Calgary Flames

How Brad Treliving assembled the Calgary Flames’ elite defence corps

If there’s one thing Brad Treliving loves more than Pasta Tuesdays, it’s a blockbuster trade involving star players.

This summer, Treliving took one of the bleakest possible moments in Calgary Flames franchise history and orchestrated the most impressive comeback the NHL has seen. The Flames will roll out one of, if not the best overall defence corps in the NHL next season, and Treliving is to thank for that.

Without Treliving, this defence corps would look monumentally different. Would it still be just as good though? Let’s take a look.

Drafted defencemen

Two members of the Flames defence were originally drafted by the team. Both were selected in the second round of the 2015 draft just six picks apart. Rasmus Andersson was taken with the 53rd overall selection, and Oliver Kylington was taken with the 60th. The Flames acquired the 53rd pick from the Vancouver Canucks in the Sven Baertschi trade.

In another world, both of these players would still be on the team since they were taken directly from the draft.

Traded defencemen

In his two biggest trades, Treliving landed both left defencemen in the Flames’ top-four. Noah Hanifin was acquired in the trade that sent Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland, and Adam Fox to the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2018, also netting the Flames Elias Lindholm. This was the fist massive blockbuster executed by Treliving.

MacKenzie Weegar was acquire this summer alongside newly signed Jonathan Huberdeau in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk.

In another world, the Flames would still have Hamilton and Fox on their blueline (we’re going to pretend that Fox was a respectful professional and chose to sign with the team that drafted him).

Free agent defencemen

The remaining two members of the Flames’ top six were acquired via free agency. Chris Tanev signed with the Flames in 2020 after playing 10 seasons with the Canucks. It was a much maligned signing at the time since Tanev was coming off his worst season in the NHL, but he was able to return right back to form and has continue to be one of the best defensive defencemen in the game.

Nikita Zadorov was originally acquired via trade with the Chicago Blackhawks last offseason, but after signing a one-year contract with the Flames, he did hit free agency as an unrestricted free agent this year. He chose to sign a two-year deal with the Flames, which is how he remains on the roster today.

Bizzaro World Flames defence corps

Treliving traded away arguably the two best defencemen we’ve discussed, but still managed to put together a truly elite blueline.

As well, Treliving traded away draft picks to acquire Travis Hamonic back in 2017. One of those picks was the Flames’ own first rounder in 2018 that the Islanders used to draft Noah Dobson.

In another world, Flames bizarro world, the defence could have had Hamilton, Fox, Andersson, Tanev, Dobson, Kylington, and Zadorov as their seven-deep D corps.

That lineup might have been even better than the current one, but for Treliving to have traded away such incredible players and still managing to assemble the elite defence corps he has is truly remarkable. The Flames had multiple paths to an elite defence corps, and Treliving managed to steer the team towards having one despite varying circumstances going against them.

Add in the fact that the trades he made brought in Lindholm and Huberdeau and you’ve got a body of work that most fanbases could only dream of their GM putting together.

In Treliving we trust.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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