The first few seasons of Brad Treliving’s tenure as Calgary Flames general manager were interesting. He seemingly had a plan, but he didn’t tip his hand much. Instead, he made a few tinker trades that eventually paved the way for bigger moves.
Case in point: his wheeling and dealing prior to (and at) the 2015 NHL Draft.
The 2014-15 Flames were a playoff team. They managed to win a playoff round despite not having Mark Giordano due to a bicep tear, and despite Treliving selling off some assets (like Curtis Glencross and Sven Baertschi) prior to the trade deadline.
As such, Treliving went into draft weekend with oodles of picks at his disposal. In the first three rounds, the Flames had six draft choices: a first (15th overall), three seconds (45th, 52nd and 53rd), and two thirds (76th and 83rd).
Now, it’s probably worth looking at draft pick probability right now. Over at Dobbe, Jokke Nevalainen did an examination to define probabilities of players picked in different spots during the draft to play 100 NHL games (based on an examination of the 2000-2009 drafts):
- 15th overall is a 75% chance
- 45th, 52nd and 53rd are all 35% apiece
- 76th and 83rd are 25% apiece
On draft weekend, it became apparent that Dougie Hamilton was available from the Boston Bruins. Treliving made the deal, sending his 15th, 45th and 52nd pick to the Bruins for Hamilton. In other words: he turned a 75% probability that (at least) one of the players would play 100 games for the Flames into a 100% probability that Hamilton would.
Hamilton ended up playing 245 games for the Flames, almost exclusively in the top two pairs – and in a span of time where the players selected with the picks they traded almost certainly wouldn’t have been in the bigs. He was later traded in another futures/asset management swap a few summers later involving the Carolina Hurricanes.
Hamilton wasn’t a perfect player, but he was very good at what he was good at while he was a Flame.