Before making his decision to sign with the Calgary Flames, Jay Bouwmeester talked with captain Jarome Iginla and fellow defenceman Robyn Regehr.
“I talked to a few guys and how excited they were about the team and the things that were going on here,” said Bouwmeester, who was officially introduced to the media during a press conference at the Pengrowth Saddledome yesterday afternoon.
After the Flames acquired Bouwmeester’s rights last Saturday at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal, the six-foot-four, 214-pound defenceman could have waited until a bidding war for his services ensued on Canada Day.
Instead, Bouwmeester and his Edmonton-based agent Bryon Baltimore met with Flames GM Darryl Sutter and team president Ken King to hammer out a five-year deal worth $33.4 million US.
“After meeting with Darryl and Ken, I just came out of there feeling comfortable with the situation,” said the 25-year-old Edmonton native. “If I didn’t think it was a good fit, it probably wouldn’t have happened.”
Sutter said that he was confident when he traded for Bouwmeester’s rights that he could get a deal done before the start of yesterday’s free-agent frenzy.
“It was a long process but it was fun,” Sutter said. “We got the player that we wanted. We’re proud to have him. I think he’s maybe the best all-around defenceman in the game at both ends of the ice, with the puck and without the puck.”
Today, Hockey Canada will release its men’s summer orientation camp roster and Bouwmeester along with Regehr, Dion Phaneuf and Iginla should all get the call.
“I think they’re all very good candidates,” Sutter said.
The Flames also announced the signing of another 25-year-old defenceman yesterday as Adam Pardy will return to Calgary this fall for his sophomore season.
Meanwhile, forward Michael Cammalleri signed a five-year, $30 million US deal with the Montreal Canadiens after tallying a career-high 39 goals during his lone season with the Flames.
• The Calgary Flames signed forward Fredrik Sjostrom, the club announced yesterday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The six-foot-one, 217-pound right winger has recorded 41 goals and 47 assists in 358 career NHL games over five seasons with the Coyotes and Rangers.
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