Four days after Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving addressed reporters following the conclusion to the team’s disappointing season, the Flames declined comment on his status within the organization.
When asked about his job security last week, Treliving said that he’d meet with ownership as he normally does after every season.
On Tuesday, the Flames said they couldn’t provide any details on if those meetings had taken place. Treliving’s contract runs through the end of the 2022-23 season.
“I’m sure that we will over the course, as we usually do at the end of the season,” Treliving said after players cleaned out their lockers last week. “Today was about getting through player meetings and all those types of meetings and we’ll go through the regular review, but have not done that as of yet.”
Seven years into his tenure, the Flames have just one playoff series victory, back in 2015.
Despite bringing Jacob Markstrom as a bona fide No. 1 goalie and a top-four blueliner in Chris Tanev last off-season, the Flames took a major step backward, finishing the season with their lowest points percentage (0.491) since the 1982-83 season.
The general manager’s future is one of several questions the Calgary Flames face in the coming weeks. Among them is the future of two of their most recognizable players.
Last week, captain Mark Giordano and star forward Johnny Gaudreau both declared their intentions to remain with the organization long-term.
Gaudreau, normally soft-spoken and brief during Zoom interviews, was particularly determined to quell any speculation that he’s itching for a change of scenery when his contract expires next off-season.
The American, drafted in the fourth round by the Flames in 2011, is 10th in franchise history with 494 points. After initial growing pains under Darryl Sutter, Gaudreau settled in, tallying 20 points in his final 15 games.
“I love the city of Calgary,” Gaudreau said. “I love playing here. I don’t think I’ve ever once said I haven’t wanted to be here.”
Treliving said that Gaudreau has voiced those same thoughts to him. Gaudreau’s agent, Lewis Gross, did not immediately reply when asked if negotiations had begun with the Flames.
Giordano, meanwhile, is coming off another season as a top-pairing blueliner, splitting time with Rasmus Andersson and Tanev. The team’s biggest expansion draft decision is whether to protect either Tanev or Giordano. Should they expose the captain, the question then becomes if the Flames will trade an asset to Seattle to prevent losing the player Treliving calls the “conscience” of the team.
Treliving and Giordano have already talked about that possibility.
“There are certain situations where you have to be an adult about it and know that there are certain things that have to happen,” Giordano said last week. “That’s all I’m really going to say about it, but I think Tre and I have a good enough relationship where we’ll have some good conversations, for sure.”
Beyond Gaudreau and Giordano, the Flames face several other roster questions.
Matthew Tkachuk is eligible for an extension this summer before becoming a restricted free agent next July. With a qualifying offer of $9 million and coming off an underwhelming 2020-21 campaign, the organization will have to decide if he merits a long-term commitment at potentially over $10 million a season.
Tkachuk’s 0.77 points-per-game average this year was his lowest since the 2017-18 season, and he looked far less engaged – physically and emotionally – than seasons past.
They’ll also have to figure out how to unlock Markstrom’s potential. In his first season as the highest-paid goalie in franchise history, the Swede posted a pedestrian 0.904 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average in 43 starts.
Last week, Treliving talked about major changes to the core. Could that include testing the market on longtime Flames Mikael Backlund and Sean Monahan?
Then there is the team’s internal culture.
Veteran forward Milan Lucic spent much of his season-ending session with reporters talking about the need for players to be unselfish in pursuing the ultimate goal.
“I think the way it changes is when the individual completely buys into what the team is trying to sell,” Lucic said. “When everyone buys into it, regardless of, let’s say you want to play 15 minutes but you’re playing 11 minutes but you’re winning and you’re happy and you’re getting what you get out of it, that’s what feels good at the end of the day.”
“When you play for individual achievements [instead of] team achievements, this is what happens: You don’t get to play in the playoffs,” Lucic continued. “When you play for team achievements, playing to win the division title, home ice, all that stuff, that’s when things go well for you as an individual.”
When Treliving was asked if the team as currently constructed could be contenders, his reply was a quick, “no.”
“How deep those changes will go, we’ll have to determine that,” he said.
Regardless of who ultimately has the final say over the roster, change is on the horizon for the Flames.
And it may not matter if Gaudreau and Giordano want to stay.