CALGARY, AB -- Understandably, there’s a temptation from general manager Brad Treliving to help his Calgary Flames over the hill. But he’s vowed to stay the course.
With his Flames holding down the second of two wild-card berths in the Western Conference and eyeing a playoff appearance for the first time since the spring of 2009, Treliving isn’t about to lose focus on his long-term project.
“The great part of this game is the emotion that it brings out,” Treliving said. “The feel good stories of the team and it’s great to be around town and people are excited and they come to the building and are excited. You want to do something to help so you’re always looking at a way to give your team a boost as you go down the stretch but you don’t want it to come back to cost you down the road. That’s the balancing act that you look at.
“You have to pull back on emotion a lot of the times. You have to do the work in terms of finding out if there are things that can help you at a reasonable cost. Getting caught up in something that feels good for a very short period of time but can hurt for a very long period of time, those are things we want to stay away from.”
The upstart Flames, just a season-and-a-half into a tear down and build-up, are in the process of rebuilding well ahead of schedule.
But it isn’t a reason for Treliving, who hasn’t been on the job for a full calendar year, to jump.
If anything, it might give the GM a reason to pause.
“With the way the team has performed, I think the responsibility of the manager is you’re obviously looking at the long-term vision of this team,” Treliving said. “Those ‘A’ assets that I look at, those first round picks, top young players, it takes a lot of pain to get those. As we continue to build this organization, those are very, very valuable assets and ones we’re not prepared to throw out for the sake of something that might, might help us for a short period of time. You’re looking at that long range.”
There are certainly additions to ponder.
Treliving has several pending unrestricted free agents on his roster that could yield assets that will help Calgary over the long haul.
“Now’s the time we’re going to look at those and see where we’re going to go with it,” Treliving said. “With the trade deadline approaching it does put somewhat of a focus on those types of players. As seen in prior years and with prior teams, the fact that a player isn’t signed by the deadline and isn’t dealt at the deadline doesn’t necessarily mean that that player can’t be signed after. We’re going to evaluate and continue to evaluate each situation independently and see where we get to as we get to the deadline and beyond.”
While Treliving eyes the long term, Flames coach Bob Hartley is tasked with the short term.
Both plans have meshed for the time being, though.
“The mesh is very easy because we talk every day whether he calls me, I call him, he’s in my office, I’m in his office before or after practice, before games, after games,” Hartley said. “I’m quite impressed with how he came in. He joined the organization, took the steering wheel right from the start. He’s guiding us in the right direction plus he’s fun to work with. It’s a great environment over here. It’s honest. It’s on the table. That’s the way it has to be. We have high expectations. Mediocrity for both of us is not part of our vocabulary.
“Yes we have different desks with different agendas on it but at the same time we all work for the Calgary Flames and we share one common goal.”
The common goal being the Stanley Cup playoffs.
How the trade deadline can help that goal, for both the short term and long, have yet to be determined.
Treliving is exploring that daily.
“You also have to be cognizant of the present and I think any manager will tell you if your team is there you’d always like to help them,” he said. “It’s a balancing act. We’re looking at things. Would we like to strengthen our team down the stretch? Sure we would. It always comes back to the cost, the acquisition cost.
“If there are things that may be able to help us at a reasonable price then those are things that we will and have look at now.”
As long as it falls within Treliving’s plan.