The chances the Calgary Flames qualify for the post-season appear slim but the team’s president of hockey operations Brian Burke isn’t ready to label his group “sellers” just yet as the Feb. 29 NHL Trade Deadline approaches.
Heading into Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild the Calgary Flames were nine points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with several games in hand.
Burke knows his team, led by general manager Brad Treliving, needs to make decisions on pending unrestricted free agents Kris Russell, Jiri Hudler, David Jones and Jonas Hiller and he confirmed to Prime Time Sports Wednesday they’ve received calls on Russell and Hudler.
“How these next few games [play out] will influence what we do, what Brad does,” Burke said. “I always try to get out in front of the deadline and make my deals a couple weeks in advance or not make any deals but there will be considerable activity [at the deadline]. The phones have heated up.”
Last year, Treliving pulled the trigger on two deals at the deadline. He managed to get a second- and third-round pick from the Capitals for Curtis Glencross and sent Sven Baertschi to the Canucks for a second rounder.
“Right now, you’ve got guys kicking tires and trying to get some initial costs and saying, ‘Would you do this guy for a third? Would you do this guy for a fourth? Would you take this prospect we have in the American League?’…That intensifies and speeds up and you don’t get to see the real price tags on things until you get much closer [to the deadline],” Burke added.
Throughout his career, Burke has spent time as GM of the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Flames and has always said he feels teams make their biggest mistakes at the trade deadline.
“I don’t like the trade deadline. It’s a bunch of shopping carts jammed up at the blue light special aisle.”