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Treliving not resting after busy start to free agency

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

Need a right-winger?

Got a right-winger.

Need a goaltender?

Got a goaltender.

And though general manager Brad Treliving tackled both pressing needs for the Calgary Flames at the onset of free agency Friday, he’s not set to rest just yet.

“We’re done for today, but I don’t think you’re ever done,” Treliving said. “July 1 gets a lot of talk and publicity, but you don’t stop looking at your team and finding ways to improve it. We’ll start again tomorrow. What are the areas we can improve in? I don’t think you can ever have too much depth.

“If there’s ways we can help ourselves … today, tomorrow, leading up to the start of the year … we’ll continue to work on things.

“If there’s something that’s a fit, we’ll jump on it.”

Treliving found two fits within the first hour of free agency.

He signed 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-wing Troy Brouwer to a multi-year contract 23 minutes into the opening of free agency, and added goaltender Chad Johnson on a one-year pact shortly thereafter.

Brouwer had 18 goals and 39 points in 82 games with the St. Louis Blues in 2015-16, and added a career-high eight goals and 13 points in 20 post-season skates. He’s recorded at least 17 goals and at least 33 points in each of the past seven seasons.

“We had what we felt were two specific needs that we were looking for going into free agency,” said Treliving, who swapped defenceman Pat Sieloff for right-wing Alex Chiasson earlier in the week. “One was addressing a positional need in terms of the right wing position, but also the profile of the type of person we were looking for. We’re ecstatic to get Troy, a proven playoff performer, a veteran in this league that will not only add size and offensive ability, but leadership, character, and a presence in our dressing room.”

The addition of Johnson one week after acquiring goaltender Brian Elliott from the Blues in a draft day trade helped close off Calgary’s second pressing need.

Johnson was 22-16-1 with a 2.36 GAA and .920 save percentage in 45 appearances for the Buffalo Sabres in 2015-16. Elliott ranked first in GAA (2.01) and second in save percentage (.925) among goalies with at least 50 games played since 2011-12.

Calgary’s goaltenders, Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio and Niklas Backstrom, allowed an NHL-high 257 non-shootout goals, and combined for a League-worst .898 save percentage.

“It’s been talked at length over the course of the last few months as we ended last season … in the last week or so being able to add Brian Elliott and now being able to add Chad Johnson to our goaltending position has solidified and strengthened that position on our team.”

The signings close off Treliving’s checklist.

Almost.

He has a little more ink to spill over the course of the summer as restricted free agents Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan remain without contracts.

Treliving is well aware.

“We know where we’re at,” he said. “We’ve left significant room. Obviously we’ve got two contracts that need to be dealt with and they will be. In a cap world, you make decisions and you’ve got to feed 23 mouths. We think what we’ve done in the last week or so has addressed some real needs for us. We’ve added some, what I think, are going to be some very good pieces for our team. We’ve added some excellent people.

“We have a lot of work to do. We’ve talked before. Everyone gets excited for July 1. You don’t play for a long time. We’re not turning the lights out and we’ll see you in September. We’ll continue to work away at building our team over the course of the summer.

“We know we’ve got a couple of signings yet to do. They’ll get done and we’ll continue to chip away. We’re comfortable with where we’re at today.

“We’re real excited.”

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