Change will come but Flames will stick with core group of players

Change will come but Flames will stick with core group of players

The Calgary Flames will make some changes over the summer months but growth must come from within, GM Brad Treliving told reporters on Friday.

"I think we all have to take a deep breath, it's still fresh," he said during an end-of-season news conference at the Saddledome after the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. 

"I've got some real ideas and thoughts... Ultimately, if you look at those teams that year-after-year, over time, have been successful, the big growth has come from within. That core group is here, that's where your growth comes from."

Treliving pointed to forwards Sam Bennett and Sean Monahan and two players he thought performed well in the opening round series that saw the Flames eliminated in four-straight games by the Anaheim Ducks.

- ANALYSIS | Flames burned by goaltending, bad luck in quick playoff exit

"He had an impact on the series," he said of Bennett. "He battled, he competed, he had tons of pushback, could play in those hard areas, could play the type of game that is usually played."

Monahan finished with four goal but Treliving said it was what he did away from the puck that impressed him as well.

"It wasn't too much for them, they looked comfortable in that setting."

​The Flames were one of the top teams in the NHL during the second half of the regular season, going 21-9-1 in the final stretch.

Goaltending is one area where Treliving will have some decisions to make, with both Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson becoming free agents, but those decisions won't be rash.

"Like I said, you've got to exhale. Emotion and frustration and all those things, I haven't seen them ever be helpful in decision-making so we'll take a step back," said Treliving. 

"You need solid goaltending to be competitive in this league and we saw it. Chad had a real good stretch this year, Brian had a real good stretch this year and without that, we're doing this meeting 10 days ago."

Elliott struggled in the playoffs, finishing with an .880 save percentage and being pulled less than six minutes into Wednesday's series finale after allowing a soft goal.

Despite the early exit, head coach Glen Gulutzan said he took some positives from the post season, specifically the line of Johnny Gaudreau, Monohan and Micheal Ferland. 

"Their matchup was against a real good line, one of the better lines in the National Hockey League, and they out-chanced that line heavily," he said. "It could easily have went either way and it didn't. I look at the quality chances they had and I'm happy with the way they played, it just never went for them."  

Earlier Friday, a number of Flames players took to Twitter:

- "We've got to build on it for next year and use it as fuel." —Dougie Hamilton on the first round loss

- "I love the potential of this hockey club. We're going in the right direction." —Troy Brouwer

- "We learned a lot about our team. We've got a great team here. I'm excited to be with this team going forward." —Sean Monahan

- "I felt great all year. I was put in a role that I've tried to make the most of. I'm happy with the way I played this year." —Matt Stajan

- "Throughout the season, there was a lot of learning experiences, but they will help me get better." —Johnny Gaudreau