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Good trades, bad trades: Brad Treliving’s 3 best, 3 worst Flames deals



Brad Treliving

Let’s make a deal. With the Toronto Maple Leafs introducing Brad Treliving as their new general manager today, it’s time to look back at his tenure with the Calgary Flames in the same capacity.

And what better way to do it than go over his best and worst trades in the nine seasons he oversaw the Flames as GM? There are his free-agent signings, too. And draft picks. Those might have to be the topics of other yarns another day. Trades, though!

Tre’s Top Trio

2022: A 2022 first-round pick (Filip Mesar, 26th overall), a 2025 fifth-rounder, prospect Emil Heineman and Tyler Pitlick to the Montreal Canadiens for Tyler Toffoli.

We don’t yet know how the draft picks and prospect shipped to Montreal will pan out, although 19-year-old winger Mesar did record a point a game for OHL Kitchener this past season and Heineman spent just 11 games in the AHL after coming over from Sweden.

When it comes to the two Tylers, however, we can say Toffoli has been more than advertised for the Calgary Flames while Pitlick barely registered for the Canadiens, notching just three assists for them after returning from an injury. Pitlick signed with St. Louis last summer and put in bottom six duty for the Blues, while Toffoli went on to lead the Flames in scoring this season, hitting career season highs in goals (34) and points (73).

2015: A 2015 first-round pick (Zachary Senyshyn, 15th overall) and two 2015 second-rounders (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, 45th overall, and Jeremy Lauzon, 52nd overall) to the Boston Bruins for Dougie Hamilton.

Trading top-end draft capital is always a risk, but getting a 20-year-old Hamilton back was well worth the risk — and it paid off for Treliving and the Flames in spades. Hamilton, unhappy with Boston, signed a six-year, $34.5-million contract with Calgary a few days after the trade then went on to put in three productive seasons in the top pairing alongside Mark Giordano.

2015: Sven Baertschi to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2015 second-round pick (Rasmus Andresson, 53rd overall).

It’s never easy parting ways with a player your team picked in the first round of a draft, especially considering Baertschi was projected as a top-six forward, but the sometimes-injured, spotty winger found himself packing his bags for Vancouver in exchange for a second-round pick.

That pick turned out to be Andersson, today a top-pairing defenceman for the Flames and potentially the team’s next captain.

Honourable mention

A tie!

2021: A 2022 third-round pick (Aidan Thompson, 90th overall) to the Chicago Blackhawks for Nikita Zadorov,

and 2018: Dougie Hamilton, Michael Ferland and the rights to Adam Fox for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin.

Again, trading draft picks for older players who may or may not pan out is a gamble, but there was a lot to tempt Treliving in dealing for Zadorov, then 26. Big, tall, offensive. With the Flames, he’s evolved into a solid second-pairing blueliner, pretty much exactly what they hoped.

In the 2018 deal with the Hurricanes, peddling all three assets was an eye-opener at the time — not so much the rights to Fox, who of course is now a Norris Trophy winner with the New York Rangers, as he was never going to sign with Calgary — but Lindholm and Hanifin have been steady top-liners for the Flames in the five years since the deal. Hamilton, while productive for the Hurricanes, walked away from Carolina for nothing three years, Ferland left a year after the deal and Fox was peddled to New York.

Brad’s Bottom Bunch

2017: A 2018 first-round pick (Noah Dobson, 12th overall), a 2018 second-round pick (Ruslan Iskhakov, 43rd overall) and a 2019 second-rounder (Samuel Bolduc, 57th overall) to the New York Islanders for Travis Hamonic and a 2019 fourth-round pick (Lucas Feuk, 116th overall).

At the time, Hamonic was a sought-after top-pairing, shutdown defender. While he bounced back from an injury in his last season with the Islanders, by his third season with Calgary, Hamonic was being pushed down the depth chart. He took a pass on the 2020 NHL bubble playoffs and left the Flames in free agency, signing with the Canucks.

The Islanders fared well from the trade, reloading right away by taking Dobson with the first-rounder. The defenceman is a top-liner today.

2016: A 2016 second-round pick (Jordan Kyrou, 35th overall) to the St. Louis Blues for Brian Elliott.

There’s never any way to really know who’s going to be available and when ahead of time in any draft, but Kyrou was a great get by the Blues. He led St. Louis in scoring this season, after all, with 37 goals and 73 points.

Elliott lasted just one season in Calgary.

Treliving’s acquisition of the goalie made sense at the time as Elliott had backstopped the Blues the previous five seasons, but it soon became clear his days as a bonafide starter were behind him. He struggled at the beginning of the season and was supplanted as starter by Chad Johnson at one point.

Elliott signed with Philadelphia the next season, while Treliving traded Johnson, a prospect and a conditional draft pick to acquire Mike Smith to replace him.

2018: Brett Kulak to the Montreal Canadiens for Rinat Valiev and Matt Taormina.

I get it. Sometimes, there isn’t room for everyone on the roster, and that was the case with Kulak when Treliving traded him to the Canadiens. The then 24-year-old didn’t make then-head coach Bill Peters’ final cut and had cleared waivers. Neither AHLer who came to the Flames in the deal ever played in the NHL, but Kulak is still lacing ’em up five years later.

Honourable mention

2022: 2022 second-rounder, 2023 third-rounder & 2024 seventh-rounder to the Seattle Kraken for Calle Jarnkrok.

That was a lot of draft capital to give away for such a rental.

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