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Treliving ready to begin building Flames at draft

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving has wasted little time fine-tuning his front office.

At the 2014 NHL Draft, and with free agency opening shortly thereafter, he'll soon get his first opportunity to put his fingerprints on the player personnel end of things too.

"I'm excited because this really starts the time that you can help build your team," Treliving said. "Although there's a lot of excitement around the draft itself and obviously July 1 [start of free agency], those aren't the only two days to build your team.

"This is just the start of it. I wouldn't categorize it as saying putting my stamp on it; now's the time we can be aggressive and be creative to get better. This is all about getting better. This isn't about any one individual trying to come up here or put their stamp on and those types of things.

"This is about getting better, and it starts at the draft with the picks we can make and we'll see what other things we can do both around the draft and leading into free agency."

Since being hired by president of hockey operations Brian Burke in late April, Treliving has added Brad Pascall and promoted Craig Conroy to serve as assistant GMs. He's also started the search for a new goaltending coach and made another coaching change with the Adirondack Flames, Calgary's American Hockey League affiliate, in hiring Ryan Huska away from the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League.

Now settled with his staff, Treliving's attention will turn to the players they'll oversee.

And it starts in Philadelphia.

The Flames have seven picks, starting with No. 4 in the first round, plus two picks each in the second and third rounds, giving Treliving a chance to add a solid number of prospects to the rebuilding club.

"We're excited where we're at right now, picking fourth, five picks in the first three rounds," he said. "We've got a plan going into Philadelphia. We'll see how things unfold over the next week but I do know it's going to be a busy week.

"We've spent a lot of time in the last several weeks with a number of the young men, both at their place and we've brought in a number of players. We've poked, we've prodded, and as we've told them, this process isn't created to make them uncomfortable but these are very, very important decisions."

As busy as he and his staff have been through the draft process, Treliving might find himself even busier once he gets to Philadelphia.

The former Phoenix Coyotes assistant GM expects phone lines to be busy League-wide between now and when he anticipates stepping to the stage at Wells Fargo Center to announce the No. 4 pick.

"I think it's going to be busy," Treliving said. "I think from now, we're in draft week, I think there's going to be activity. I think it's going to be as busy and as volatile of a draft week as we've seen in recent memory.

"We're prepared for every scenario. It's an interesting time because very seldom, first of all, do you get such a lack of consensus. If there's no moves, who is No. 1? Secondarily, not very often does the team holding the first pick openly talk about the potential of it moving. Those are a couple different dynamics, but whoever is there at four, we'll have a nameplate and a jersey all ready for them."

That's not to say the No. 4 pick is completely off the table.

But it's not exactly in play, either.

"It's exciting right now when you're picking fourth," Treliving said. "In January it's not so exciting. There's a lot of pain to get a top-five pick. To all of a sudden say we're going to do something else, it would have to be significant. Look at Florida. It's hard to say, 'OK, we're going to trade out of No. 1.'

"It has to make sense."

With the Flames' draft list nearly finalized, making a move that makes sense might be even more difficult.

"We're pretty close," Treliving said. "It's funny; when you get all the scouts together it's reason to debate but I think our list is pretty firm. We'll get in there [Tuesday] and find reasons to argue with each other.

"I feel very comfortable with the homework that's been done. As much work as you put into it, there's some risk always but I feel very confident going in that the work's been done, the preparation's been done.

"Now we get into Philadelphia and see how things flow."

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