Any Flames opponents in this upcoming season be warned, Brian McGrattan will be patrolling the ice as a member of the Calgary Flames for the 2009-10 campaign.
The tough guy was signed by Flames GM Darryl Sutter shortly after the free-agency period began July 1, and after a tumultuous last season, he is looking forward to returning to form as one of the more menacing presences in the NHL.
"I'm gonna come in and work hard. I'm ready for a full-time roll, but my work ethic won't change if I sit three or four games. I just want to contribute to the team and help us win." said McGrattan, who will wear No. 10 for the Flames.
The moves made by Darryl Sutter so far this offseason have not gone unnoticed by McGrattan, who is looking forward to playing for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations.
"I'm very excited. Looking at the guys on the roster, then to go get (defenceman Jay) Bouwmeester, who's one of the top five defensemen in the league, the team is going to be very good," said McGrattan. "(Brent Sutter) expects everyone to come in and work hard. Hopefully I can come in and contribute."
The Flames are, by design, a pretty tough team, but they match their toughness with a great deal of skill. In order to play consistently, even a designated tough guy has to be able to keep up with his teammates and provide assistance with more than their fists. While most teams have an enforcer, they do not merely keep a goon on the bench. Keenly aware of this, McGrattan is ready to prove that he can be a fixture on the fourth line.
"The fighter has been around forever, and the role is not going anywhere. It may have shifted a bit; the fighters who come out for only one play are gone. You've got to be able to play at least six to eight minutes on the third or fourth line. No one is going to waste a spot on a guy who's only going to come out for one shift. That's not me, I'm ready to come in, contribute, and play hockey."
McGrattan spent last season working through personal issues -- he voluntarily checked himself into the NHL's substance abuse program. Her then suffered a painful shoulder injury. He is looking forward to coming to Calgary in early August to set up a support system and finish the rehabilitation on his shoulder.
"My shoulder is about 80% right now; my goal is to get it to one-hundred percent by September 1. The way we're moving along with the rehabilitation and training, I expect to be ready if not by September 1 than definitely within a couple of days," said McGrattan, who only played in five games last season for the Phoenix Coyotes.
"It's been a different experience this summer. I've been spending time at home with my parents, working out, and working on my shoulder. There's also been a lot of relaxing, it's been a really busy year away from the ice for me, so I'm just trying to take it easy and enjoy my days."