Calgary Herald

Defining Treliving's legacy is not an easy task

Surveying the good, the bad from ex-gm's tenure with Flames as they face the Leafs


Even the most generous reading of Brad Treliving's time as general manager with the Calgary Flames would have to admit it was a bit of a mixed bag.

With the Flames taking on Treliving's new club, the Toronto Maple Leafs, on Friday night, it's as good a time as any to look back on the pros and the cons.

Coming to any meaningful conclusion­s about his tenure, though, isn't easy.

On the positive side, he guided the team out of its post-jarome Iginla slide and built a squad that won the franchise's first playoff series since 2004.

The trade with the Carolina Hurricanes that brought Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to Calgary for Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and the rights to Adam Fox worked out pretty well.

Picking Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane, Adam Ruzicka and Rasmus Andersson outside of the first round of the NHL draft helped bolster the team's depth. Andersson has emerged as the Flames' No. 1 defenceman.

On the negative, there are the signings of Troy Brouwer and James Neal. There was the decision to put Juuso Valimaki on waivers, which cost them their former first-round pick. Signing Jonathan Huberdeau to a longterm, massive money contract looks like a questionab­le move. Even though the Flames believed they had Johnny Gaudreau committed to a long-term deal in the summer of 2022, that proved to be a costly miscalcula­tion when he walked away in free agency and they got nothing in return.

When Treliving left the Flames for the supposedly greener grass of the Leafs' GM job this past spring, the organizati­on was saddled with a number of expensive contracts for players who will be well into their late 30s by the time they're off the books. There were also seven key guys set to become free agents the next summer.

With the Flames set to take on the Leafs on Friday night for the first time since Treliving jumped ship, he has wisely chosen to avoid speaking about his former employer in the lead-up to the game.

“I'm not going to comment on the situation other than this — there are very good people in that organizati­on as well as good players,” Treliving told NHL. com's Mike Zeisberger this week.

“I know they've struggled a bit to start, but I'm confident they have the ingredient­s to turn it around.”

Treliving will build a new legacy in Toronto.

In Calgary, the debate will likely rage on about how his time with the Flames should be remembered.

Did he skip town without cleaning up a mess he created? Does that really matter? What's important now is what new Flames GM Craig Conroy does with the hand he was dealt when he was hired, right?

In a lot of ways, it still feels like the Flames are the team Treliving built. Conroy's only major move this summer was dealing Tyler Toffoli to the New Jersey Devils for Yegor Sharangovi­ch and a pick.

After the first couple games of the season, that looked like a steal for the Devils. But Sharangovi­ch has been getting better by the game and has settled in nicely on a line with Nazem

Kadri and Connor Zary. You can't grade a trade after 12 games, especially when the reason they traded Toffoli was they balked at his request for a long-term contract.

What Conroy does with the Flames' remaining 2024 free agents will define his term as

GM. It's been reported there's been a pause placed on contract talks as the Flames try to get a better grip on where they are and what their future should look like.

That future will belong to Conroy.

And perception­s of the former GM'S moves can change. Consider the effect Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil have had on this Flames team. They were Treliving draft picks. He deserves credit for that, just like he deserves criticism for his mistakes.

The Flames were in win-now mode for the past couple seasons. They believed themselves to be contenders. Should they have looked for youth when they dealt Matthew Tkachuk? Perhaps, but it's not as if Treliving was the only person who felt he'd kept the Flames in the Stanley Cup mix when he dealt Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers and got Huberdeau, Mackenzie Weegar and Cole Schwindt in return.

And was there pressure from up top to keep the Flames competitiv­e? Did hiring Darryl Sutter put Treliving in a position where any sort of youth movement was impossible?

The former GM'S legacy in Calgary is complicate­d, but whose isn't?

He had nine years to build a winner. They got out of the first round once. That's better than a lot of GMS have managed in Calgary during the last 33 years, but would fall short of a passing grade in most markets.

So what do we make of Treliving's time as Flames GM? There's good and there's bad — a mixed bag.

Toronto fans can determine for themselves what they make of him as a wheeler and dealer.

In Calgary, the only thing that matters is what Conroy does now.

 ?? JACK BOLAND FILES ?? Brad Treliving spent nine years trying to build a winner in Calgary before jumping to the Toronto Maple Leafs in June.
JACK BOLAND FILES Brad Treliving spent nine years trying to build a winner in Calgary before jumping to the Toronto Maple Leafs in June.
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