"Tricky situation": Flames have put GM Treliving in tough spot before deadline

Mar 2 2023, 7:53 pm

The Calgary Flames know they haven’t put general manager Brad Treliving in the greatest spot ahead of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.

The Flames, the only remaining organization in the 32-team league yet to make a move, are smack dab in the middle of a debate as to whether or not the club should be buying, selling, or neither, before the 1 pm MT deadline Friday.

“You always want to improve,” Flames alternate captain Mikael Backlund said Thursday. “I know we haven’t helped ourselves to be in a position to help our GM. We’re still in it 100% and it’s a tight race, but the way we’ve played this year with ups and downs and inconsistency, I feel like we haven’t helped our GM to make big moves. You always want, if you can, add some pieces.

“I know this year is a tricky situation, for sure.”

It’s certainly been trick, not treat, for Calgary to this point.

The Flames, who captured the Pacific Division title a season ago, are five points behind the Winnipeg Jets and Seattle Kraken for the first and second wild cards into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, and trail the Edmonton Oilers by seven points for third in the Pacific Division.

Not ideal.

And a fierce climb back into contention.

“We’ve got some work to do,” defenceman MacKenzie Weegar said. “Obviously we’d probably like to be in a better position, but we’re in the thick of things here. We’ve still got a shot at getting a spot in the playoffs and we’re right there. We have a lot of belief in this room.”

Treliving and the Flames have sat idly by while the NHL has had plenty of fun wheelin’ and dealin’.

In the past 72 hours, 21 deals have been made, with names including Mikael Granlund, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jesse Puljujarvi, Rasmus Sandin, Shayne Gostisbehere, Filip Hronek, Luke Schenn, Mattias Ekholm, Tyson Barrie, Jonathan Quick, and Patrick Kane.

That doesn’t include prior big-name deals involving Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty, as well as Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils, Tanner Jeannot to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Boston Bruins, and Vladimir Tarsenko to the New York Rangers.

“Some big names out there are being moved,” Weegar said. “It’s cool to see. It’s neat that some of these guys get to go play in big markets and go to other teams, but to be honest I don’t care too much. If a guy came to our team to help out our team, that’d be awesome. I’d be a lot more into it. But other than that I don’t care too much.”

“We’re all checking in,” Backlund added. “It’s been pretty busy this year, so. We talk about it and grade all the trades in the room. Of course we discuss it and all that. But you guys love it, I know that.

“It’s a special time of year for sure.”

Just not a particularly busy one for the Flames, yet.

A day remains for that to change.

“I think as a player it can be a bit of a distraction but it’s part of the business, part of the game,” forward Nazem Kadri said. “Teams are buying in selling, so it’s something you’ve got to deal with. At the end of the day, we need to focus on what’s going on in here and what we need to do better.

“We’ve just got to continue to do what we’ve been doing and I think luck’s going to start to come.”

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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