CALGARY, AB -- Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving started early, and finished late.
And, all in all, was content with his catches.
“We’re extremely happy,” he said in a post-deadline press conference from Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday. “It was a tight market. It was a grind, to be perfectly honest with you. We spoke a few days ago on the Jiri Hudler deal and at that time, you have to get a sense of things and trust your instincts. It just felt that it was going to be a grind. The days of first round picks and multiple picks heading out the door, that wasn’t this deadline.”
In all, Treliving finished four deals leading up to, at, and seemingly after the deadline with a late trickler.
His first deal came one week ago, flipping centre Markus Granlund to the Vancouver Canucks for forward prospect and Calgary, AB native Hunter Shinkaruk. Treliving doubled up with another on Saturday, collecting a second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and a fourth round pick in 2018 in exchange for Hudler.
Two more deals came on deadline day.
First, Treliving optioned defenceman Kris Russell to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward prospect Brett Pollock, and a conditional second round pick in 2016. The conditional selection becomes a first rounder if the Stars advance to the Western Conference Final, and Russell plays at least half of Dallas' playoff games.
“To have a chance at that first round pick, and I think there is a legitimate chance because Dallas is a very good team,” Treliving said. “The West is tough. Getting the potential first round pick was important. Having it being a hard second round pick, giving us three second round picks, is important. Jokipakka is a good player. He’s a young defenceman, he fits our age group, he comes from good pedigree. He’s played in the World Juniors with Team Finland. He’s got good size, a big body, moves the puck, defends, and there’s upside. He’s still a young player.
“Brett Pollock, talking with our amateur guys, I wasn’t here in his draft year, I really liked him in his draft year, and I know our guys here liked him in his draft year. Big body, can play center or wing, has a knack for scoring. Big guys that can shoot the puck in the net are important. We were excited to get him as part of the deal as well.”
Treliving finished his day by sneaking in a final late swap, nabbing goaltender Niklas Backstrom, along with a sixth round pick in 2016, for forward David Jones. The lengthy delay came as a result of Backstrom needing to waive his no-trade clause to join the Flames.
“It was busy. It’s like at LaGuardia right now at five o’clock on a Friday,” Treliving said.
“Maybe not as much in terms of deals getting done like in past years. There were lots of discussions. It was a different deadline. There were calls, but it wasn’t over the top. There were lots of discussions on things that may happen after the deadline, in the summer. It was busy, but it was a different kind of deadline.
“To me, it was a direct result of the financial landscape of the league. There’s some unknown about the cap, picks are becoming that much more valuable, young prospects are that much more valuable. It’s driven by the financial (landscape), to a certain extent. What’s the cap going to be? Moving money is difficult and the importance of those, the value, and the capital that those picks have, have never been more important. To wrestle some of those out of there, for people to put those in deals, it doesn’t happen as much. It’s become harder to get them.”
But Treliving did, in separate deals that saw the Calgary tenures of Hudler, Russell and Jones end.
And though it's tough to see the trio of veterans go, Treliving understands it's a necessary step in the process.
“That’s a priority for us, (to) continue to stockpile picks and young players,” Treliving said. “We’re going to continue to do that and grow this organization. There was no deviation or pivoting. The staff has been working hard at it and the scouts have been putting in the time and we tried to execute today.”