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Calgary Flames

Tkachuk Trade: Treliving Says Flames Can Still Win It



For those covering the Toronto Maple Leafs, new GM Brad Treliving has a ‘tell’ when it comes to answering questions. The former Calgary Flames executive’s brief pauses followed by a rubbing of the forehead mean he’s not the biggest fan of the ask.

He’ll still answer them, to the best of his ability. That’s just the kind of guy he is. Not sure if the tell applies to his poker game, but during his first media session with the Leafs, Treliving was asked about the Matthew Tkachuk trade — and the finger went straight to the eyebrow.

The more uncomfortable the question, the higher the rub.

“There were some challenges, no question,” Treliving said, hesitant to rehash the entire process after Tkachuk told the then-Flames GM he wouldn’t sign long-term in Calgary. “You’re playing with what felt like a two and a three in your hand and everyone else has got a pair of aces.”

There is a short and a long game in the NHL, though. And while it’s obvious the Panthers are reaping the early returns as a Stanley Cup finalist — and Tkachuk a Conn Smythe candidate — the he long play could carry more flavour for the Flames.

Jonathan Huberdeau had a 115-point season in his last with the Cats. MacKenzie Weegar is  an underrated two-way defenceman, and they have prospect Cole Schwindt and a 2025 first-round pick to come.

“He’s a top player, He’s a wonderful player,” Treliving said of Tkachuk. “That’s the first chapter of that trade.

“Jonathan, MacKenzie, the pick. There’s a prospect … Time will dictate and tell how all things play out.”

All things considered, you have to remember when evaluating the deal that Treliving was playing with a crappy hand. Only a few teams were in play with Tkachuk holding the cards as an RFA, and Treliving was still under the win-now mandate from Calgary Flames ownership.

As annoying as the questions may be nearly a year later, Treliving holds no grudges and said he will “never fault a player that said it’s time for me to move.”

Tkachuk recently heaped praise on Treliving and the former Flames GM sent the vibe right back.

“He’s like a son to me,” he said.

“He reminds me all the time, his success gets my name brought up. He says, ‘You’re welcome.’”

Tkachuk is probably the one owing thanks that Treliving never folded with Florida.

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