Brad Treliving’s 5 Best & Worst Trades as Flames GM


Brad Treliving was just over a week short of hitting the nine-year mark as the Calgary Flames general manager (GM). He was hired in April 2014 after the team had missed the playoffs for five consecutive years. During his tenure as GM, the Flames made the postseason five times and finished with the second and third most points in franchise history. All that, and they won two playoff series.

It’s true that Treliving could only be accountable for so much, but he was responsible for how the team looked on the ice year in and year out. We will look at all his best and worst trades as GM over the nine years and how they all turned out for the Flames.

Treliving’s Best Trades With Flames

March 2, 2015

We’ll start back at one of Treliving’s first trades for the Flames, which turned out to be a very good one. Many of these trades made by the former general manager worked out well in the long run, and his drafting also played a factor. The first great trade came in 2015 when the Flames traded the Vancouver Canucks Sven Baertschi in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick which got them, Rasmus Andersson.

Rasmus Andersson Calgary Flames
Rasmus Andersson, Calgary Flames (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Andersson’s value to the team goes without question as he was the Flames’ number one defenceman this season, logging over 24 minutes of ice time per game and scoring 11 goals and 49 points. He has played 377 regular season games for Calgary, scoring 27 goals and 161 points. He’s also under contract for another three years at $4.55 million average annual value (AAV). Where is Baertschi? He played just 225 games for the Canucks from 2015 to 2020, scoring 58 goals and 110 points. But he fell off in 2019, playing the majority of the following three seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL) before now playing in the National League overseas.

June 26, 2015

The next strong trade didn’t come long after that as the Flames traded a 2015 first-round pick (Zach Senyshyn) and two 2015 second-round picks (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson & Jeremy Lauzon) in exchange for Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins. It seemed like a fairly big return for the Bruins at the time, but the three only played a total of 119 games for Boston. Senyshyn is an AHLer at best, Karlsson hasn’t been in the NHL since 2018-19, and Lauzon moved on to a couple of teams since last playing for the Bruins.

Hamilton, on the other hand, played three very strong seasons for the Flames as a young 20-year-old, scoring at least 12 goals and 43 points in each of the seasons. He was then a major piece in the next trade we are going to discuss.

June 23, 2018

Jump ahead three years, and the Flames traded away Dougie Hamilton but got a very favourable return in the process. The trade with the Carolina Hurricanes included sending off Micheal Ferland, Dougie Hamilton, and Adam Fox (signing rights) in exchange for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. Ferland performed just as expected for the Hurricanes, but was with them for just one season. Hamilton regressed his first season with the Hurricanes but returned to form. The team then lost him in free agency. The final piece of that trade, Adam Fox, never played a game for Carolina, and it seemed as though he had a very specific team in mind that he wanted to sign with.

Elias Lindholm Calgary Flames
Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

On the receiving end for the Flames, they got two very productive players that are still a part of the team today. Lindholm came into his right after the trade and in fewer games with the Flames than the Hurricanes, has scored 75 more goals and 137 more points. He also finished second in Selke Trophy voting last season while receiving votes in two other seasons with the Flames. The great two-way player is the Flames’ top-line centre and is on a great contract for one more year. Hanifin got more opportunities in Calgary and has become a solid top-pairing defender over the past couple of seasons. He also still has a year left on his deal at $4.85 million.

July 28, 2021

Skip forward three years again, and we get to just two years ago when the Flames made a very good under-the-radar trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. In this trade, the Flames acquired Nikita Zadorov in exchange for their 2023 third-round pick (Aidan Thompson). The prospect drafted by the Blackhawks has yet to sign a contract but was a point-per-game player in the NCAA this season.

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In two seasons since being acquired by the Flames, Zadorov has done his job very well. He plays big and very physical, even taking a big step forward in 2022-23 with 14 goals, much more ice time and responsibility, and more blocked shots. He too has one year left on his $3.75 million AAV contract, but as one of Darryl Sutter’s favourite players, could even play a larger role next season.

February 14, 2022

The fifth and final of the best trades made by Treliving over his tenure as GM came before last season’s trade deadline. The Flames, who ended up winning the division and making it to the second round of the playoffs, acquired Tyler Toffoli from the Montreal Canadiens ahead of the trade deadline rush and gave up Tyler Pitlick, Emil Heineman, 2022 first-round pick (Filip Mesar), and a 2023 fifth-round pick.

Tyler Toffoli Calgary Flames
Tyler Toffoli, Calgary Flames (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Flames weren’t just trading for a rental, as Toffoli had two more seasons left on his deal at the time. He performed as expected for the Flames after being acquired, scoring 11 goals and 23 points in 37 games, but led the team in goals and points this season and was one of the only consistent bright spots all season. Pitlick played 14 games for the Canadiens, Heineman has never played an NHL game, and even though Filip Mesar has shown promise, it’s still too early to tell and he wouldn’t have been able to give the Flames anything close to what Toffoli has.

