CALGARY, AB -- TJ Galiardi had designs on becoming a member of the Calgary Flames.
He didn't envision it happening quite so quickly, though.
The local product and former member of the Calgary Hitmen was surprised -- and thrilled -- he had the opportunity to join his hometown team on Tuesday.
"I don't think it's still fully sunk in that I'm going to be on the Flames," said Galiardi, who also signed a one-year deal with Calgary. "It's been a dream of mine ever since I was a little kid. I think ever since I got into the NHL, I've always had a soft spot for the Flames even though I was playing against them. I always figured when the time came when I was an unrestricted free agent I would try my best to make it to Calgary.
"The fact that it happened this soon and when I was a restricted free agent, it's great."
He was caught off guard that his name was on the trade block.
Galiardi was even more surprised when he found out the Flames had an interest in the former Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks forward who had five goals and 14 points in 36 games.
From there, the move was academic.
"The fact that I was going to get traded was out of the blue but Doug Wilson was great," Galiardi said. "Once we got to that process, he let me know which teams were interested and when I heard Calgary, it was a no-brainer for me and I said that was my team that I wanted and was pretty much only interested in. Then I and Jay Feaster talked and worked out a deal. It all pretty much came about in the last couple days."
The interest from the Flames point of view was equally as easy.
An improved second half of the season coupled with a strong playoff performance riding shotgun with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns made Galiardi an attractive option for general manager Jay Feaster's rebuilding franchise.
"We are thrilled to add a young player with TJ's size and versatility to our lineup," Feaster said in a release. "He competes hard, is a very good energy player and he is only 25-years-old. The fact that he is from Calgary, lives here in the offseason and played for the Hitmen is an added bonus as he is yet another young player who is excited to be part of our program going forward."
A versatile forward that can play both centre and wing, Galiardi will chase a different challenge in Calgary than what he saw in San Jose.
"It's definitely going to be a different look from what I just came from," said Galiardi, who also played for the AJHL's Calgary Royals. "We had a ton of depth in San Jose and I think that was a good test to show everyone else in the league that I can legitimately play in a top-six role. I got to play with two unbelievable players there even with all the depth we had.
"It's definitely a good first step for what I'll hopefully add in Calgary as well."
The youth movement in Calgary will not only give the 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward an opportunity to raise is game yet again.
It'll offer him a chance to finally see Scotiabank Saddledome digs from a home team perspective.
"It's pretty crazy, I've never even seen the dressing room," said Galiardi, who has called both the Hitmen and visitors rooms home at different stages of his career. "I'm really excited to get the whole journey started."
Quicker than he could've ever imagined.