After the 2024 trade deadline passed, Brad Treliving joined Real Kyper & Bourne to discuss his new additions and his belief level in the core group to take the team over the top at playoff time.

What are your overall thoughts and feelings on your trade deadline day?

Treliving: I would describe it as a usual trade deadline day. Leading up to it, we saw a lot of deals in the last couple of days. I don’t know if it was that busy for us today. In the weeks leading up to the deadline, there are certain things you are trying to accomplish or may try to accomplish. You have a good understanding of what you may or may not be able to get done.

We looked at our group and identified some needs, and the reality is that we weren’t going to fill everything that we wanted to. You watch your team. You determine what your needs are. Is what you need available? What is the acquisition cost? Do you have the [assets] to get the acquisition done?

As we looked around, one of the things we wanted to try to add to our group is some depth at center, someone who is defensively responsible, and someone who is a good penalty killer. If you look at our team right now, the penalty kill needs to get better. We are not able to airlift a bunch of new PKers in. We have to tighten things up from a structural standpoint, but if there is an area to tweak personnel-wise, it is an area we want to [address].

Connor is a guy who came in at a cost and cap fit. He is a real competitive player. A lot of people may not be familiar with him. Excellent penalty killer. He has some flexibility in terms of positional utility. He can play center. He can play the wing. He has some grease to him.

We are excited to add him. It gives us some depth in the middle. He has a guy who has a skill set in terms of penalty killing and is defensively responsible. I am glad to get him as part of the group today.

How much do moves reflect belief in the team going into the trade deadline? You could argue that making big moves is reflective of a belief in the team, or you could argue that not making moves shows faith in the team.

Treliving: You are always watching. You take your cues from your team.

If you just go back and look at the teams who won the Stanley Cup, some teams have won and have done very little at the deadline. Some teams have won a Cup after doing things at the deadline.

If you are trying to add and give up assets from your team, you are trying to give your team a better chance. Certainly, your comfort level in giving up “A” assets is not necessarily a reflection of your team, but you also look at your situation. In terms of future assets, what does your asset base look like, whether it be young prospects or picks?

The message I gave to our team leading up to the deadline: I do believe in this group. Our plan is not to subtract if possible. We would like to add to the group. You go from there.

There has to be a fit and a match. As I said earlier, there has to be a match from availability and the ability to acquire those players.

Certainly, you always take your cues from your team and where they sit before you address anything at the deadline.

What did you learn from your team’s performance against the Bruins on Thursday night? It looks like it is heading toward a round-one matchup.

Treliving: You have to be careful of just focusing on one team. I get handed the odds and all sorts of numbers each day on the probabilities.

Boston is a real good team and has been a very good team for a long time. They are playoff-hardened. There was a good atmosphere in there last night. They were honouring the 2011 Cup champions in the building.

There are some real good things from last night, and obviously, some areas we have to clean up. I liked the competitive nature of our team. I thought we were really competitive physically. I thought we were really engaged in the game but made some critical errors.

I disagree with the 5-on-3 call, but we were 30 seconds from having it killed. We don’t get a clear. It is in the back of the net. We turn the puck over, and it is 2-0. We got ourselves back into the game at 2-1. We had some chances to tie it up. We had a real good chance to tie it up at 2-2, but the puck came back the other way, and it was 3-1.

One of the big takeaways from that game: 1) We have to make sure we are emotionally and physically invested in the game. It is an area we have tried to push with our group since we have gotten here. We have been talking a lot about the game within the game and the emotional and physical investment that is required at the most important of the year.

We were invested in that game, but also, when you are playing a good team like Boston, they don’t beat themselves. They don’t make the critical errors. If you look back, the game is a game of errors, but we made critical errors that they capitalized on. Those are errors you can’t make at playoff time.

You have to be good with your discipline. Your special teams have to be good. You have to toe the line in terms of making sure you are disciplined but ultra-competitive. That is the lesson that has to stay with us: We can’t beat ourselves and make critical mistakes that give a real advantage to an experienced team like Boston.

In these next 19 games, we have to qualify for the playoffs and earn ourselves a position to be a playoff team. We have to use these 19 games to get our game in a position where it can have success in the playoffs.

Connor Dewar isn’t big, but he is feisty. Joel Edmundson and Ilya Lyubushkin are bigger, heavier guys. In the playoffs, how much does the physicality and competitiveness have to come from the core players — Matthews, Marner, Nylander, and the guys who are on the ice the most? How much can you lean on the guys around them to provide the physical edge and help them through?

Treliving: You have to be physically and emotionally invested. It is not about running through guys through the wall or anything like that. But you are fighting for every inch of ice at playoff time. At the end of the day, you are always led by your top people. They have to lead the way for you. That is just the way it is.

In playoff series, the age-old adage is that the top guys sometimes saw off and it is the depth that can push you through. I totally agree with that, but in terms of leading the way, your top people have to do it.

As I talked to our group leading up to this deadline, I said I believe in you. We are looking to add to this group. We are going to try to help ourselves, add pieces, and not take pieces away. But, at the end of the day, the answers are right here in this room right now. They are the ones who are going to do the heavy lifting.

You can have support around them — and we need to support them — but they are the top guys. These aren’t just good players. They are top players in the league. I know they have had some playoff hardship, and I haven’t been here, but each one has another opportunity to get better. Until you break through, everybody says you haven’t broken through. The list is long of guys who didn’t get through until they finally got through.

Ultimately, our big boys have to lead us. The rest of the group has to be there in lockstep to support them and do their job. As I have said since day one, this isn’t about one, two, three, or four guys and putting everything on their shoulders. They have to lead the way. The rest of the group has to give real good support, push, pull, and make sure they support our top people.

That is just the way it has to be. I have all of the faith in the world in them. We have added some reinforcements here. I know our group is excited. They are excited about the challenge ahead.