GM adds depth defenceman at deadline and says team is ready for post-season push: "I'm prepared to go to battle with this group."by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com
NEW YORK - When the clock struck 3 p.m. Eastern and the deadline passed, Flames general manager Brad Treliving spoke from the heart when he addressed the media.
He believes in his players.
They're first in the Western Conference standings for a reason.
"We're in a position that we're in because of the group we have here," Treliving said as he held court in the team's midtown Manhattan trade deadline headquarters. "I look at our young defence and we wanted to support them, rather than replace them.
"The goal is always to help your team.
"And we did."
It was a tactical day for the Flames, who made their only trade of the day with an hour to spare, acquiring 27-year-old defenceman Oscar Fantenberg from the L.A. Kings in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 Draft.
Fantenberg has played 47 games with the Kings this year, recording two goals, one assist and is averaging more than 16 minutes per game in ice time.
Treliving said that the team has followed the rangy blueliner closely from his days with Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League, and from his yearlong stint with Sochi of the Kontinental Hockey League before signing with the Kings in 2017.
"He may not be well known over here, but when they ran into some injuries last year, he logged some heavy minutes in the four playoff games with the Kings," said Treliving.
"In this particular situation, Oscar comes in and with Juuso (Valimaki) back up and going, with Michael (Stone) around the corner, we felt adding Oscar just gave us more depth."
Video: "I really like the group we have"
While Treliving was actively involved in conversations with other teams throughout the day, he said the team was not willing to deviate from "the plan."
The Flames have put together five strong months of impeccable hockey and their 39 wins are impressive.
"I've got a great deal of faith in this team and I've said it many times: 'If we do nothing today, the same 23 bodies that have gotten us to this point are still here, and if we can add to that, great,'" Treliving said. "If we had to do something that's going to impact us moving forward, that just didn't make sense for us.
"We have to - to me - show restraint at this time of year. Internally, going into this weeks ago, we talked about things we were not going to do. And when you change that at 2:45, that's not the right way to do business.
"We knew what we were prepared to do, if we could do something at the right price. If it involved something that we weren't prepared to move, we weren't going to move it. A week ago, a day ago, an hour ago."
With the annual trade deadline now in the rearview mirror, the focus is squarely on the final push to the playoffs.
"This is a good group," said Treliving. "You always weigh, too, that this is a group that, for the large part, is in this position for the first time. They're going through what they're going to go through the next 20 games for the first time. And they're going to get into a playoff run as a group for the first time.
"Sometimes, you need to have little battle scars as a group until you really find out who you are.
"And I'm prepared to go to battle with this group."