Introduction to Flames Free Agency: Expect some additions to strengthen the core

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CALGARY – With nearly $ 18 million in salary cap space, Brad Treliving certainly has the flexibility to make a splash in the draft or free agency.

The signing of Jacob Markstrom or even Alex Pietrangelo is not completely out of the realm of possibility.

Longshots, but doable.

An important player, or two, will no doubt be added to fill in the holes in the net and on the blue line.

But when discussing the state of his team and their playoff developments, the Calgary Flames general manager doesn’t look like a man who’s about to do much to dramatically change the course of his career. club.

After all, his team were less than a dozen seconds away from having Dallas on the ropes, before the Stars returned to claim the series and get within two Stanley Cup wins.

“Do I think I’m 11 seconds away from a 3-1 lead and the puck that hit three skates and came in?” Impassive treliving.

“No, I didn’t think about it at all last month, waking up screaming. ”

He’s joking.

Sort of.

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“It shows you the league is so close,” he said.

“Some people might think you’re a million miles away, but it shows that we’re a good team and that we’ve had the opportunity to put this team on the ropes. We didn’t, and you look at the run they had. But you can’t get lost in it. We need to improve. We weren’t good enough to win this series. We can say “11 seconds”, but the reality is we weren’t good enough. It gives you hope, but the reality is that we have to find ways to improve ourselves. ”

Treliving has the biggest say in this, deciding which of his unrestricted players, if any, he will attempt to re-sign before they enter the open market on Friday.

But if you wait until this is the year he trades Johnny Gaudreau or Sean Monahan, you might be sadly disappointed.

He cites the Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning as an example of how a team can turn past playoff failures into future successes.

Heck, the last three Cup champions provide solid examples of how sticking to a core can eventually pay off.

“It shows that you have to keep knocking on the door,” he said.

“(The Lightning) was a big disappointment, like we did a year ago. They made a few changes throughout the year, but the hard core has been there for a while. I give (GM) Julien (BriseBois) and Coop (coach Jon Cooper) a lot of credit – they stayed the course. You look from the outside at how to change your team, but more often than not a big change that you have to make is not necessary to change players, but people take a step and change the way the players play and what they do. ‘they appreciate. I saw this in Tampa.

No one, including Treliving, compares the Lightning’s previous accomplishments or high-end talent to what the Flames have tinkered together.

The point is, if you have faith in the core group, perhaps the biggest change needed comes from within.

The Flames did a good job starting this evolution in the bubble where they adopted a drastically different style of play, focused on courage, determination and defense.

The Lightning has undergone a different philosophical shift.

“Jon made a really good statement, saying a year ago that his team weren’t happy to beat you 3-0, they wanted to beat you by six, seven, eight or nine,” Treliving recalls.

“But they’ve learned to play the game you need to play in the playoffs, and they’ve been consistent in that regard. This is the takeaway for me. They continued to mature. Individually, this grassroots group has stepped up to play the right way not only when it matters most, but consistently throughout the year.

“We have players who need to continue to evolve and develop their games, and young players who will continue to mature and take on bigger roles. Then it’s the manager’s job to try to improve the team, and that’s what I’m going to try to do.

So what can the Flames hope for through free agency?

“Our two biggest needs now, when you look at our expiring contracts, are determining our goalie and our defense,” confirmed Treliving.

He currently has 13 players under contract, including nine forwards ($ 42 million), three defensemen ($ 16.25 million) and David Rittich in net at $ 2.75 million.

That leaves $ 17.805 million to spend on signing a goalie (around 3.5 million), to replace Andrew Mangiapane (around $ 3 million) and a pair of important defenders.

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world, and then they tell listeners what they heard and what they think.

Treliving said he would be very happy to bring Cam Talbot back, but finding his value is easier said than done given the long list of capable netminders available through free agency or commerce.

Markstrom would be the belle of the ball, if that’s where Treliving wanted to make its entrance.

Alas, Talbot was the team’s playoff MVP and his familiarity with the city and the team makes him the most sensible target. Both sides have spoken, but an offer has yet to be made.

Treliving said on Friday the NHL market was bogged down by caution as general managers scramble to fix player values ​​in a fixed-cap world full of uncertainty.

While the focus should be on inking the team’s second right-handed defender, the Flames were very good in the bubble playing with five lefties at the back.

Pending UFAs TJ Brodie and Erik Gustafsson can play both sides and are still very much in the Flames table, depending on their prize.

Torey Krug is a right-hander, who would also be a major addition, albeit for big bucks.

Perhaps a right-handed Tyson Barrie or veteran Chris Tanev are more logical possibilities.

The Flames’ top nine are set in stone up front, unless the GM agrees with a growing number of fans who believe it’s time for Johnny Gaudreau to be traded.

Or maybe he’s the player the organization needs to work on the most to change their game, Lightning style.

“We’re not going to send good players to say we’re different,” Treliving said.

“The idea that we’re going to detonate doesn’t make sense to me. We are certainly open to change, but what is it. You don’t want to be different and worse. If you want to be different, you want to be better. “



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