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Flames GM weighs possibilities as draft approaches

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving has seen his popularity spike as the 2015 NHL Draft gets closer.

The Flames own the No. 15 pick; it's one of their four selections in the first two rounds, six in the first three rounds and nine overall. Treliving said Thursday that Calgary has been active in advance of the draft, scheduled for June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

"Obviously we've become popular in the sense we've got picks," Treliving said. "When you look at this year's draft, it's unique in the sense you have six teams without a first-round pick. That's a lot of teams without a first-round pick. Subsequently, you have a number of teams without a second. When you come in with three seconds, you become a little bit more popular.

"When you're talking specifically on draft, you talk about different scenarios. We're at 15. What are the teams sitting above us that may want to move down? Vice versa; who's below us that may want to move up? You frame those so when you get closer you've got the work done prior to [the draft]. You're also looking at those [second-round picks]. To say we're going to be active and make any deals, it's tough to predict. We could not make any."

As it stands, Treliving suggested he'll hold steady.

"My expectation right now is we're going to make nine selections at the draft," he said. "Now things could change. I feel comfortable we've been aggressive in finding out what people may be looking for and they understand what we may be looking for. Now it just may be finding a fit. To handicap it, I couldn't."

The last time the Flames traded their first-round pick came with Jay Feaster as GM in 2012, when they traded the 14th selection in the draft to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for picks No. 21 and No. 42. The Flames drafted Mark Jankowski and Patrick Sieloff; the Sabres selected Zemgus Girgensons.

Treliving, hired by director of hockey operations Brian Burke last April to fill a vacancy created after Feaster was let go in December 2014, has no qualms about staying at No. 15 should a deal not materialize.

"If we do nothing, and it's said by 30 teams every year, we're going to get a good player," he said. "I like the options that we have. Every year somebody falls. Every year 30 teams say they got the guy they didn't expect to and [thankfully] he was there. But I really do feel comfortable at 15 that we're going to get a good player. We like where we're situated.

"There are always surprises. As you do your list, I can sit right here and tell you there's a good chance we're going to get somebody higher than what we have at 15 on our board right now. I suspect, because that's usually what happens."

The Flames are picking outside the top 10 for the first time in three years.

Calgary selected Sean Monahan with the sixth pick in 2013; he made the Flames at training camp as an 18-year-old and has 53 goals and 96 points in 156 NHL games during the past two seasons. A year ago, Treliving selected Sam Bennett with the fourth pick in the draft. Bennett, 18, spent much of the 2014-15 season recovering from shoulder surgery, but he did dress for one regular-season game and all 11 games Calgary played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Treliving cautioned that the rebuilding Flames aren't expecting an immediate impact from their next first-round pick.

"We've been spoiled, and it's a function of where you picked," he said. "We picked fourth last year. The higher you pick, it goes without saying those are the higher-rated players. There's a more likelihood. But yes, I want to really keep expectations realistic. Odds are we're going to be picking a player here that's going to need some time."

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