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Treliving excited to have Pribyl in the fold

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

-- Check Daniel Pribyl off Brad Treliving’s to-do list.

The Calgary Flames general manager added to his pool of players Friday, officially signing the Czech forward to a two-year deal.

“Guys have known about him for a little bit of time,” said Treliving, who is set to join Canada’s entry at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic later this week.

“He’s a late-developing player. He was originally drafted by Montreal. But he’s taken some more time to fill out. His game has matured a little bit. Our guys talked about him the last year or so. We’ve watched him this year a lot. We’ve looked at trying to get something done as his season wore down in Czech Republic. Our guys over there have liked his game for some time.”

Pribyl, 23, had 16 goals and 45 points in 45 regular-season games with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga this year. He had five goals and 11 points in nine playoff games before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.

His skill and size, at 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, is an intriguing combination for Treliving and the Flames.

“He’s a good-sized guy…bigger body,” Treliving described. “He’s a skilled forward. His best assets are his hands, his hockey sense offensively, his ability to make plays. He’s an offensive guy. This isn’t a guy who’s going to run you over, that type of thing. He’s going to be able to make plays. He thinks the game well and is a skilled forward.”

But Treliving wanted to temper expectations on his latest addition.

“We look at it as adding to a need, which is skilled forwards with size, a right-handed shot, the ability to play centre and the right wing, bring skill in a 6-3 frame. Now you’ve got that in your system,” Treliving said. “Whether he’s ready for NHL play in October or whether that’s November or December or a year from now, those are all things that will be determined.

“We want to manage the expectations with this player. We’re not putting any pressure on him to come in here and be a top player by any stretch. He’s going to have to feel his way here. We think he’s a guy that’s going to add skill to our reserve list. At the end of the day, training camp and where he’s at will determine what he’s ready for and when.”

Pribyl was originally a sixth-round pick (No. 168) of the Montreal Canadiens in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

He never signed with the Canadiens, and eventually became an unrestricted free agent.

“There’s a number of teams that were interested, I think, in him,” Treliving said. “Ultimately why he chose us is probably a better question for him. I know we talked with him a lot. I give our scouts a lot of credit. They built a relationship with him. There’s a recruiting aspect to that. We try to develop relationships. I talked to him a number of times near the end. I think as a player, too, he looks at opportunity.

“He’s a player that wants to play in the National Hockey League. He had a number of choices in terms of which organization to go to. I think he looked at the opportunity with us and what we tried to outline with him is here’s where we are.

“He’s got a representative who knows the reserve list of all the teams and when you’re talking about a right-handed shot player…we’ve talked to him about our need on the right side in terms of right wing. When you walk him through that, I think he looks at good opportunity here for him and he felt comfortable with us and the process.

“We’re lucky enough to get him.”

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