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TRELIVING TALKS TRADE DEADLINE

"In our situation we're right in the battle."

by AARON VICKERS @aavickers / calgaryflames.com

In Jerry Maguire-Rod Tidwell-esque fashion, Brad Treliving has a simple request of his Calgary Flames.  

Help him help them.

Because decisions are looming with the NHL Trade Deadline just three weeks away.

"There's a number of teams in (the playoff hunt in) the Western Conference right now … take a look at the standings and it changes daily," Calgary's general manager started. "The best way we can help ourselves is continue to play good and get some points in the next couple of weeks.

"In our situation we're right in the battle. I think a lot of what we do is going to be dependent on our play here in the next couple of weeks leading up into the deadline. 

"We're moving down a couple parallel paths."

Those paths are clear. 

Put the pedal down over the next eight games to put Treliving in a buying mood on March 1. 

Stall over the next 19 days and push the Flames to the selling side of things. 

Calgary, idle as they'll be through to Monday when they host the Arizona Coyotes at 7 p.m. (SPORTSNET WEST, FAN960), enters Friday's NHL action on the cusp. 

The Flames sit seven points back of the Edmonton Oilers for third in the Pacific Division, and trail each of the

Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings by a single point for each of the two Western Conference wild card entries into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

That race is tight. 

It doesn't include the Vancouver Canucks or the Winnipeg Jets, who sit within five points of Calgary, either. The Dallas

Stars remain within striking distance at seven points back, too.  

The overall picture will have plenty of impact on Treliving's dealings.

"There's a lot of teams in the same predicament," he said. "You're talking with everybody and you're getting a sense of what their plans are. What you're finding right now is there's a lot of people on parallel paths. 

"It almost changes daily. 

"You win a couple in a row and teams are saying they may be in the market to add. They lose a couple and here's the players we may be moving come the deadline. 

"What you need to have is the information, and really the game plan and the thoughts of what teams are trying to do and what opportunities that may create for yourself. 

"I would say right now there's probably, for the last couple weeks, there's only two teams when you look at the standings, especially in the West, that are out of it or have said, 'We're preparing for next year and the future.' 
 
"Outside of that, everyone is really trying to stay in it and feels they have a chance. 

"Depending on what happens in the next couple of weeks that will determine really the course of a lot of teams."

Expand a little further, and what will happen in a couple of months adds another wrinkle, too. 

In welcoming the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18, an expansion draft will take place on June 21 where the Flames will lose a player. 
 
It'll also impact who, or if, Calgary adds to their group at the deadline. 
 
Unchartered territory, Treliving called it.
 
"The expansion draft adds another layer to really all your player movement," the GM said. "I think it's going to play a part in some of the movements you see or don't see at the trade deadline. Obviously when you get into protection lists and what you have today could be impacted by what you add or subtract come March 1. 
 
"It'll definitely play a part."
 
Calgary, like 29 other franchises, will be invited to protect players under two scenarios. 
 
The first will allow for the protection of seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie. The alternative provides safekeeping for eight skaters and a netminder. 
 
Any help Treliving provides the Flames now could serve as a hindrance to he and his group later. 

"The basic philosophy is from a protection standpoint you can go 7-3-1, or eight skaters and a goaltender," Treliving started.

"The difficulty you get into, if you look at 7-3-1 as an example and we went out and added a defenceman … or a team added a defenceman and they're looking to be a 7-3-1 team … and you expend assets for that defenceman, now you're in a situation where potentially you're going to have to make a decision relative to your protected list that impacts losing a player that you potentially didn't want to lose. 
 
"Those are all things you have to take into consideration.
 
"You look at our roster and look at a 7-3-1 scenario. Again, does that change between now and then? There's always that opportunity. 
 
"As much as we want to help ourselves here and give ourselves the best chance down the stretch, you've also got to be cognizant that you're not putting yourself in a position you're exposing someone you don't want to come June."

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