I’m excited about getting with our staff, getting their thoughts and getting to work for the entry draft where we can really start to add pieces here. - Brad Treliving
CALGARY, AB -- He might not be familiar with all the names on his amateur scouting staff, but that’s not about to slow Brad Treliving.
Minted as the general manager Monday, Treliving put a heavy emphasis on the 2014 NHL Draft, the first opportunity to put his stamp on the Calgary Flames.
“There’s some building blocks here (in Calgary),” Treliving said in the press conference announcing his hire. “Having said that, we have to be real honest and clear where we’re at. We’re picking fourth in the draft. We have to get better. We’re not on the ground floor here. There’s some players here and we’re looking to add to that and continue to grow.”
That growth, he admits, needs to start at the draft table in Philadelphia on June 27-28. Treliving, who joins the Flames after spending seven seasons as assistant GM for the Phoenix Coyotes, knows the value of the process.
With a limited budget to work with in the desert, continually injecting youth into the organization by way of the entry draft process was essential for a Coyotes team that made the playoffs three times under Treliving’s help.
It’ll be equally essential to build the Flames into a contender, he admitted.
“It’s critical,” Treliving said. “Every draft is. I’ve said this many times before. Everybody talks about young players. You only get one time a year to add to that outside of trade and that’s at the draft.
“For me, especially being new and coming in here, I’m excited to get with our scouts, find out their thoughts, go through reports and get their feelings on where lists are and those types of things. It’s critical. We want to be a team that’s known as a draft and development team.
“You have to do it. It’s not something you choose to do. Without doing it, you have no chance. We’re going to get started on that tomorrow and get ready for Philadelphia.”
To chart Treliving’s draft philosophy isn’t difficult. There’s a distinct pattern.
In his role alongside Phoenix GM Don Maloney, the Coyotes drafted either a centre or a defencemen with six of their top seven picks dating back to the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
They’ve selected selected centres Max Domi (2013 - 12th overall), Henrik Samuelsson (2012 - 27th overall) and Kyle Turris (C - 3rd overall) and defencemen Connor Murphy (2011 - 20th overall), Brandon Gormley (2010 - 13th overall) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2009 - 6th overall).
Winger Mikkel Boedker (2008 - 8th overall) was the only non-centre/defenceman taken in Treliving’s tenure with Phoenix.
“I firmly believe you build your team from the back out,” he said. “It starts in goal, but it’s built on the blue line. If you go back in Phoenix’s draft history, we’ve taken a lot of defensemen. It’s built up through the center of the ice, so you go defensemen-centericemen.”
But that doesn’t mean Treliving is going to deviate from his list to ensure the Flames pluck a rearguard or pivot in June.
Once Treliving’s order is established, it may as well be chiseled in stone.
“We may have valued those players a little more but we don’t go off the list,” he said. “We put the list together and when the name comes off and it’s our turn, we’re taking those. I think you have to plan how you build your team and I firmly believe you look at the teams playing now, there’s no team that’s weak on the blue line and weak down the center of the ice. Those are critical positions and they are treated as such.”
The first step to creating that list comes May 12th, when Treliving will assemble his amateur scouting staff for Calgary’s latest round of draft meetings.
It’s where the fun starts for Calgary’s new GM and the Flames’ rebuilding process continues.
“I’m excited,” he started, “about getting with our staff, getting their thoughts and getting to work for the entry draft where we can really start to add pieces here.”