I’m looking forward to the opportunity that is there for me. I’ve had some good years with Pittsburgh but I think I’ll be able to grow more as a player with Calgary. - Deryk Engelland
CALGARY, AB -- In 1989, a seven-year-old Deryk Engelland made a $5 waver with his Grandpa that the Calgary Flames would hoist the Stanley Cup.
Some 25 years later, he bet on Calgary again after after signing a three-year contract with the Flames on Tuesday.
“I’m extremely excited,” Engelland said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity that is there for me. I’ve had some good years with Pittsburgh but I think I’ll be able to grow more as a player with Calgary.”
It was during the NHL’s free agent ‘courting period’ that the Flames became a possible destination.
Calgary’s interest during that time made them the front-runner and eventual successful suitors.
“All three of them called me -- Brian Burke, Brad Treliving and Bob Hartley -- within about 12 hours,” said Engelland, who has 13 goals and 47 points in 243 career games -- all with the Penguins. “My agent said they were interested and with talking to those three and what they had for me, they automatically became our front-runner. That really didn’t change throughout the week of talking to them or coming into July 1st.
“The last few days, my family and I kind of almost planning like we were already going to Calgary. It was kind of funny. We’re excited it all worked out.”
The strong recruiting pitch from the president of hockey operations, general manager, and head coach helped the 32-year-old in his decision in determining Engelland’s final destination.
“I’ve talked to Brad and Burkie and Bob and they all see more from me in my game if I get an opportunity to play a little more and become more of a leader and a bigger role on the team. They think I can grow as a player and I do too. They all see more from me in my game if I get an opportunity to play a little more and become more of a leader and a bigger role on the team. They think I can grow as a player and I do too.
“That’s a huge part of my decision on where I wanted to go.”
Treliving was certainly keen on picking up the former Moose Jaw Warriors blueliner, too.
“Deryk is a guy who I think in a lot of ways has been underappreciated, undervalued,” the Flames GM said. “He’s a tremendous person. We’ve talked about character and the type of people we want to bring in here.
“If you go back and do the homework and do the research and talk to former players and talk to the people in Pittsburgh what type of person Deryk is, you’ll get the respect. This guy was a big part of their locker room. He was a leader, tremendous character and a real good person.”
Engelland is more than willing to put that character on display in Calgary’s dressing room.
“Coming in and being the second-oldest guy, that leadership will fall into my lap a bit more,” he said. “I’m excited to see that part of my game grow.”
He’s hoping to help the Flames grow, too.
With the blue-collar reputation the Flames have earned around the league, Engelland sees a natural fit in himself, and one he can provide an example for.
“Extremely hard working from when we’ve played them,” he said. “I know a lot of the guys. They come and come and come. They play the same way no matter what. They chip pucks in and go after it. They just come wave-after-wave.
“I’m looking forward to playing with a really hard working team.
“I’ve got myself into the NHL through hard work and my training and whatever I can do to help my game and doing that, that’s what’s got me there. That’s what’s going to keep me there, too.”