Brad Treliving has never seemed to shy away from a deal at the NHL Trade Deadline.
Whether he’s buying or selling is a different story.
But with the Calgary Flames firmly fixed in a playoff position atop the Pacific Division, and with at least a first-round date all but assured after amassing 71 points in the season’s opening 53 games, chances are he’ll be adding a depth piece or two in advance of the March 21 deadline.
He already made what will almost assuredly be his most significant move, optioning scoring winter Tyler Toffoli from the Montreal Canadiens in a Valentine’s Day swap.
Here’s how Treliving has approached each of his seven deadlines as GM of the Flames.
Treliving’s Flames would eventually go on to surprise with a playoff berth, but at the deadline, it wasn’t a sure thing. With that in mind, Calgary’s GM went to work in continuing what was a rebuild initiated by the trades of Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester some two years prior.
He moved Sven Baertschi, himself a first-round pick of the Flames in 2011, at his request. Treliving acquired a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft in exchange for the unhappy youngster, eventually turning that pick into current defenceman Rasmus Andersson.
He also traded pending unrestricted free agent forward Curtis Glencross, who had 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 53 games, to the Washington Capitals in exchange for second and third-round picks in 2015. Both those picks were eventually traded; one in the move to acquire Dougie Hamilton, and other to move up in the 2015 draft to nab Oliver Kylington.
Calgary didn’t qualify for the playoffs in 2016, and the deadline had a familiar tone — acquire assets. Again, the moves yielded some current assets.
Like he did with Glencross, Treliving optioned pending unrestricted free agent Kris Russell, this time to the Dallas Stars. Defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka and prospect Brett Pollock was the initial return, along with a second round pick in 2016. The pick became current Flames forward Dillon Dube.
Treliving also moved David Jones to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for goalie Niklas Backstrom and a sixth round pick in 2016. The pick was used on Matthew Phillips, who currently leads the AHL’s Stockton Heat in scoring.
Eyeing a return to the playoffs, Treliving bolstered his depth in and around the trade deadline in 2017. Moved to the Ottawa Senators was Jokipakka and a second round pick in the 2017 draft in exchange for centre Curtis Lazar and minor-leaguer Michael Kostka.
He also added current defenceman Michael Stone in a move with his former employer, the Arizona Coyotes at a cost of a third round pick in 2017 and a fifth round pick in 2018.
A quiet deadline saw just one move out of Treliving — a seventh round pick in 2019 to the Senators in exchange for depth forward Nick Shore. Shore played nine games before leaving to play in the KHL a year later.
It wasn’t much busier for Treliving a year later, sending a conditional fourth round pick to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for depth defender Oscar Fantenberg, who left for the Vancouver Canucks via unrestricted free agency at season’s end.
If there’s a sample of what Treliving could do at this year’s deadline, it came two years ago. In the lead-up to the 2020 cutoff, the GM added defenceman Erik Gustafsson from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a conditional third round pick in the 2020 draft, and Derek Forbort from the Kings for a conditional fourth rounder. He eventually moved defenceman Brandon Davidson to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for future considerations post-deadline, too.
Another up-and-down season left Treliving with more questions than answers heading into the trade deadline, and he worked accordingly. Treliving moved forward Sam Bennett, the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft and the team’s highest-ever drafted player, to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a second round pick in the 2022 draft and prospect Emil Heineman. Heineman was moved as part of the Toffoli trade three weeks ago.
Treliving also moved goalie David Rittich to the Toronto Maple Leafs, retaining half of the remaining salary on the eventual unrestricted free agent in exchange for a third round pick in the 2022 draft.
We’ll see. Again, he made a proactive move in addressing a primary need for secondary scoring in nabbing Toffoli for the Canadiens, and he still has two weeks to address other issues of need — namely depth on the blue line — which he can do any number of ways.
How he goes about it remains to be seen.