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Free agent signings on Treliving’s terms

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

Term was important for us. Term in a cap system is what strangles you. You’ve seen a lot of long-term deals either be bought out or things have happened with them. Brad Treliving

CALGARY, AB -- Brad Treliving did his best to channel the great Frank Sinatra as free agency opened Tuesday.

Much like the Sultan of Swoon, Treliving did it his way.

If an unrestricted free agent was signing with the Calgary Flames on July 1st, he was doing so on the general manager’s terms.

“Term was important for us,” Treliving said hours after the free agent signing period opened Tuesday. “Term in a cap system is what strangles you. You’ve seen a lot of long-term deals either be bought out or things have happened with them.

“I was just adamant that three (years) or less with the cycle that we’re in right now. If things progress as we hope they progress, players are going to need new contracts in the next few years and you have to be prepared for this. This isn’t just planning for September. You’ve got to plan out a number of years.

“The term for me was great. We have an opportunity over the next couple of years. We have some flexibility from a cash standpoint.”

While the first-year Flames GM was willing to open the wallet to add the likes of forward Mason Raymond, goaltender Jonas Hiller and defenceman Deryk Engelland, it was the length of each deal Treliving was especially particular about.

Hiller received a two-year pact from the Flames, while both Engelland and Raymond received three-year deals.

Anything longer didn’t fit into Calgary’s plans.

“The term is very important to us,” Treliving said. “These are not things where we’ve gone out five and six years. We wanted to keep things three years and under, which we’ve done on all of these contracts, over this period of time when we do have flexibility.”

The Flames have that in spades.

Even with signing the trio on July 1st, the Flames sit 29th in the NHL in committed payroll. Only the New York Islanders have less.

That space, some roster flexibility and the financial wherewithal to spend when appropriate will allow Treliving to be aggressive should the opportunity present itself in the coming months.

“What I wanted to do is make sure we leave ourselves flexible,” he said. “There’s so much excitement around today that this is not the end. There’s going to be opportunities to add people. There may be situations whether it be cap related, player number related, roster situations, that opportunities may open for us. I wanted to make sure we didn’t close the door on that.

“We are in very good position cap-wise to be aggressive if we can. We’ll see how things play out. It all depends on what opportunities come our way but I wanted to be able to react and be able to react to the opportunities that come our way.

“We’re in a good position to entertain.”

As long as it’s on Treliving’s terms.

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