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Interview With Calgary Flames General Manager Brad Treliving

One of the perks that come with being a hockey writer is the opportunity to meet people and players in the hockey community. I am always impressed with how accommodating, approachable, genuine and friendly these people are. From junior players to scouts and coaches all the way up to General Managers. At the Kingston Frontenacs game this week I was fortunate enough to meet the Calgary Flames General Manager and Assistant General Managers Brad Treliving and Craig Conroy and had a wonderful conversation with them on all things hockey. Brad Treliving was even gracious enough to give me an interview where we discussed their top prospect Sam Bennett and others in their organization

Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

How close was Sam Bennett to making the Calgary Flames before the shoulder injury ended his season?

“Well that’s a tough question. His camp was cut short really from rookie camp; he had a groin injury and then obviously the shoulder surgery that he went through. So it was a very short camp for him, and the time that he was there he was very impressive. In his first preseason game he was arguably the best player on the ice for both teams. To say he was this close, or that close; he really impressed us, but it’s a tough gauge when you’re talking about such a small window. He showed us what we expected him to show us. He has tremendous skill, great vision and just his will and compete level are just off the charts. We think he’s going to be a real good pro for a long time.”

He said that he thought his chances were good and that he felt that his play in the preseason was good enough to warrant a shot at some regular season games and is confident in his ability to have taken that, and earned a roster spot. Is that a fair assessment?

“The thing I love about Sam is he’s determined. He is confident in his abilities but in a good way. It’s not a cockiness it’s an air of confidence that top players have. He was an impressive player in camp, but to sit here and look back and try to handicap what were the chances; it’s in the past now, he’s gone through the rehab and he’s back here in Kingston and playing and that’s the most important thing”

NHL: JUN 27 2014 NHL DraftWhere do you see him playing next season?

“We’ll see! I’m worried about him playing tonight then tomorrow night. I think the problem people get into in this game with young players is heaping a whole lot of expectations on 18 and 19 year old players. The NHL is a man’s league, and it’s a difficult league. There is no rush for us. Do we think Sam’s going to come into training camp and make every push to be on our team? We absolutely expect that, but let’s let him get back playing here, let’s let him finish playing out the season, let’s let him push this team (The Kingston Frontenacs) along and hopefully get on a playoff run here and we’ll worry about next seasons camp next season”

You said this was your first chance watching him play this year, what are your thoughts so far, two goals in the first period?

“He’s been pretty impressive, I think him and his line have been dominant, they have had the puck and a lot of offensive zone time, creating a lot of chances, he’s attacking the net, so I think he’s been terrific”

Do you have a player or two in the system you see making a push to make the team next year?

“We’ve got a number of guys on our American league team and even a few guys in junior. I don’t think it’s wise right now in March to start projecting. We have on our mind a number of young guys who are going to be pushing to be in that position. Michael Ferland and Emile Poirier are two young guys that really spent the bulk of the year in the American League, they’re both with us right now and we’ve had David Wolf come up and play some games. Marcus Granlund has come up and played some games with us, there are others that are on the American League team in Adirondack and some that are playing whether it be junior or collegiate. That’s the good thing about training camp, you’re always hoping and you write a lot of things in pencil and hope that you have a surprise or two every year. Going into camp this year we would have never, ever, in our wildest dreams predict that Josh Jooris was going to push for a spot. He did! He earned one, so that’s what training camp is for, so to sit here and start handicapping six months out, we’ll let all the other people do that and  we’ll wait till training camp.”

Do you have a prospect under the radar, further down on everyone else’s list that you are excited about?

“Yeah I think we’ve got a few. Two picks from this year, our seventh round pick Austin Carroll who is having a tremendous year in Victoria, big strong right wing. I think he is approaching 40 goals, 70 plus points, he had a really good camp for us and he’s having a tremendous season. I think another guy, our third round pick from last year, Brandon Hickey who is playing at Boston University. I think he’s taken a huge step this year; he’s had a terrific freshman year. Those are probably two guys that didn’t get a lot of notoriety, under the radar if you will, but there are others. We’ve got a few kids that were excited about.”