It has been the worst kept secret since Brendan Shanahan fired Kyle Dubas a week and a half ago. Brad Treliving (53 now, 54 in August) was at the top of the Toronto Maple Leafs search for a new general manager and now it appears that the process is complete. Dreger was also the first insider to mention Treliving at the top of the job search, on the radio mere hours after Shanahan's infamous press conference.
The Toronto Maple #Leafs are putting the finishing touches on a contract that will make Brad Treliving the 18th GM in club history.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 31, 2023
Process could be wrapped as soon as this afternoon. Still some loose ends to tie up.
First to report: @DarrenDreger.
Brad Treliving's Resume
- The son of Boston Pizza Chairman and owner, and the Dragon's Den regular, Jim Treliving.
- After an ECHL career, Treliving became the GM of the AHL San Antonio Rampage and stayed in the job of the Phoenix Coyotes AHL general manager for 12 years.
- Treliving spent seven of those years as the Assistant GM with the Coyotes. The Coyotes made the playoffs three times in his tenure, winning two playoff series in that time (the one time they made it to the conference finals in 2012).
- Was Assistant GM and then GM of Team Canada at the IIHF Men's World Championships for two years.
- Became the GM of the Calgary Flames in 2014 and held the job for nine seasons, "mutually agreeing to part ways" following the 2023 season where the Flames missed the playoffs. Elliotte Friedman reports it was the "deteriorated" relationship with the head coach Treliving hired that pushed him out of the door.
"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 really hadn’t communicated well in some time. If Sutter didn’t have an extension, maybe the outcome is different."
Brian will be breaking down Brad Treliving's NHL Draft record in a post below:
In nine seasons, Brad Treliving has overseen six head coaches. One he inherited, two interim, one who has run off to the KHL, and one who drove him out of town.
- Bob Hartley – was already in Calgary, worked with Treliving for two years. Won a round in the first year, missed the playoffs in the second. That's when Treliving let him go.
- Glen Gulutzan – Treliving's first true coaching hire lasted two seasons as well where the Flames lost in the first round and missed the playoffs.
- Bill Peters – One and a half years from 2019 to 2020. You know why he left. Statement from Treliving immediately following the allegations is below.
- Geoff Ward and Ryan Huska – Finished out the 2020-21 season and started the 2021-22 with Ward named the head coach.
- Darryl Sutter – hired after Ward was fired midseason. Coached three years in Calgary and was fired by the new management following Treliving's departure. The Flames made the playoffs once and won one round in his tenure.
Two main takeaways I got from the press conference below was the refrain about people need to make sure they "evolve" and that the racism against Aliu didn't happen in Calgary.
Context of Flames roster during tenure
I won't ignore the quality of the Flames roster during Treliving's time, because all the playoff losses and misses wouldn't be a surprise if the team was tanking. Unfortunately, they were not. Here is the core from that time:
- The Flames finished as high as second in the NHL and as low as 26th in the league during Treliving's tenure.
- The Flames were a cap team in every season Treliving managed.
- The team won two rounds in his nine years under Treliving.
Giordano and Brodie for seven years, Hanifin for five years, Gaudreau for eight years, Tkachuk playing a major role for four years, good defensive centres like Lindholm and Backlund for almost the entire time.
Starting with the easy ones, and likely the ones most impacted by ownership. Unfortunately that is not something Treliving will be insulted from here in Toronto where more and more of ownership's meddling is starting to come out.
- Traded for and traded away Dougie Hamilton, whom he couldn't convince to sign.
- Drafted and traded away Adam Fox, whom he couldn't convince to sign.
- Drafted and traded away Matthew Tkachuk, whom he couldn't convince to sign.
Hamilton and Fox were traded together for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. Treliving couldn't convince Hamilton to sign long term (though there were complaints about his defensive game, as well), and Fox was insistent on playing in New York for his wife's career. I am willing to give Treliving a pass on one and not the other.
