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Breaking down some of Brad Treliving's most noteable trades as Flames GM

Treliving was brought in to make changes, but how major will those changes be?

After what was an incredibly controversial few weeks following the Leafs' second-round playoff departure, the search for Kyle Dubas’ replacement is over. Former Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving has been hired as the 18th GM in Leafs' history.



What does this mean for the team?



Firstly, Treliving is certainly an experienced general manager. He served as assistant GM of the Phoenix Coyotes and GM of their AHL affiliate from 2003 to 2014. After which he was hired by Brian Burke as GM of the Calgary Flames.



In his nine seasons with the Flames, Treliving made the playoffs five times and made it to the second round twice. His trade history is certainly an interesting one.



Let’s break down his three biggest moves as Flames GM.



The Lindholm/Hamilton Trade



In June of 2018, the Flames made a franchise-altering trade with the Carolina Hurricanes. Dougie Hamilton had just played three solid seasons with the Flames, finishing top 10 in Norris voting in 16-17.  However, Hamilton seemed to have some problems fitting in with the Flames' locker room.

Young college defenceman Adam Fox was also included in the trade after his representatives informed the Flames that he wouldn’t sign in Calgary. That’s right, Norris trophy winner Adam Fox. The Flames lost two Norris calibre defensemen in the same trade.  What they got back wasn’t a bad return though.



In exchange for Dougie Hamilton, Michael Ferland, and the signing rights to Adam Fox, the Carolina Hurricanes sent Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to Calgary. Hanifin has been one of the Flames' best defenders of the past few seasons, specifically shining alongside Chris Tanev, making up one of the league's top D-pairs. Lindholm has been no slouch either, consistently smashing the 20-goal mark in four out of his five seasons with the Flames, and even scoring 40 goals and 80 points last season while playing alongside Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau (We’ll get to them later on).



At the time, the trade seemed fair. A young defenseman and a young defensive prospect the Flames would’ve lost for nothing anyways turned into an impressive two-way forward capable of scoring 30-40 goals and a top-pairing defenseman.



The Toffoli  Trade



The Flames were all in during the 2021-22 season. Their top line was producing at an alarming rate, Darryl Sutter had the team defending at an elite level, and Jakub Markstrom was in Vezina conversations. Heading into the trade deadline, the Flames looked to get their business done early. Five weeks before the March 21st deadline, Calgary traded depth forward Tyler Pitlick, prospect Emil Heineman, a conditional 2022 1st round pick, a 2023 3rd, and a conditional 2024 4th to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Tyler Toffoli.



While it seems they gave up a lot, Tyler Toffoli has performed magnificently in a Flames jersey, scoring 34 goals and 37 assists for 73 points this past season. All while making less than $5 million against the cap.



The Tkachuk Trade



It was easily the biggest trade of Treliving’s career, and could arguably be one of the most impactful trades in NHL history. On July 22nd of last year, after Johnny Gaudreau left Calgary to sign in Columbus, Mathew Tkachuk made it clear that he was unwilling to re-sign in Calgary long-term. In a wild week of trade rumours and speculation, Treliving finally pulled the trigger. Matthew Tkachuk and a 2024 4th round pick to Florida in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, Mackenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a conditional 1st round pick.



On paper, it seems like the Flames won the trade in a landslide. They received a 115-point centre who led the league in assists, a terrifically solid defenseman in Mackenzie Weegar, and a first-round pick. Considering the fact that Tkachuk had a modified no-trade list at the time, and was only eligible to be traded to a handful of teams, it seems like Treliving was able to maximize the return for his young star.



Then again, Matthew Tkachuk is now a Hart trophy finalist and he’s led his Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final where he might just win the Conn Smythe, while Jonathan Huberdeau set a new NHL record in reduced point production, going from 115 points last year to just 55.



As of today, the Panthers won the trade definitively.



So how does all of this relate to the Leafs?



Treliving was hired as a GM with a wealth of experience. Specifically in making big moves to shake up a team. He’s shown over the course of his career that he’s not afraid to trade star players, high draft picks, and just about anything to improve his chances of winning.



That’s why he was hired by Shanahan. Not to get attached to certain players or contracts, and moving on when he finds it necessary.



It’s clear that by hiring Treliving, the Leafs are looking at moving some players out the door. The question is, who will it be?

Dave Felsbourg

Saturday, June 3, 2023

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