Goalie Brian Elliott said he had a number of options in free agency, but the reason he signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday came down to the person who reached out to him.
"When a guy like [Flyers general manager and former NHL goalie] Ron Hextall calls you and says he's liked you for a long time and wants to get you on this team, that's pretty special," Elliott said during a conference call. "I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity."
Financial terms of Elliott's contract were not disclosed, but TSN reported it is worth $5.5 million, an average annual value of $2.75 million.
Elliott, 32, was 26-18-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average, a .910 save percentage and two shutouts in 49 games (45 starts) with the Calgary Flames last season.
He had a rough start to the season, going 3-9-1 with a 3.31 GAA and .886 save percentage in his first 14 games.
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Elliott said it was a difficult adjustment for him in his first season in Calgary after five seasons with the St. Louis Blues. He had to learn new defensemen and a new defensive system, as well as get used to a new city with a baby at home.
"Right before the season started I had my first child," he said. "It was a hard time to deal with everything, being away from family. You need to get home right after practice and help out as much as possible. You didn't feel some of those connections like when you didn't have a kid. It took awhile before we were comfortable, [my wife said] do what you have to do and we'll be fine. Once we got things figured out we went on a pretty good run."
Video: NHL Tonight on Elliott signing with Philadelphia
In Elliott's final 36 games, he was 23-9-2 with a 2.27 GAA and .919 save percentage, helping the Flames finish as the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. He also tied a Flames record with 11 straight wins from Feb. 21-March 19.
Elliott said he's looking to have a smoother adjustment to Philadelphia.
"I'm looking forward to hitting the ground running," he said. "Talk about things [with the defensemen], where they like to be and where I'd like them to be. Little things that take time to build. Going through that last year gave me that experience to embrace that change, and hopefully we can have good communication that way."
Elliott replaces Steve Mason, who agreed to a two-year, $8.2 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
Before leaving Philadelphia, Mason said he didn't want to be part of a platoon system. Elliott will split time with Michal Neuvirth for the Flyers but said he doesn't mind the internal competition for playing time.
"I've been in the same type of situation my whole career," Elliott said. "It's not something I shy away from or am concerned about. I want to play as many games as I can. With how the new NHL is and the schedule, it's tough to play all those games. Lot of teams are switching to having two guys that can hold down the fort. There's still competition, you want to be the guy that can be counted on game in and game out. If you're playing well you get rewarded … If you're going to keep winning you'll stay in the net.
"For myself I just try to keep working hard and eventually things turn in your favor and you end up playing the bulk of the games. I want to come in and contribute as much as I can and be a guy that can be counted on."
Elliott was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the ninth round (No. 291) of the 2003 NHL Draft and is 191-117-35 with a 2.42 GAA, a .913 save percentage and 36 shutouts in 372 games (338 starts) in 10 seasons with the Flames, Blues, Senators and Colorado Avalanche. He is 15-22 in 41 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
He was selected for the NHL All-Star Game twice (2012, 2015) and won the William M. Jennings Trophy, helping the Blues allow the fewest goals in the League in 2011-12, when he also led the League with a 1.56 GAA.