Here are some of the trades Treliving executed. Some of them are not very notable, but it's interesting to see how many names were rung by both Dubas and Treliving.
- Acquired Dougie Hamilton for a first and two seconds.
- Traded away Kris Russell for the second round pick that became Dillon Dubé.
- Acquired Mike Smith for Chad Johnson during a goalie crisis.
- Acquired Travis Hamonic for a first and two seconds.
- Acquired Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin for Dougie Hamilton, Adam Fox, and Michael Ferland.
- Acquired Milan Lucic and a 3rd for James Neal.
- Traded for Erik Gustafsson at the trade deadline.
- Traded Sam Bennett to Florida for a 2nd and a prospect he'd trade for...
- Tyler Toffoli to the Flames for a 1st, prospect, player, and extras package.
- Acquired Calle Järnkrok at the deadline for a 2nd, 3rd, and 7th.
- Traded Matthew Tkachuk for Huberdeau, Weegar, and a first (either 31st or 32nd overall).
- Sent a first round pick to Montreal to eat Monahan's last year.
- Traded Brett Ritchie for Nick Ritchie.
- Traded for IIHF World Championship Bronze Medalist and Hero of his Country, Mighty Latvia, Kristians Rubins.
Treliving has also exclusively traded down at NHL Drafts – three times since 2020, in fact. The only time he traded up was to draft Oliver Kylington. Data shows that trading down is always the right decision and is a very easy way to add value to the prospect pool.
Treliving extended his young RFAs to reasonable 5-7 year contract extensions, keeping all their numbers under $7 million. Those players include Gaudreau, Monahan, Backlund, Lindholm, Hamilton, Hanifin, Brodie, Andersson.
The only ones he missed were Tkachuk who took a three-year contract and negotiated a sign-and-trade to Florida and Andrew Mangiapane, who is also in a three-year contract that will expire with him as a UFA.
Treliving extended Mark Giordano to a six-year extension and got a Norris during that contract. Signed MacKenzie Weegar to a 8 x $6.25 million contract extension after acquiring him. It's hard not to stare at the giant Huberdeau 8 x $10.5 million contract that begins when Huberdeau is 30 (this summer).
Among the UFA contracts he signed, all of them were too much for too long, like every UFA contract is. Here were the main acquisitions sorted by cap hit: Nazem Kadri (7 x 7 in 2022), Jacob Markstrom (6 x 6 in 2020), James Neal (5 x 5.75 in 2018), Blake Coleman (6 x 4.9 in 2021), Chris Tanev (4 x 4.5 in 2020), Troy Brouwer (4 x 4.5 in 2016), Michael Frolik (5 x 4.3 in 2015).
Treliving signed a lot of $3-5 million UFA contracts as his teams were often working with a locked up core that didn't individually cost too much. Lots of mixed results all over the board, including the list of names above. I think the only name that stands out as a clear win is Chris Tanev, who has had good results playing with Kylington, Hanifin, and most recently Weegar in his three years so far. But at $4.5 million, even he's not driving results.
Among the depth signings under $1 million some of the names that jump out are Kris Versteeg who gave him one good year before going to Europe, Trevor Lewis as a very low event defensive centre, Brett Ritchie who varied wildly in results, and getting a depth defender in Michael Stone who's results also varied wildly because he couldn't stay healthy.
I can't help but look at this body of work and see tepid, mediocre moves with major disasters sprinkled in everywhere (multiple coaches, failure to keep RFAs). It's not a surprise the Flames had been a very middling team during his tenure on average.
People will say Treliving isn't afraid to make big moves, but the only big moves I see are a result of the very talented players not wanting to stay. Dougie Hamilton, Adam Fox, Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau (lost for nothing, not part of a big move). The acquisitions of Lindholm, Hanifin, Huberdeau, and Weegar stemmed the pain of losing some genuine superstars, but I don't think he won either of those trades outright at the time or in hindsight.