Flames return from bye to face improved Coyotes (Feb 13, 2017)

February 12, 2017

CALGARY, Alberta -- The NHL trade deadline is two weeks away and Brad Treviling can't say what his role in the annual shop-and-swap will be.

The play of his Calgary Flames will determine if the GM is a buyer or seller.

"In our situation we're right in the battle," he said. "I think a lot of what we do is going to be dependent on our play here in the next couple of weeks leading up into the deadline. We're moving down a couple of parallel paths."

The Flames (28-25-3) return from their league-mandated five-day bye period Monday night when they host the Arizona Coyotes (18-28-7) at the Scotiabank Saddledome at 7 p.m.

They entered the break with five wins in six games and find themselves in the hunt for a wild card spot in the Western Conference. They trail the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators by one point each in the battle for the conference's two wild card spots.

Treviling is waiting to see if his team struggles leading up to the March 1 deadline or continues to compete before he decides to dump players or add.

"It almost changes daily," he said. "You win a couple in a row and teams are saying they may be in the mark to add. They lose a couple and here's the players we may be moving come the deadline."

For sure the Coyotes will be selling. In 15th place overall in the conference, they are not in the race and haven't been since embarking on a nine-game losing streak in mid-December.

Arizona's games leading up to the deadline are being heavily attended by opposing scouts and the consensus is the player most coveted is Czech center Martin Hanzal, an unrestricted free agent who can fill a tough check role in the playoffs.

Hanzal showcased himself Saturday night at home when he scored twice and held Sidney Crosby in check in Arizona's 4-3 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I play against these guys pretty much every game. It's kind of my job. When you play against the Stanley Cup champions and Sidney Crosby it's kind of extra motivation but I was just trying to play as hard as I could," said Hanzal.

Monday's game is the first of three games on the road for the Coyotes, who have improved lately winning five of their past eight and have been the 2017 Stanley Cup finalists -- the Penguins and the San Jose Sharks -- in February.

"We said for the last month we've been better," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett after beating Pittsburgh.

"There were some dips. I think last game I didn't like the way we played even though we got a point I didn't like how we played. Tonight, we played hard. It was a mucky game, but that's how we've got to play.

We got the win and that's what we came for."

The Flames host Arizona on Monday and the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday before leaving on a four-game trip.

Calgary's hottest player right now is first-line center Sean Monahan with nine goals in his past 12 games.