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NHL teams ‘getting bigger’ will be all the rage this summer

Apr 29, 2014, 12:08 PM EDT


If comments made by new Calgary GM Brad Treliving and new Carolina director of hockey ops Mike Vellucci are any indication, size will be at a premium this offseason.

Treliving, named the seventh GM in Flames franchise history, made it clear the team needed to get bigger at his introductory press conference on Monday.

From the Calgary Sun:

“One hundred percent, I think we need to get bigger,” Treliving said. “That’s not just a personal preference. Turn on the TV today and watch the games.

“This is about winning a championship, and there’s steps along the way – we’ve got to take a lot of steps – in order to be there at the end, in order to build a championship, you do have to have a blueprint and you look at the games that are being played right now and it’s hard hockey, it’s heavy hockey.

“It’s a man’s game, a big boy’s game out there.”

Also on Monday, Vellucci spoke with the Raleigh News & Observer about his observations of the Hurricanes, and guess what?

Those thoughts are in lockstep with new ‘Canes GM Ron Francis, who said he wanted the same thing.

“You have to be able to skate, you have to be a fast team,” he said, per Sports Illustrated. “I like players who are smart, players who are skilled, players who absolutely love to compete. All things being equal, I would prefer a bigger player, that’s my own preference.”

This isn’t to suggest that getting big players is something new, or a revolutionary school of thought. It is worth noting, though, that four non-playoff teams — Carolina, Calgary, Vancouver and Washington — have recently made managerial changes and, upon being hired, the new guys in Calgary and Carolina immediately said they wanted to address a lack of size.

It’s really not that surprising. Out West, the California trio of San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim are all lauded for their ability to play fast, heavy hockey; in the East, Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston boasts two of the conference’s better power forwards in Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla, along with the NHL’s tallest player in Zdeno Chara.

Where it will get interesting, though, is in free agency and at the draft. With more and more teams seemingly going the way of the “get big” mentality, there might come a time where supply doesn’t meet demand — and that’s when trades can come into play. Would Winnipeg be willing to part with 6-foot-5, 265-pound Dustin Byfuglien? What about Phoenix and 6-foot-6, 230-pound Martin Hanzal? When it comes to size, not many come larger than those guys.

  1. hockey412 - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    I’m no GM…and I’d prefer the team I root for to get a little bigger too. But the most successful team in the past 5 years is Chicago – and they aren’t a big team.

    • pdmjr - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      Yes big and slow like Columbus will only work in the reg season. The playoffs are a different story

      • smangold4 - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:34 PM


  2. hunterdoerksen - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    I remember watching Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics and wondering why the Canadian team looked so huge. Everyone seemed taller and wider than the everyone on the other team. Size does help…

    • valoisvipers - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Let’s ask Patthehockeyfan if size matters.

  3. isithockeyseasonyet - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Size helps but speed kills

  4. stroknows - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    I find it hilarious that GMs think that Power Forwards like (who brings the nasty and have skill) Lucic, Simmonds, Jenner, etc (or the excessively skilled) Nash, Thornton, Igilna just grow on trees. Of course having an extremely skilled player with size helps. The problem is that players like that don’t grow on tree’s and are a rare commodity. Bringing in size is easy, there a bunch of large goons that lurk in AHL, but ones with hands and skating ability are very rare. They also don’t hit FA very often. So if you are looking to mortgage the future go right ahead. If you want to win in hockey right, you find skilled forwards and defenseman that can drive possession.

  5. buckhome - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    pretty funny for Calgary GM to say this when perhaps his top prospect in the system, Hobie Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau is about 5’7 150. If Calgary doesn’t want him, I’m sure there would be several other teams more than willing to take Johnny Hockey in a trade for a big lug. As a Ranger fan I’m willing to unload our 2 biggest minor leaguers, Dylan McIlrath and Stu Bickel for him (and the Rangers really don’t have very many big guys either)

    • stroknows - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      I would trade Stu Bickel for a stick without a blade.

    • pastabelly - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      It’s a shame for those of us who live in the east that Gaudreau is playing out west. I love watching that kid play.

    • stroknows - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      List of Things More Effective then Stu Bickel

  6. njadvocate111 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    IMO, size won’t do you any good if you don’t have balance. Look at Buffalo, Toronto and Winnipeg. Even Edmonton and Ottawa have more size than the the Pens and Sharks. You need balance to succeed. Although I do agree, playing a “bigger style” game does translate well in the playoffs.

  7. esracerx46 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    If they have to get bigger, does that mean they’re going to trade Johnny Gaudreau?

  8. nicofthenorthstar - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Increasing speed and skill are the direction the game is going. Size will always be important, but a team full of big oafs out there trying to injure the opposition is not a recipe for success.

  9. darksidecowboy - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Don’t forget about the Truculence!

  10. flash8910 - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    In other news, Torts already wrote in pen his starting lineup against Calgary.

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