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Flames acquire potential free agent Bouwmeester

Saturday, 06.27.2009 / 4:41 PM / News

Associated Press

MONTREAL (AP) - The Calgary Flames have added Jay Bouwmeester to their already impressive defense corps, at least for the next four days.

Bouwmeester, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday, was acquired by Calgary in a trade with the Florida Panthers as the NHL entry draft wrapped up Saturday with the final six rounds at the Bell Centre.

Florida acquired Jordan Leopold - also on the verge of free agency - and a third-round pick, which the Panthers used to draft right wing Josh Birkholz 67th overall.

The trade gives Flames GM Darryl Sutter a window of exclusivity in negotiating a new contract with Bouwmeester and his agent, Bryon Baltimore.

"I think we have everybody under contract that we want under contract, and we're trying to get him under contract," Sutter said.

The suspense leading up to the start of the 2009 entry draft peaked at its outset Friday night when New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow tabbed high-scoring center John Tavares as the No. 1 pick overall.

Shortly afterwards, Philadelphia acquired defenseman Chris Pronger in a multi-player deal that saw Anaheim reacquire forward Joffrey Lupul.

Those who thought more trades would follow were sorely disappointed. With a few minor deals completed Saturday, aside from the trade involving Bouwmeester, Toronto GM Brian Burke noted that it's difficult to find a trading partner willing to take on multi-year deals in the current economy.

"Right now, if you've got contracts of any term on them it's really hard to move guys," Burke said. "I thought there'd be more activity but I'm not quite sure why there wasn't."

With Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr already anchoring their defense, the Flames decided to take an early run at one of the top young blueliners in the game.

"The test will be if they sign him," Burke said. "If they sign him, then it was a very successful gamble. I mean, this kid's a good player."

A 6-foot-4, 214-pound native of Edmonton, the 25-year-old Bouwmeester had spent his entire career with Florida, which drafted him third overall in 2002.

"I chatted a couple of times with his agent and at that point in time it was just clear that they really wanted to have the opportunity to exercise his free agency right," Panthers acting GM Randy Sexton said. "About 18 months ago they gave us a list of teams that they were interested in and Calgary was right at the very top. He's an Alberta boy and Darryl's an aggressive guy, he's clever, he's creative - I think he'll find a way to get them."

Bouwmeester, who had 15 goals and 27 assists last season, never made a playoff appearance in six full seasons with the Panthers. He has 53 goals and 150 assists in 471 games.

"To be able to play with guys like Dion and Robyn for a long time, that to me is pretty significant," Sutter said.

Leopold, who has been traded four times, also is eligible for free agency next week.

"We're going to try to sign him," Sexton said. "We don't know if we will or not but we're going to try. We think he's a mobile puck-moving guy who will be a really fine replacement for Jay."

The Flames also traded defenseman Jim Vandermeer to Phoenix in exchange for center Brandon Prust.

The Coyotes picked up defenseman Sami Lepisto from Washington for a fifth-round pick in next year's draft, and Los Angeles dealt center Brian Boyle for a third-round pick, also in 2010.

Minnesota acquired center Kyle Brodziak from Edmonton for fourth- and fifth-round draft picks.

NHL bloodlines were in full evidence once again during the draft.

After Tampa Bay chose Brent Ashton's son, Carter, 29th overall one night earlier, Landon Ferraro, the son of Ray Ferraro, was taken 32nd overall by Detroit with the second pick of the second round.

Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh used the 61st pick to take defenseman Philip Samuelsson, the son of Ulf Samuelsson, who won consecutive Cups with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992.

Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, whose son Chris was chosen 33rd overall by Washington in 2006, saw another of his sons drafted when the New York Rangers selected Ryan Bourque in the third round, 80th overall.

"Well, just his influence on me has been tremendous," Ryan Bourque said. "Even off-ice, just to see him day in and day out with the way he handles things, his character and professionalism. Then you've got on-ice things such as skills and it's just been great to have him there and to learn from him."

Buffalo drafted left wing Marcus Foligno, the son of former Sabres star Mike Foligno, in the fourth round, 104th overall. Mike Foligno's older son, Nick Foligno, is a left wing with the Ottawa Senators.

Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players