It’s no secret that the Calgary Flames would like to get back into the first round of the NHL Draft, but general manager Brad Treliving is cautioning fans to not get their hopes up when it comes to a trade.
“Would we like to have a pick? Sure. The reality is it’s expensive to get into the first round of the draft and for a reason,” Treliving said in an interview on The Big Show on Sportsnet 960 in Calgary. “If there’s something that we can get done and a player sitting there that we like and a deal makes sense, we’ll try to do it. But I wouldn’t be holding our breath right now.”
The Flames traded their first and second round picks in the 2018 draft to the New York Islanders last summer as part of a package that saw Travis Hamonic join the Flames. The Flames also traded their third round pick to Arizona for goaltender Mike Smith.
But because the Flames missed the playoffs, the first-rounder they traded away will be pick No. 12. In an interview after the season, Treliving said he didnt’t want to blow up the team, which is likely what it would take to move back into the first round.
“The cost right now is a really good young player that’s on your roster. And we can all connect the dots to those names,” Treliving said Friday. “And to move somebody like that jut to go up and pick a player and hope and pray that they turn out to be at the level of the guys you have right now, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
In all, the Flames only have four picks in next week’s draft, two in the fourth round (No. 105 and No. 109), one in the sixth (No. 167) and one in the seventh (No. 198).
While Treliving understands only having four picks isn’t ideal, he was quick to point out that doesn’t mean the picks they do have won’t turn into NHL players one day.
“There’s going to be players from every round that are going to play out of this draft. There are going to players who aren’t drafted that should have been that are going to go on to great careers,” he said. “Our job is to find players that are there with the picks we have.”
Despite knowing for a while that they weren’t going to have a pick in the top 100, Treliving said the team prepared for this draft like it would any other. And if a trade does come up, they will be ready to pick anywhere.
“Our mandate is we’re operating as you normally would. From how we scout during the winter, to how we do our list to how we get the intelligence that we get,” he said. “It’s no different whether you have 15 picks or five.”