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Treliving off for WJC viewings

Brad Treliving is at the IIHF World Junior Championship, watching Flames prospects and draft-eligible players

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- He'll arrive Friday.

Descending on the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship with a keen eye on those already under his watch, and a critical one for those he could be looking at this June.

It's the best of both worlds for Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving.

"We've got some kids playing in it so you want to see them," Treliving started.

"There's some draft eligible guys so you get a sense of them.

"It's a great tournament. I've caught the first little bit on TV. Our guys have shown well. Then there's some kids, for me to familiarize myself with. There's some guys that could be picks, not only high-end picks, but there's some draft eligible guys throughout the draft.

"It's a great stage to see them on outside of their regular teams and best-on-best.

"It's a great tournament." 

There's Nico Hischier of Switzerland to keep tabs on. Elias Pettersson and Lias Andersson of Sweden will certainly catch an eye or two. Martin Necas of the Czech Republic and Adam Ruzicka of Slovakia will garner looks. A quad of Finns -- Kristian Vesalainen, Urho Vaakanainen, Eeli Tolvanen, and Juuso Valimaki, will too.

All are eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft.

But those that are already Flames property will be a focal point for Treliving, too.

Defencemen Oliver Kylington is representing Sweden. Defenceman Adam Fox and goaltender Tyler Parsons have tugged on the red, white, and blue of Team USA. Pavel Karnaukhov is skating for Russia.

And, of course, Dillon Dube has skated for the home Canadians.

All five have selected and collected by Treliving over the past two drafts.

All being rooted for equally.

"You want to see them perform well," Treliving said. 

"It's a great evaluation because it's best-on-best. You can see them play on their club teams and that's one thing. And then you see at the high-end level and how they respond, how they play at that level. You're always taking a stock of where they fit in organizationally, and who's ready when. 

"You're making evaluation for some of them to be signed or not signed."

The brightest players under-20 in the world, outside those (like Matthew Tkachuk, for example) not released by his NHL clubs to participate.

The biggest event those 17, 18, and 19 year olds have faced to date.

The best stage for Treliving to evaluate on.

"How do they respond with the bright lights and the big crowds and the pressure?" he started.

"For all different teams it's a big of different pressure. You've got to be careful not to put too much stock into a two-week period, but it's a great evaluation tool to see who can withhold and stand up to that type of pressure.

"Thus far our guys have done really well. I watched the Swedish game the other night. 

"I think Dillon Dube … he's done a lot of heavy lifting. You can see he's earned the coach's trust there already. He's playing in really key situations. He closed down the game against Russia the other night. You can tell he's earning the trust of the coaches.

"Karnaukhov I've watched.

"The two US guys I thought were really good, too. Tyler had a funny game (against Latvia on Dec. 26). His first three shots were two breakaways in a 15-minute span.

"They've all shown real well."

It's the stage to do it. 

"At an amateur level, in my mind, you're not going to play in a more high-profile pressure situation," Treliving said. "Some of those guys may go onto Memorial Cups, but in an amateur setting … especially in Canada just with the media attention and the crowds and this, that and the other … and then with Canada how do you deal with expectations?

"Does that trip you up? 

"Does that stall you or do you freeze, or do you accept it and rise to it? 

"I think it's as good an evaluation tool at the amateur level just with all the things that go into it and you come out of there. 

"It's not the be all, end all … you don't have a good World Juniors so you're going to make it for sure. 

"But it's a real good evaluation tool."

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