CALGARY, AB -- Early returns on the rebuild wont have Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving deviate from his plan.
Instead, the process continues.
Next year is a big year for us. We’re going to try and push to do whatever we can to come back with the outcome we want. - Brad Treliving
“What I take from it is the future is very bright here,” Treliving said following exit interviews Tuesday. “To me, we’re still climbing that mountain and if you look back in history and if you really analyze those teams who have climbed to the top of the mountain, there’s steps that you have to take, but more so there’s got to be a persistence and there’s got to be patience in getting to that level.
“We’re still a team in a growth stage. To me right now, what we are not going to do is rush out tomorrow and start sending a young player, two young players, three young players out the door because we think we can get that one last little push over the cliff.
“You have to identify, acquire and continue to have core players on your team and build around that core and I think anybody that watched our team this year can be excited about the future about so many young core players that we have.”
There’s plenty for Treliving to like in that core.
With the emergence of second-year center Sean Monahan, the successful debut of Calder Trophy candidate Johnny Gaudreau and the promise shown by 2014 first round pick Sam Bennett, the future of the Flames appears fruitful.
The emergence of other youthful pieces like Lance Bouma, TJ Brodie and Micheal Ferland has the Flames optimistic. But not satisfied.
In the second year of a rebuild, progress needs to continue, and the young core knows it.
“I try not to think about the disappointment, try to think about all the success we had this year and start gearing up for next year,” Gaudreau said. “We have a young team and it was a great learning experience for a lot of us young guys. I think we're going to have a pretty good year next year and a lot of these younger guys, this learning experience was great for us.
“Guys are really excited for next year already -- I can see the excitement, I saw it personally.”
So did Monahan, who suggested a slump of sorts isn’t in the cards for Calgary.
“I don’t think that’s a worry for us,” he said. “We have a group here that wants to win and we’re not satisfied with what we did this year. Next year is a big year for us. We’re going to try and push to do whatever we can to come back with the outcome we want.”
Treliving understands that is easier said than done.
While Calgary sported a 20-point improvement from the 2013-14 season, growth is required as the Flames look to continue to trend in the proper direction.
More is needed.
Calgary’s group, kids included, will need to take another step.
“What you did last summer isn’t going to be good enough this summer,” Treliving said. “As an organization, it starts from myself, the coaches to the players: we need to be better. The league will be better. The conference will be better. It’s so, so hard to get into the playoffs. That will hold true again.
“We need to grow. We need everybody to take a step. We need to find ways to make our team better, whether that’s internally or externally. But doing what we did this year, as good as it was, it might not be enough next year so we have to find a way to improve.”