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BARTKOWSKI THRILLED TO SIGN IN CALGARY

The 28-year-old defenceman inked a two-year, two-way deal with the Flames on Thursday

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

Glen Gulutzan said the Flames would see how it'd go.

Well enough, it seems.

Especially if you're Matt Bartkowski.

Calgary signed the defenceman to a two-year, two-way contract on Thursday -- one day after he joined the Flames on a PTO.

"It feels really good," Bartkowski said. "It's what I came here to do and got a deal done and it's just good to be a part of the team and back in the NHL."

Patient wait, he'll admit.

Bartkowski, who played 80 games as a member of the Vancouver Canucks in 2015-16, couldn't find a fit with an NHL club last summer. He spent six months with Providence of the American Hockey League before earning a brief invite to join the Flames.

And one of his former coaches. 

"This is someone Tre (general manager Brad Treliving) talked about a little bit and obviously this is someone I have some familiarity with him," Gulutzan said after Bartkowski's arrival Wednesday.

"Good guy, good person. We knew that.

"We'll see how it goes."

Well enough to net a contract, it turned out.

And with Gulutzan, no less, who was an assistant during Bartkowski's tenure with the Canucks last year.

Catching up was easy.

And, evidently, rewarding. 

"Really positive," said Bartkowski, who had two goals, eight assists, and 27 penalty minutes in the AHL this season. "We went over all the systems and went over everything to catch me up to speed. As far as that and his talk with me, it's just positive.

"It felt really good."

A couple of couple years ago, it would've seemed like Bartkowski was destined for Calgary.

Funny how life works sometimes.

Bartkowski was reportedly part of a package heading to the Flames in a deal that would've sent longtime captain and franchise face Jarome Iginla to the Boston Bruins back on March 27, 2013.

It didn't come to fruition, and Iginla ended up in Boston as an unrestricted free agent the following season. 

Bartkowski, of course, is now a Flame.

"It was almost like meant to be," he said. "It's been years now people have been talking about it. 'You're going to Calgary … blah, blah, blah.'

'It's good to be here.

"It's good to finally actually get here."

That crazy night still rings out to the 28-year-old native of Pittsburgh, PA. 

Done deal, it had been reported in the media.

But then-general manager Jay Feaster announced Iginla would be heading to Bartkowski's hometown instead, joining Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I was in the press box and one of the reporters from Boston, who usually is pretty good at getting the truth out there … he's says 'Hey, you're going to Calgary,'" he recounted.

"No one from Boston talked to me.

"I went home, packed up and got ready to go. Then around midnight, somewhere in there, it was on the Pens' site that Iginla was going to Pittsburgh, so I was staying.

"For those four or five hours it was kind of a whirlwind. 

"What's going on here?" 

All in the past at this point. 

Bartkowski's finally a Flame. 

The goal now?

Stay. 

"The mission," he started, "is just to stay here and play.

"And get back to where I was a year ago or a couple years ago."

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