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Flames Appear to Have Chosen Sutter Over Treliving

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On Monday morning, the Calgary Flames announced they had mutually agreed to part ways with former general manager (GM) Brad Treliving. While somewhat surprising, this is something many have seen happening as it wasn’t clear whether or not the two sides were interested in coming to terms on a new contract.

While this move didn’t come as a huge surprise, however, what has caught some off guard is the fact that it sounds as though Darryl Sutter will remain behind the bench to begin next season. Despite having a two-year contract extension kicking in for the 2023-24 campaign, many believed he would be on the way out the door due to some reportedly tense relationships with a number of players.

Darryl Sutter Calgary Flames
Darryl Sutter, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As frustrated as some players in the room were said to be with Sutter, however, they weren’t the only ones. According to several different sources, ownership’s decision to stick with Sutter moving forward is what ultimately led Treliving to choose to walk away from the GM position he held for nearly nine years.

Sutter & Treliving on Different Pages

Throughout the 2022-23 season, there were rumblings that Sutter and Treliving were no longer as tight as they had been when the former was hired in March 2021. Things seemed to boil over after Sutter’s infamous “what number was he” clip came out after Jakob Pelletier’s NHL debut. Treliving made it clear that he wasn’t a fan of how his coach handled things and said he let him know just that.

As has been mentioned time and time again, Sutter has a very demanding personality that can wear things on people in a short time. That certainly appeared to happen with several Flames players throughout the 2022-23 season and seems to have happened with Treliving. In his latest 32 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman said the two were hardly communicating for some time.

Brad Treliving Calgary Flames
Brad Treliving, General Manager of the Calgary Flames (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Treliving and the Flames “mutually agreed to part ways” on Monday, five days after their last game of a disappointing 2022-23. Don Maloney, now President of Hockey Operations and interim GM, said Treliving first indicated last Wednesday he was leaving. It is believed a deteriorating relationship with Sutter played a major role in the GM’s decision, that the two could not continue working together and hadn’t really communicated well in some time. If Sutter didn’t have an extension, maybe the outcome is different.”


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While Friedman is extremely credible, to begin with, he wasn’t the only insider to report a disconnect between the coach and GM. Speaking on The Jeff Marek Show on Monday afternoon, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis said this came down to ownership choosing one over the other.

“The news today to me tells you that management chose the coach. I think that’s what it all boils down to,” Francis said. “They have faith in this coach, this owner does, and he’s decided that the coach is more important than the general manager. That’s what I interpret today’s news as.”

From a hockey perspective, it is quite puzzling that ownership elected to go with Sutter over Treliving. Despite winning the Jack Adams after the 2021-22 season, it has become quite clear that his message has run its course with this group of Flames. As Friedman mentioned, the money owed to Sutter due to his extension likely had a lot to do with this.

Flames Facing Major Questions Moving Forward

Maloney and the rest of the Flames management team will be tasked with finding a replacement for Treliving. There are a number already rumored to be in the running, including current assistant GM Craig Conroy, though a decision isn’t expected to be made immediately. However, it is far from the only thing to keep an eye out for when it comes to this team.

Related: Calgary Flames: Getting to Know Don Maloney

Assuming all the reports about players’ distaste for Sutter are true, the organization may look to trade several players entering the final season of their contract. Both Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund seemed very hesitant to commit to signing extensions when asked about doing so at player exit interviews, and one can’t help but wonder if that is due to Sutter being behind the bench. If that is indeed the case, you can bet they aren’t happy with what transpired on Monday, and may very well be dawning different jerseys for the 2023-24 season.


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