I've always said I just want to prove to this team they didn't make a mistake in signing me. - Brett Carson
CALGARY, AB -- Brett Carson knew that the phone in Abbotsford would start ringing after April 3rd.
He just wasn't sure if he'd be getting the call.
Carson got the nod Thursday, recalled from the Abbotsford Heat after the National Hockey League's trade deadline due in part to an injury to Derek Smith and the imminent birth of Mark Giordano's first child.
Losing the pair after dealing Jay Bouwmeester on Monday opened up a spot for Carson, set to make his debut with the Flames this season against the San Jose Sharks on Friday.
"Everyone wants to get a chance up here, a chance to play," Carson said. "I wouldn't say guys were hoping everyone would get traded yesterday or the last few days but obviously guys were keeping an eye out for it, hoping that they would be the guy, that if there was a guy that got a chance, it would be them."
In the final season of his two-year, $1.15 million contract, Carson's audition is an important one to show that the 27-year-old veteran of 80 NHL games can hang in the big league.
"For sure it is," he said. "[It's a] contract year for me. Obviously I haven't done much the last couple years to prove that I belong up here. I'm going to take it as a no-pressure thing and I hope to make the most of it."
It's been a rough go for Carson, relegated to the sidelines during the work stoppage.
The season was saved in January, but the former Calgary Hitmen standout couldn't earn a spot on the Flames' blueline out of training camp and was sent to the Heat before finally earning a recall on Thursday.
"It was tough going down there after the lockout went so long and trying to jump right into a team that's been playing together for three months," Carson admitted. "It was good off the start, then the travel kind of caught up to me. We just got off of a 16-day road trip. Travel's been crazy down there. It's obviously not an excuse. Personally it's been not bad."
A veteran of 321 games at the American Hockey League level, Carson quickly adjusted to being back in the minors and relished the opportunity to be a leader on an inexperienced Heat squad.
"It's a pretty young team down there," he said. "Obviously a couple old guys, but guys like [Sven] Baertschi and those guys new to the league, going down there just trying to first of all fit in with those guys and try to lead by example, especially when you travel. The scheduling is so tough, just try to show them the right way to be a pro. When you worry about that stuff you kind of forget about your frustrations."
Carson has played just two games over the course of his contract, signed in 2011. His third will come against the Sharks, melting away much of that frustration.
"It's obviously exciting," Carson said. "I hopefully come up here get to play some minutes. I've always said I just want to prove to this team they didn't make a mistake in signing me. Obviously it's a tough situation right now but I'm going to come up here and do my best."
And answer the call.