a good feel around it. I'm glad we could add to it."

Treliving paid a significant price to the Canadiens for Toffolli, giving up bottom-six winger Tyler Pitlick, a significant prospect in Emil Heineman — acquired a year before in the Sam Bennett deal — their first-round pick in 2022 and a 2023 fifth-rounder. 

Jarnkrok cost them three picks over the following three drafts, including the second-rounder they had acquired from Florida a year before. 

Toffolli was in the second of a four-year contract while Jarnkrok was a rental who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the subsequent summer.

On deadline day March 21, Treliving picked up depth centre Ryan Carpenter from the Chicago Blackhawks for a fifth-round pick in 2024 and unloaded minor-league goalie Michael McNiven to the Montreal Canadiens for future considerations.

The moves helped keep the Flames on top of the Pacific Division standings, making it to the second round of the playoffs before bowing to the Edmonton Oilers in five games.

Cutting losses


April 11, 2021

To Flames:

  • 2022 3rd round pick (Tor)

To Maple Leafs:

  • David Rittich

April 12, 2021

To Flames:

  • Emil Heineman
  • 2022 2nd round pick (Fla)

To Panthers:

  • Sam Bennett
  • 2022 6th round pick (Cgy)

The long-rumoured departure of Sam Bennett from the Flames ranks finally came true at the 2021 trade deadline, with the fourth-overall pick by Calgary in 2014 shipped to the Florida Panthers for prospect Emil Heineman and a second-rounder in 2022. 

The hot-and-cold Bennett, then 24, had been struggling with the Flames, having scored just four goals in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign. 

The Flames, who had hired Darryl Sutter to replace Geoff Ward as head coach a little more than a month before, were six points out of a playoff spot in the all-Canadian North Division at the time. Calgary would ultimately miss the postseason.

Also jettisoned from the Flames lineup was pending UFA goalie David Rittich, sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a third-round pick.

Flames defenceman Derek Forbort against Stars counterpart John Klingberg during the 2020 playoffs.

Blueline reinforcements over forward add


February 24, 2020

To Flames:

  • Derek Forbort

To Kings:

  • 2021 4th round pick (Cgy)

February 24, 2020

To Flames:

  • Erik Gustafsson

To Blackhawks:

  • 2020 3rd round pick (Cgy)

February 24, 2020

To Flames:

  • Future considerations

To Sharks:

  • Brandon Davidson

While some felt the Flames could use an additional top-six winger to bolster the lineup heading into the 2020 trade deadline, Treliving pulled the trigger on a trio of deals involving defencemen.

Coming to Calgary were Derek Forbort (Kings) and Erik Gustafsson (Blackhawks), and going was Brandon Davidson (Sharks), with picks and, in the case of Davidson, future considerations going the other way.

Injuries on the blue line to captain Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic had been seeing others playing higher in the lineup for longer periods of time than expected.

“What we tried to do is put it on this group and say, ‘where are the areas where we can help?'” Treliving told the Canadian Press following the deadline. “Special-team units is an area that we can help improve ourselves from the blueline, but also eat away some minutes of some people who we may be overworking.”

Both Forbort and Gustafson were pending unrestricted free agents. Both headed elsewhere following the season and playoff abbreviated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elias Lindholm joined the Flames in the 2018 offseason.

Sticking with winning roster


February 25, 2019

To Flames:

  • Oscar Fantenberg

To Kings:

  • 2020 4th round pick (Cgy)

The die had already been cast in the off-season and by the torrid, dominant performance by the Flames under new head coach Bill Peters.

Treliving had made some significant additions to the Flames roster ahead of the 2018-18 season, acquiring Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes and signing James Neal in free agency.

And it all came together for them. The Flames sat atop the Western Conference at the trade deadline.

Rightly so, Treliving wanted to see what the existing roster could do. He stood pat with the lineup, making a solitary depth move by acquiring defenceman Oscar Fantenberg from the Kings for a fourth-rounder in 2020.

While the Flames secured the top Western playoff seed, they were surprised in the first round by the Colorado Avalanche, who beat them in five games.

Flames GM Brad Treliving

Flames GM Brad Treliving

Small move


February 26, 2018

To Flames:

  • Nick Shore

To Senators:

  • 2019 7th round pick (Cgy)

Treliving had cooled expectations in the days before the 2018 deadline, saying he didn't expect to make a big splash. And he followed through on that.

The Flames found themselves in the mix for the final Western Conference wildcard spot come the big day on Feb. 6, tied with the Los Angeles Kings but technically on the outside looking in thanks to tie-breaking factors.

Just one move by Treliving, adding centre Nick Shore from the Senators for a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft. 

Shore was pegged for bottom-six duty with veteran Kris Versteeg out of the lineup due to a hip injury for which he'd had surgery in December. 

Versteeg returned for two games in March, his final pair in the NHL as he signed in the KHL the next season. 

Shore played nine games for the Flames, scoring a goal and two assists. The unrestricted free agent was not resigned.

There had been chatter that the Flames might try to bolster their goaltending at the deadline with the ailing Mike Smith, who was signed in the summer as a free agent, out of the lineup at the time as well. That didn't occur, of course. 

Smith — in many ways the team's MVP that season when healthy — missed a month of action and returned to the Flames lineup on March 11, going 2-6.

