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Trade Coverage

Upcoming stretch crucial to Flames strategy

GM Brad Treliving says moves depend on Calgary's play prior to NHL Trade Deadline

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- How the Calgary Flames fare in the next 2 1/2 weeks will dictate the approach by general manager Brad Treliving prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

Calgary has eight games remaining before the deadline, which is 3 p.m. ET on March 1.

"There's a number of teams in [the Stanley Cup Playoff hunt in] the Western Conference right now," Treliving told the Flames website. "Take a look at the standings and it changes daily. 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."

Entering play Friday, the Flames (28-25-3) trail the Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings by one point for the first and second wild cards into the playoffs from the Western Conference. Nashville holds the first wild card because it has one game in hand on Los Angeles.

The Predators have two games in hand on the Flames; the Kings have one.

Calgary is seven points behind the Edmonton Oilers for third place in the Pacific Division. Edmonton has played one fewer game.

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"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.'"

The Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets each are five points behind the Flames, and the Dallas Stars trail Calgary by seven points.

"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,'" Treliving said. "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."

The NHL Expansion Draft to fill the roster of the Vegas Golden Knights could add another wrinkle, Treliving said.

The existing 30 teams will have the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, or eight skaters regardless of position and one goaltender, for the draft June 18-20, with selections to be announced June 21.

"I think it's going to play a part in some of the movements you see or don't see at the trade deadline," Treliving said. "Obviously when you get into protection lists and what you have today could be impacted by what you add or subtract come March 1."

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