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Fresh off signing a multi-year contract extension, the Flames general manager chats with George Johnson about the future of the organization

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

So often in his line of business, the architects - those indispensable individuals responsible for initial blueprints, mapping out the floor plan and signing-off on upgrades - are long gone by the time the product of their imagination finally rises to scrape the heavens.

To Brad Treliving, being here, for that, for the grand opening of the swankiest building, the envy of the NHL, is imperative.

"You've got the foundation of the house built,'' said Treliving late Monday afternoon.

"You're getting the walls up and you want to make sure you get the roof on and stick the furniture inside. You want to see the finished product.

"We're all wired that way."

So the Flames got their most vital piece of off-season business finalized: Re-upping their general manager.

"Multi-year,'' parried Treliving when pressed about term.


"Which beats multi-week."

Did, Treliving is asked, even in his most skeptical moments, ever believe an agreement wouldn't get done?

"No,'' is the quick, emphatic reply. "I didn't envision anything else happening.

"Maybe that's just the optimist in me. You always want clarity. But that (possibly leaving) wasn't on my radar.

"There's still lots of work to do.

"Last I looked, we're not tripping over any rings or Cups around here. A lot more sweat needs to go into it. And I know there are 29 other (GMs) out there thinking the same thing.

"But we really think we've got something here. And you want to see that through.

"I've always said it's about the people for me. To continue with the group we have, upstairs and downstairs, that's what gives you the most satisfaction - You get to keep working with the people you're working with.

"To win, you need a lot of things. But it starts with having the right type of people. And I think, up and down the organization, we have that, most importantly in that locker room and behind the bench."

Since arriving from the Arizona desert as one of the game's bright young minds in the off-season of 2014, under Treliving's auspices the Flames have drafted Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane, Tyler Parsons and Matthew Phillips, among others; signed marquee men Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan to long-term contracts; traded for Dougie Hamilton; and qualified for the playoffs in two of three years.

Over the course of those three seasons, Treliving's stock has only continued to rise. 

There's also much to do: Pending free agents, both restricted and unrestricted to make decisions on, an expansion draft to address, additions to contemplate and a draft to orchestrate.

Video: Treliving and Gulutzan talk about looking ahead to next year

Whether or not, as he claims, Treliving himself had any worries over an eventual outcome ("It's like my taxes,'' he half-joked the other day. "I don't do my taxes until the day before I have to file them, either"), the outside world viewed the issue as a distraction.

"At least now it's a question I don't have to answer anymore,'' he acknowledged. "The best part of this is at the dinner table I don't have to have that look from my wife.

"The 'What is going on here?' look.

"I think I'm back to being No. 4 on the pecking chart at home. The longer this went … the dog had passed me. There are three fish that were slowly creeping up on me.

"I was falling out of the Top 10.

"I'm never going to supersede mom or the girls but at least I've passed the dog again.

"My family loves the city. I do, too. But I get up when it's dark, drive to the rink, then go home when's it's dark. They live in it all day.

"And they love it. Absolutely love it."

He also, as has been repeated, often, loves this team. In the wake of a 95-point outing over the first year coach Glen Gulutzan's regime, the organization is looking only onwards, only upwards.

"I think how the Calgary Flames are viewed right now,'' said Treliving, "is as a team on the rise, a team that treats people the right way, that has a bunch of real good people who care and want to win.

"So I'm glad to has this over, done with, and now we can continue down the path we're on.

"There's real reason for optimism. Because of what's here, because of what's coming. We've still got to do things. That's by addition, certain tweaks and changes.

"I've said it before, often, but when we get there will largely be determined by the group that's here, already in place.

"That's what gives me the most belief.

"They're dialed into it. Actions speak louder than words, of course, but I think they're hungry for more.

"We can legitimately say we're fighting for our seat at the table."

That seat doesn't arrived via embossed RSVP. There are only so many place-settings to around.

But the architect believes in the blueprint he's put in place and the hand-picked construction company assembled to help make the product of his imagination reality.

After all, too many GMs to number down through the years have put up the streamers, helped inflate balloons and fashion the guest list, but aren't around to watch the candles blown out on the cake and a city unwrap the present of its dreams.

"That's the thing,'' says Brad Treliving, more popular around his supper table last night and eager to roll up to his sleeves and dive back into the grind.

"You invest a lot in it.

"So you want to be here for the party."

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