Treliving’s Worst Trades With Flames

February 20, 2017

Treliving had a good first few seasons without a blunder that we can look back on and criticize. But his first was when the Flames acquired Michael Stone for two draft picks. The picks were a 2017 third-round pick (Stuart Skinner) and a 2018 fifth-round pick (Akira Schmid). Skinner will be up for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year this season, and Schmid could have if he played more games. Even though the Flames don’t necessarily need more goaltenders right now, the value of each is much higher now.

Stone was a productive and reliable defenceman for the Arizona Coyotes before the trade and hasn’t been the same since. He played one full season for Calgary the following year after the trade, but has played just 127 games over the five seasons after that, mostly as a seventh defenceman. He has signed a couple of one-year deals, but it’s not worth what came of the two draft picks.

June 24, 2017

Just a few months after the first bad trade of Treliving’s tenure as GM of the Flames, he made another one, to address the defence. This too didn’t work out and would be greatly benefiting the Flames right now if they didn’t make it. Calgary acquired Travis Hamonic and a 2019 fourth-round pick (Lucas Feuk) in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick (Noah Dobson), a 2018 second-round pick (Ruslan Iskhakov), and a 2019 second-round pick (Samuel Bolduc) from the New York Islanders.

Travis Hamonic Calgary Flames
Travis Hamonic with the Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Hamonic wasn’t anything special for the Flames, spending three seasons with the team, and the player they got with the fourth-round pick hasn’t amounted to anything. But for the Islanders, Noah Dobson is a great young player and is a huge part of their team right now, while Bolduc is playing playoff games for New York in 2023. As for Iskhakov, he’s still in the Islanders’ system.

April 12, 2021

Treliving was careful and didn’t make any more mistakes as he did in 2017 until four years later. The Flames looked for real last season and ahead of the strong season, started to shape a different roster. Sam Bennett, a former fourth-overall pick, never showed much in terms of playing up to his draft position, and the Flames had enough. They sent Bennett and a 2022 sixth-round pick (Gustav Karlsson) to the Florida Panthers for Emil Heineman and a 2022 second-round pick (David Goyette).

Bennett immediately flipped a switch and turned his whole career around. He scored six goals and 15 points in the 10 remaining games of the 2020-21 season and has totaled 50 goals and 104 points in 144 games with the Panthers. He has been a very solid top-six contributor for Florida since the trade, and Calgary still has neither of the two assets they got in return.

July 22, 2022

The first bad trade by Treliving in a few years somewhat started a snowball effect. During the 2022 offseason, the Flames were faced with a big problem. Johnny Gaudreau chose not to re-sign, and Matthew Tkachuk planned on playing one final year with the Flames at most. This came after the previously mentioned division title and second-round appearance. Tkachuk seemingly forced himself out of town to a team he wanted to play for while Treliving scrambled. The Flames traded Tkachuk and a 2025 fourth-round pick for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a 2025 first-round pick. A stellar return…or so we thought.

Jonathan Huberdeau Calgary Flames
Jonathan Huberdeau, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

What initially looked like a very good trade for the Flames if they could get Huberdeau and Weegar extended, which they did, has fallen flat before the new contracts have even kicked in. There are no complaints from me about Weegar, except he wasn’t put in a role to impact the game as much as he did for the Panthers in previous seasons. Huberdeau and Sutter didn’t mesh well, and the winger had one of his worst seasons, recording the biggest drop-off in points from one season to the next in NHL history. Tkachuk had an MVP-calibre season for the Panthers, and if it weren’t for Connor McDavid, would have a great shot at winning the Hart Trophy in 2023. Schwindt is also an alright prospect, but the first-round pick was used to dump a contract, which we will get to next.

August 18, 2022

The cap dump of Sean Monahan wasn’t exactly great for the Flames and worked out for the Canadiens. He had fallen off after previous seasons as the team’s top-line centerman and was either spending the majority of the time on the fourth line or the injured reserve (IR). By making over $5 million for one final season, the Flames decided to free up his cap by moving him, also trading away a first-round pick in exchange for future considerations. Though it could turn out to be a late first-rounder by the time 2025 rolls around, the Flames aren’t exactly headed in the right direction to make that a reality.

Even though Monahan was injured for the majority of this season, the team got a productive second-line centre who bounced back. The Canadiens fell off once he landed on the IR, so his absence made a significant difference. It’s not yet clear whether he will be back with Montreal next season, but even if he isn’t, they got a player that did more good than harm and got a first-rounder for their troubles. Calgary freed up money to acquire veterans who are on the decline.

Is there any trade you think should be on here, good or bad? Let me know in the comments.

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