PHILADELPHIA – Characterizing Day 2 of the NHL draft as “a good day,” Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving pronounced himself “happy and excited” about the weekend’s transactions.
Among the team’s moves was trading one of the team’s two third round picks, no. 83 overall, to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brandon Bollig, a six-foot-two, 223-pound left-winger who had seven goals, seven assists, and 92 penalty minutes in 82 games last season.
“We’ve talked a little bit about adding some size to our lineup,” said Treliving, “I think Brandon’s a guy that in a situation where he’s maybe given a little bit more responsibility, a little bit more opportunity, I think there’s still more growth to his game.
“We’ve got some young people coming and we want to make sure they’re surrounded by the right people. He’s won a Stanley Cup.”
Chicago GM Stan Bowman said the Blackhawks would miss Bollig’s presence, but that they had to look to the future.
“It’s always tough when you trade a player who’s been part of your group, a regular player for you,” said Bowman. “But we’ve got to look at doing some things like that to prepare for next year.”
Chicago needed to make some moves to get under the salary cap, which is $69 million for the 2014-2015 season.
The Flames’ took six-foot-six right-winger Hunter Smith from the OHL’s Oshawa Generals with the 54th overall pick and six-foot-one defenceman Brandon Hickey from the AJHL in round three. The team’s late-round picks were Sweden’s Adam Ollas Mattsson, a six-foot-four 209-pound blue-liner and six-foot-three, 216-pound Austin Carroll of the WHL’s Victoria Royals.
“It’s not about just getting big,” said Treliving. “All these guys bring a little something to the table. Hunter Smith is a guy that took a huge step this year, but he’s still a young guy that’s going to fill out.”
Smith was excited to play for a Flames franchise that’s putting an emphasis on physical play.
“I think Calgary is a great fit for me,” said Smith. “I’m a big, strong power winger; I’m going to get in the corners and I’m going to mess it up down there.”
In something of a mild surprise, the Flames took the no. 2-ranked goalie, Mason McDonald of the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders, with the 34th overall pick, passing up no. 1-ranked Thatcher Demko.
“Lot of debate on it with the guys for the last few weeks,” said Treliving. “Ultimately our goalie list had Mason at the top. Our guys liked this guy, he was there, we made the pick.”
The six-foot-two, 170-pound Halifax native began the 2013-2014 season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. A midseason trade moved him to Charlottetown where he finished the season with a combined eight wins, posting a 3.44 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.
“We knew if we didn’t take him there that we didn’t have a chance to get him,” said Treliving.
Amateur scout Tom Webster, who’s retiring after this draft, got a standing ovation before announcing the Flames’ final pick at no. 184.
“He was emotional,” said Treliving. “That’s the first time I’ve seen a standing ovation on the floor for somebody. It shows the impact he’s had to a lot of people out there.”