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

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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.