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Return to familiar ground for Sjostrom

by Peter Zuurbier / Calgary Flames
Last season a few of the young Flames began to sparkle, and the departures on the Flames
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frontend this summer have left a window open for a number of young forwards to step up and shine.

To complement last year's group, Flames General Manager Darryl Sutter  imported some new blood, including Frederick Sjostrom, who was signed as a free agent July 1. Having starred for the Calgary Hitmen from 2001-2003, Sjostrom is looking forward to a return to the grounds where he spent his formative years.

"It's great to be back in Calgary. I had such a great time here when I played for the Hitmen. I love the city of Calgary, I've still got lots of friends there so I'm really looking forward to it," said Sjostrom, who scored 53 goals and 127 points in 121 regular season games as a member of the Hitmen.

While a return to Calgary does have Sjostrom excited, his pulse is really racing with the opportunity playing for a team with championship aspirations.

"I'm coming to a great team; the Flames are already very talented. Hopefully I can come in and help make the team better, and as a team we can go to the Stanley Cup," said Sjostrom.

"Definitely our team has a really big chance to be successful. On paper we look really good, but we've got to gel and develop some chemistry. Luckily most of this team has been together for a while, so it should be really easy to develop chemistry. Once we do, we can accomplish great things as a team."

Sjostrom was drafted 11th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2001. Last year with the Rangers he scored seven goals and 13 points in 79 games, in 358 career regular season games he has tallied 41 goals and 88 points. While he may not be completely sure of his role with the team yet, Sjostrom is convinced he can help out in a few areas.

"I bring good skating and solid defence. Last year I showed I can play well on the penalty kill, and hopefully I can score a few goals too."

With summer at its height, the days of rest and relaxation are waning. Flames training camp is expected to be especially competitive this year given the offseason movements and resulting expectations. With this in mind, Sjostrom is preparing to return to the ice in the next couple of weeks

"I'm going to start skating soon, say goodbye to family and friends, all the stuff you do as you get ready for the next season," said Sjostrom, who is itching to get back to familiar ground at the 'Dome and get down to business.

"I'm already focused and excited for the season. I can hardly wait to get out on the ice, get to Calgary, and get the season going. It's going to be a great year."
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