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Treliving exploring all options as trade deadline approaches

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving isn't willing to slap a seller's tag on his team.

With Calgary nine points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference a week and a half from the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 29, Treliving instead said he's exploring any and all options that would improve the Flames.

"I think a lot gets made on buying and selling, but it's all about making your team better," Treliving said Wednesday. "Sometimes you're trying to make your team better for tomorrow and sometimes you're trying to make your team better for today. Very clearly, we could probably help ourselves tonight [in a trade] that would send 19- and 20-year-olds out the door, and we've got no interest in that. That's not going to happen.

"In terms of the buying and selling, those teams that are looking to add on a rental basis or [are] prepared to give up assets, those are more likely closer to the deadline when they have a sense of where they're at. There are teams in good shape right now, and you get a sense of what they may be looking at, but in terms of us and placing us in buying or selling mode … if we can help ourselves today at a cost that makes sense, perfect.

"If not, we're not interested in that. If we can help ourselves moving forward, with futures, picks, prospects, people that we think can fill holes for us moving forward, we have lots of interest in that."

In the midst of last year's playoff chase, Treliving acquired draft picks in trades for veteran forward Curtis Glencross, to the Washington Capitals, and forward Sven Baertschi, to the Vancouver Canucks.

Calgary qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and advanced to the Western Conference Second Round for the first time since 2004.

Before playing the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, the Flames (25-27-3) were sixth in the Pacific Division, 12 points behind the third-place San Jose Sharks. Calgary trailed the Colorado Avalanche by nine points for the second wild card from the West.

"We came in with great expectations and our team has underperformed," Treliving said. "It's a microcosm of the game. This league is so difficult, and it's cliché to say it, but you can't chase in this league. Our team last year, there was a time when we lost eight in a row -- seven in regulation -- but we were able to hang around it.

"We fell behind early, had a good December, fell back in January, and we're scratching and crawling for every point right now. As frustrating and as disappointing as our position is right now, we now have good young players here and we know that there are moves and changes here as we move forward. You'd like to click your heels and have it all happen at one time, but that's not reality. We're going to continue to build this and build it the right way. As we sit here today, we expected to be in a better position standings-wise. So we're going to continue to work to change that."

The Flames are 25th in the NHL and lost starting goaltender Karri Ramo, who Treliving said would miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and meniscus damage in his left knee.

After Thursday, five games remain before the trade deadline.

"You always want to help your team, but your team gives you a bit of direction on where you go," Treliving said. "That being said, our plan and our vision here has and will be the long-term view, so I don't necessarily believe that we're in a position to be sending out young players, prospects, future assets for something short-term.

"But you're always taking a key off of your team in terms of where you sit in the standings. They give you a good indication of where you should go at the deadline."

Forwards Jiri Hudler and David Jones, and defenceman Kris Russell are set to be unrestricted free agents this summer, lending to chatter about their availability at the deadline.

"Lots of talk and lies and all of that sort of stuff," Treliving said. "It's still a ways away from the deadline, so people are still getting an idea. You're seeing such tight bunching in the standings, so people are deciding which way they're going to go here. But we're in communication with everybody and we have a good sense a couple weeks out of where and what teams may be looking for."

The chatter increases with the Flames struggling to find traction in the standings, Treliving admitted.

"It's amazing after you lose a game how many condolences calls you get in the morning," he said. "'Oh, Jeez, we feel so bad for you, but boy can we help you out.' You're staying in touch. It's tight and you're well aware of where everyone is in the standings. A big part of it is trying to let people know what your thoughts are and find out what people are looking to do and see if there is a fit or a match.

"You're balancing that. You make your calls and do your work and start all over the next day. You watch the scores and see where everybody's at. You're happy one day and miserable the next; it's a great way to live. As much as we sense that we're close to the deadline, we're an eternity away. A lot of things can change for teams between now and the 29th."

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