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Flames planning ahead while making decisions on UFAs, RFAs

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

We’ve got models that go out five years from now and some of those young players continue to play the way they have and they’re going to get significant increases. You want to make sure you’re not in a position where you’ve boxed something out or you have to do something you don’t want to do because you’ve made decisions earlier than you should’ve.Brad Treliving

CALGARY, AB -- Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving will be faced with many quandaries over the off-season, with a crop of pending free agents and restricted free agents high up on his priority list.

Three of Calgary's regulars are heading towards unrestricted free agency this summer -- goaltender Karri Ramo and defencemen Raphael Diaz and David Schlemko -- and the spotlight on those players will grow as July 1st inches closer.

The Flames also have several players entering restricted free agency. Mikael Backlund, Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Micheal Ferland, and Josh Jooris are all at the end of their current contracts. Prospects Kenny Agostino, Bill Arnold, Turner Elson, Ben Hanowski, Max Reinhart, Bryce Van Brabant, David Wolf, and Sena Acolaste are also finishing off their current deals.

Every decision Treliving has to make will be carefully mapped out as he doesn't want to be hamstrung by lengthy or large contracts in future years, potentially making signing young players and prospects difficult.

Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett, Joe Colborne, Markus Granlund, Joni Ortio, and Tyler Wotherspoon are all going to be entering restricted free agency in the summer of 2016 so Treliving has to think about these negotiations as well.

"We’ve got players -- not only this year but you look out a year or two and in the cap system, you’ve got to be very careful of how you spend your dollars," he said. "You may sit here and I know it’s been talked about, I’ve been asked lots of questions this year, ‘You’ve got all this cap room,' ... we don’t just look at the next six weeks.

"We’ve got models that go out five years from now and some of those young players continue to play the way they have and they’re going to get significant increases. You want to make sure you’re not in a position where you’ve boxed something out or you have to do something you don’t want to do because you’ve made decisions earlier than you should’ve."

A big factor in Treliving's decisions when it comes to the Flames pending free agents and restricted free agents is whether or not the organization sees them meshing with the group years down the road, not just in the immediate future.

"We are starting to establish a young core here that we expect to be here for a long time. Do we expect changes? Yes, there will be changes. To sit here and quantify today two, three, four, I don’t know what the number is yet. We have to sit down and take deep breath and remove the emotion of the last 48 hours and be very surgical in our approach. We can’t get down about what happened in Anaheim, but we also can’t lose sight and realize there’s still growth to be had here.

"Let’s not look at this as fool’s gold and go chasing something thinking this is going to be the answer and make poor decisions as you get into free agency and whatnot."

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