Flames defenceman Michael Stone

In comes Stone


February 20, 2017

To Flames

  • Michael Stone

To Coyotes

  • 2017 3rd round pick (Cgy)
  • 2018 5th round pick (Cgy)

March 1, 2017

To Flames:

  • Curtis Lazar
  • Michael Kostka

To Senators:

  • Jyrki Jokipakka
  • 2017 2nd round pick (Cgy)

With the Flames holding down a wildcard spot in the Western Conference at the time, the most significant move by Treliving came more than a week before the 2017 trade deadline. 

He acquired defenceman Michael Stone, then a top-four defender, from the Arizona Coyotes for what ended up being a pair of draft picks: A third-rounder that the Coyotes flipped at the draft that year to the Edmonton Oilers, which they used to select goalie Stuart Skinner, and a fifth-rounder that had been on the condition Stone re-signed with the Flames in the off-season, which he did.

The Flames finished in the first wildcard playoff spot in the West that season and were swept in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks.

Flames winger Jiri Hudler

Flames winger Jiri Hudler

Studs turn to duds, selling again


February 22, 2016

To Flames:

  • Hunter Shinkaruk

To Canucks:

  • Markus Granlund

February 27, 2016

To Flames:

  • 2016 2nd round pick (Fla)
  • 2018 4th round pick (Fla)

To Panthers:

  • Jiri Hudler

February 29, 2016

To Flames

  • Jyrki Jokipakka
  • Brett Pollock
  • 2016 2nd round pick (Dal)

To Stars:

  • Kris Russell

February 29, 2016

To Flames:

  • Niklas Bäckström
  • 2016 6th round pick (Min)

To Wild:

  • David Jones

Treliving's second season at the GM helm began with promise, with his club coming off a surprising season with breakout performances by young stars Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, a 45-30-7 regular-season record and a visit to the second round of the NHL playoffs. 

An offseason blockbuster trade with the Boston Bruins had landed the Flames young stud defenceman Dougie Hamilton and they signed winger Michael Frolik in free agency.

A rise in on-ice performance, nevermind a repeat of the '14-15 miracle, was not to be, however.

The Flames found themselves well back in the playoff race come trade-deadline time, and Treliving went into serious sell mode, trading key veteran pieces such as Jiri Hudler and Kris Russell to contending squads, raking in prospects and picks in the process, notably the assets picked up in the Russell trade to Dallas: defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka and the Stars' second-round selection in that year's draft, which became forward Dillon Dube.

The Flames also shipped winger David Jones, who was in the last year of his contract, to the Minnesota Wild for veteran goalie Nacklas Backstrom and a sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft that became centre Matthew Phillips. 

Neither Jones nor Backstrom played in the NHL beyond the season, with Jones failing to make a squad the next season and Backstrom returning to his native Finland after a 10-year run in North America.

Curtis Glencross

Out with old, in with picks


March 1, 2015

To Flames:

  • 2015 2nd round pick (Was)
  • 2015 3rd round pick (Was)

To Capitals:

  • Curtis Glencross

March 2, 2015

To Flames:

  • 2015 2nd round pick (Van)

To Canucks:

  • Sven Baertschi

In his first NHL trade deadline as Flames general manager, Treliving followed through on talk that his team needed to replenish its prospect pool, especially given the potential to land a blue-chipper in the much-touted 2015 draft.

The team was in a playoff position at the time, third in the Pacific Division with 70 points. The Flames were tied with the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks but ahead of the divisional rivals as they had more regulation wins.

But with Giordano knocked out of the lineup just days before thanks to a torn biceps tendon suffered in a game against the New Jersey Devils — an injury that ultimately ended his season — Treliving had choices to make.

The rookie GM went into sell mode, albeit in minor fashion.

The first swing: dealing longtime Flames winger Curtis Glencross, who was in the final season of a four-year deal worth $2.55 million per season. Treliving peddled the Albertan to the Washington Capitals for a pair of picks in said draft.

"I think this is a significant return," Trevliving said to the Canadian Press on March 1.  "A second round- and third-round pick are good assets, and I think they’re heightened in a draft like this."

The Flames turned the selections into prospects Jeremy Lauzon and Jens Looke. 

At the deadline the next day, Treliving made another deal for a pick, sending winger Sven Baertschi to the Vancouver Canucks for their 2015 second-rounder. Treliving and his staff used that pick to take current defenceman Rasmus Andersson.

Andersson, 26, is currently leading all Flames defencemen in scoring with seven goals and 36 points. The 2015 second-rounder averages almost 25 minutes of ice time per game on the team's top defensive pairing.

Baertschi, the Flames' first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2011 draft, was a third-year pro who had scored four assists in 15 NHL games in 2014-15, splitting time between Calgary and AHL Adirondack (36 games). 

He would go on to score 15, 18 and 14 goals in the next three seasons as a Top 9 winger in Vancouver, with injuries (particularly concussions) limiting his playing time.

While Treliving didn't add to his roster at the deadline, the surprising Flames did hold onto the third Pacific seed to make the playoffs, beating Pacific No. 2 Vancouver in the first round in six games before succumbing to the Anaheim Ducks in five.


Flames at the 2023 NHL trade deadline

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