The Calgary Flames are searching for a new general manager after announcing on Monday that Brad Treven is leaving the franchise after nine seasons.
“The Calgary Flames and Brad Treliving have mutually agreed to part ways. Brad’s contract expires on June 30 and he will not return next season as General Manager of the Flames,” said Calgary Sports & Entertainment President and CEO. Officer John Bean said at a news conference on Monday.
“On behalf of the Flames owners, management and fans, we would like to sincerely thank Brad for his nine years of dedication to our organization and our city,” Bean added. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a harder-working employee and a harder-working manager than Brad. He brings the best to the rink every day, and for that, we’re so grateful.”
Leading the search will be Don Maloney, who has been promoted to president of hockey operations and will serve as interim general manager.
“Not a good day for me, no. The Stanley Cup playoffs start tonight and we’re not playing,” Maloney said.
Maloney, 64, has worked closely with Trevin since joining the Flames as a professional scout in 2015 and was later promoted to vice president of hockey operations, a title he has held for the past five seasons. The pair also previously worked together with the Arizona Coyotes.
“Brad Treliving is a good friend, and I think he’s a really good hockey player,” said an emotional Maloney, his voice husky. “He left us for his reasons. But we moved on.”
The organization had offered Treliving a deferment to return to training camp, but he declined, preferring to delay his decision. Last Wednesday, he made his final decision.
“I think Brad will definitely re-sign,” Maloney said. “I’m as close to him as anyone else. When he told me Wednesday he couldn’t do it, that was the first time he realized he just needed to take his time.”
Bean did not elaborate on why Treliving left the organization.
“Decisions like this are really difficult, and there are so many layers to the onion,” Bean said. “We had a great conversation with Brad, and Brad and I will remain friends. There was no slamming. But we agreed that we would go our separate ways.”
Maloney said no timetable has been set for hiring a new general manager.
“I’m still evaluating the team,” Maloney said. “Now I’m going to get to the bottom of the players, the staff and get straight from them what they think is the problem. Why are we sitting here today and not being ready for tonight’s game.”
Calgary made the playoffs five times during Treliving’s tenure and reached the second round in 2015 and 2022. However, the Flames failed to make the playoffs this season with a record of 38-27-17.
Assistant general managers Craig Conroy, Brad Pascall and Chris Snow — who continue to battle ALS — remain under contract.
“They’re certainly candidates for the job, and strong candidates,” Maloney said. “But we also realize that it’s short-sighted not to go out there and find the best candidates, and maybe one of them is, but we haven’t even started that process yet.”
The Flames have a 324-238-58 record under Treliving and have twice topped the Pacific Division with 50-win seasons (2019, 2022).
Treliving succeeded Bob Hartley as head coach and hired four people: Glen Gulutzan, Bill Peters, Geoff Ward and Darryl Sutter.
Sutter previously coached the Flames from 2002 to 2006 and served as general manager from 2003 to 2010. After Ward was fired in March 2021, the Flames rehired him.
When asked about Sutter’s status and whether he will return to the bench next season, Maloney was tight-lipped, saying only that he would meet with Sutter on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
“I’m reviewing everything in the organization — management, coaches, players, scouts,” Maloney said.
Treliving isn’t afraid to go after big fish with big checks or make blockbuster deals.
His recent headlines include trading wannabe Matthew Tkachuk to Florida for Jonathan Huberdau and signing Nazem Kadri in free agency last summer to help fill in free agent Johnny Gaudreau. Vacancy left after departure.
With a combined $133 million and 15 contract years invested in Huberdeau and Kadri, the Flames look like a contender on paper this season.
But both forwards are well below their career highs last season. Sutter relegated Kadri to his bottom six strikers at the end of the season.
“You think back to last summer and the tough challenges we faced with players who left us and the work Brad did,” Maloney said. “It’s him. The work he does, and the agents, the players, the teams and the trades.
“I was on the sidelines trying to help, but he was the one who was on the phone until midnight. And I do think it took its toll, and after eight or nine years, he just needed a break from what he did.”
His other notable moves include signing Gaudreau out of college in 2014 and trading Calgary’s first-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft to Montreal for Tyler Toffoli.
Treliving also signed goalie Jacob Markstrom to a six-year, $36 million contract in 2020.
Despite a disappointing season, Monday’s change doesn’t necessarily represent a change of direction.
“We had a good lineup that didn’t play well,” Bean said. “I’m not allowed to use the word ‘rebuild,’ but no, we’re not going to overreact here. Take your time, do your analysis, and come up with the next steps.”
—Darren Haynes, Canadian Press