On Wednesday, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving held a press conference for the first time since the end of the 2020-21 season, where he answered any and all questions relating to his hockey team for the upcoming year. It is no secret to him or anybody following this team that his job has come under scrutiny after missing the playoffs last season. To his credit, he spoke on the team’s lack of success and made it clear he understands the fans’ frustration, plus much more. Here is a recap of that press conference.
Despite training camp having just begun, the Flames are already dealing with a couple of injuries. The first injury Treliving mentioned was to Johannes Kinnvall, who is expected to miss weeks. The undrafted defenceman was signed in April of 2020 to a two-year contract. He has posted good numbers from the back end over the years in Sweden, including the 2020-21 season when he put up seven goals and 22 points in 32 games for HV71 Jonkoping.
The other prospect who suffered an injury was Connor Zary. The 19-year-old was hurt after being hit by a shot against the Edmonton Oilers. At the time of his press conference, Treliving believed the injury would be a day-to-day situation; however, that is no longer the case as the Flames official Twitter account confirmed on Friday that he suffered a fracture in his ankle. Thankfully surgery is not needed, but he is listed as week-to-week. It is a tough blow for the 2020 first-round pick, who was hoping to earn a spot on the team out of training camp.
He also shared an update on defenceman Noah Hanifin, who is coming off shoulder surgery, and Sean Monahan, who is coming off hip surgery. Both players are reportedly ahead of schedule and will be full participants in camp, though how many preseason games they play has yet to be decided. Still, he sounded pretty optimistic about both, which is very exciting news for this team.
Fully Vaccinated Camp
While a few teams are going to be in some tricky situations due to some of their players not being fully vaccinated, the Flames are not one of them. Treliving confirmed that every player at camp is 100 percent fully vaccinated while also mentioning that the majority of players from last year’s team had gotten vaccinated before heading home for the summer.
Two players are missing from camp, however. One is goaltender Tyler Parsons, who Treliving said was “unable to satisfy quarantine regulations.” It isn’t known what this means, but most are assuming the issue here is that the 24-year-old netminder isn’t vaccinated. Treliving would not comment on this when asked, saying that it is a personal question for the player.
The other player not yet in camp is Daniil Chechelev, though for different reasons. According to Treliving, the 20-year-old is dealing with immigration issues. The Flames netminder prospect, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, is currently signed to an AHL contract.
Changes to Be Made?
Many Flames fans have been upset this offseason given the lack of big changes, particularly to the team’s core. With camp having begun, the expectation was that no moves would be coming; however, that may not be entirely the case. Treliving said that while he wants to see what he has in this group, it doesn’t mean he isn’t still looking to make them better.
He also said that regardless of whether or not there are additional changes made, he expects the Flames to be a playoff team this season. Another point he wanted to drive home was that despite many saying there haven’t been changes, there would be seven or eight new faces on the roster this season. Last year, he believes many players underperformed and is expecting them to bounce back. Finally, he pointed out the fact that having Darryl Sutter in for training camp this season should provide a big boost to this team.
The Flames lost their captain this offseason when Mark Giordano was taken in the Expansion Draft by the Seattle Kraken. The Flames will be forced to name a new captain with the loss, something they haven’t done since 2013. However, that decision may take some time as the team appears to be in no rush to decide who will be the next to wear the “C.”
“We’ve talked a lot about it,” Treliving said when asked about the captain situation. “There won’t be any announcements today, there won’t be any announcements tomorrow. We’re going to let this thing play out. It’s a really big decision. I don’t think you name a captain just so you can check a box and say you have that stroked off the list.
“Darryl and I have talked a lot about it. I think that’s something that’s going to have to play itself out over camp and we’ll see where we are over the coming days.”
It will be interesting to see by the end of camp if they choose to go with a captain for the 2021-22 season or instead use four alternates. They certainly aren’t the only team in this predicament. The Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, and the Seattle Kraken are also without a captain. If one is named, the most likely candidate would be Matthew Tkachuk, though there are other solid options as well.