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Treliving not resting on productive draft weekend

by George Johnson / Calgary Flames

Got the goalie. Got that young, skilled, argy-bargy winger to one day complement the two glistening jewels already adorning the organizational tiara.

Upgraded the skill moving forward. Upgraded the size for down the road a piece.

Still, Brad Treliving wasn’t to be spotted standing in silhouette in the batter’s box, Reggie Jackson-style, admiring his tape-measure home run late Saturday afternoon.

You weren’t to be finding him pounding his the chest, a la King Kong on Skull Island, as the Calgary Flames’ contingent decamped First Niagara Center in Buffalo en route home.

“This is two days,’’ cautioned the man who’s quickly making a habit of stealing draft-weekend thunder away from his more senior peers.

“We don’t play until October, so we’ll keep banging away.”

Lordamighty, some folks are just never satisfied …

The goaltending issue that so plagued the Flames a year ago was solved Friday with the acquisition of Brian Elliott from the St. Louis Blues. With the draft dominos falling into ideal alignment, London Knights’ star winger Matthew Tkachuk was there for the plucking when Calgary made their first selection, at No. 6.

After an evening of celebrating such good management/good fortune, on Day 2 the general manager and his scouting staff got down to business, stockpiling goaltending depth in Tyler Parsons, also of London, offensive punch in the form of Cochrane’s Dillon Dube along with Finnish right winger Eetu Tuulola and a 5-foot-7 bundle of energy, Matthew Phillips of Calgary.

The size issue was taken care of by 18-year-old Minnesota high-school centre Mitch Mattson, all 6-foot-4 of him, and Ottawa 67s’ defenceman Stepan Falkovsky, all 6-foot-7 and 224 pounds of him.

So even if the GM himself was downplaying the weekend’s accomplishments, Treliving’s long-time champion, president of hockey operations Brian Burke, seemed more than content with the last 48 hours.

“In the last 10 days, we were able to solve the coaching situation’’ -- hiring Glen Gulutzan -- “and the goaltending situation,’’ evaluated Burke. “Those were our two biggest needs.

“I really like our first pick and some of the picks we made (Saturday).”

Predictably, the capture of Tkachuk, this year’s Memorial Cup table-tipper, left everyone in the Calgary organization more than a little surprised but overjoyed.

The truculent bloodlines certainly appeal to the man who’s turned neckwear disarray into something of a popular art form.

“As soon as the third pick came in, I knew that we’d get Matthew,’’ reckoned Burke. “Once things went out of sequence, we all said to each other at the table: ‘We’ve got him.’ That’s the guy we wanted. He’s got a high skill level combined with a high compete level.

“He’s a pain in the ass. We don’t have enough guys who are pains in the ass. The way I like to play, I like guys who are pains in the ass.

“I thought that was a real important pick for us.”

As with all drafts, some will work out, some won’t. All you can do as an organization is put yourself in the best position possible to develop the best talent you can find.

“We’re happy about it,’’ gauged Treliving of the weekend as a whole. “At this type of draft, everybody’s all excited after - ‘I can’t believe he was available at that spot.’ But the reality is, it’s going to take time. Today, as exciting as it is, the stopwatch goes off, which will be a long time for these players to develop.

“We looked at a couple of things. Skill, competitiveness and hockey smarts. They come in different shapes and sizes but bringing skill was an important part. A competitive edge and people competing in different ways.”

The competition aspect of the game doesn’t begin and end on the ice, of course.

Treliving’s job is as competitive as any in hockey.

There is, he’ll be quick to tell you, much still to do.

Assistant coach(s) to identify.

Those two glittering tiara jewels mentioned before, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, yet to be signed, sealed and delivered.

Other RFAs to quality. UFAs to size up as of July 1st.

So, yes, a productive weekend, surely. A couple of big cuts that produced moon shots to admire.

But no batter’s box posing here. No Bautista bat flips from Brad in Buffalo.

“There’s still a lot left on the to-do list,’’ cautioned Treliving, only beginning to roll up his sleeves this off-season.

“We’ll start hammering at that tomorrow.”

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