Flames busy at draft - Metro US

Flames busy at draft

The Calgary Flames made a big splash at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal on the weekend by acquiring the negotiation rights to free agent defenceman Jay Bouwmeester.

Afterwards, general manager Darryl Sutter told media types that he’s confident he can hammer out a deal with Bouwmeester’s Edmonton-based agent Bryon Baltimore.

“Time will tell,” Bouwmeester told the Fan 960. “I’m sure they’ll get together.”

Bouwmeester made $4.875 million US last season and the smooth-skating, six-foot-four, 214-pound blueliner is in line for a substantial raise. Calgary has until tomorrow to get him under contract, otherwise Bouwmeester can test the free-agent market on Canada Day.

In the first round of the draft on Friday night, the Flames used the 23rd overall pick to select Swedish defenceman Tim Erixon, the son of former New York Rangers forward Jan Erixon.

“It’s a dream come true and I’m really proud,” Erixon told reporters shortly after pulling a Flames’ jersey over his shoulders for the first time.

Sutter started the second day of the draft by dealing the rights to free agent defenceman Jordan Leopold and a third round pick to the Florida Panthers for the rights to Bouwmeester.

Sutter wasn’t finished as he then dealt rearguard Jim Vandermeer to the Phoenix Coyotes to re-acquire gritty forward Brandon Prust.

After trading a third and fourth round pick to the L.A. Kings, the Flames used the 74th round selection to pick forward Ryan Howse of the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins in the third round.

Howse, who was watching the draft on the Internet from his home in Prince George, said he had a good feeling that the Flames would pick him after an encouraging pre-draft interview.

“One of the questions was ‘How would you like to be picked by us in the third round?’ and I said ‘Absolutely, I’d love it’,” recalled the 5-foot-11, 195-pound forward, who scored 31 goals and added 13 assists in 61 games for the Bruins last season.

A pair of Calgary Hitmen prospects also had their names called on the second day of the draft. In the fourth round, the Minnesota Wild used the 103rd overall pick to take forward Kris Foucault, while the L.A. Kings selected Brandon Kozun in the sixth round (179th overall).

– For more on the draft, including comments from Foucault and Kozun, check out the Speaking Sports blog at: www.metronews.ca/blogs

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