Kevin Bahl is used to towering above the crowd.

At 6-foot-6, the newest Flames defenceman stands out, and he’s ready and willing to make himself a noticeable part of the Calgary blue line come the fall.

The 23-year-old arrives in Alberta after being acquired Wednesday from the New Jersey Devils. He’s got more than 150 games of NHL regular season and playoff experience under his belt, but the product of Mississauga, Ont. sees plenty of opportunity to add to that total on a re-worked Flames backend.

“Last year was my first real full (NHL) season, I think I made some big strides,” Bahl said when reached by phone from New Jersey Wednesday afternoon. “I was put on the ice a lot against other teams’ top lines, gained a lot of experience there. Defensively, I think I can bring a lot to the table and just excel with some more opportunity.

“I’m excited, it’s going to be a huge year for me.”

This, after Bahl had a pretty big year in 2023-24, appearing in each of New Jersey’s 82 games, while setting career bests in ice-time (17:23 per game) and points (11) along the way.

The season helped set a course for his career - a proving ground, if you will - one that Bahl is thankful to have under his belt.

He ranked third among Devils skaters in 5-on-5 ice time last season, and fourth in PK ice-time, all while earning the trust of coaches Lindy Ruff and Travis Green.

“A think a big thing, just getting into the league, is you’ve got to prove yourself, prove you can be consistent and reliable,” he said. “I think the next step is just taking advantage of that opportunity.

“I think I can be a good piece on the PK and reliable defensively.”

It’s been a whirlwind day for Bahl, who was part of an NHL trade from Arizona to New Jersey in 2019 while a member of the OHL’s Ottawa 67s.

He says he started receiving texts from friends mere minutes after being informed by Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald that he was on the move to the Flames.

But he’ll have a familiar face here in Calgary in Yegor Sharangovich - the pair were Devils teammates for parts of three seasons from 2021-2023.

As for what’s next?

Bahl will spend a bit more time in the Garden State before returning home to Toronto for the summer, continuing his off-season preparations in anticipation of his Calgary debut in the fall.

But make no mistake, Bahl will be counting down the days until opening night.

"I’m just excited, because there’s a big opportunity ahead for me,” he said about the move West.

“I’m excited to prove myself.”