Calgary Flames Among Busiest Teams Ahead of Free Agency

USATSI_10017955_154158418_lowresThe Calgary Flames have been among the busiest teams in the NHL as of late and on Friday they continued their furious ways by inking defenceman Michael Stone to a three-year contract extension.

The deal is worth a reported $10.5 million.

The 27-year-old was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Calgary acquired his services in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes ahead of the trade deadline.

The contract is a little on the steep side, but Flames general manager Brad Treliving hasn’t been shy about throwing money around.

Of course, he’s also made economical moves. The acquisition of goalies Mike Smith and Eddie Lack came with Treliving arranging for their former clubs to eat part of their salaries. The Coyotes are retaining a quarter of Smith’s salary, while the Hurricanes are covering half of Lack’s coin. That’s not a bad arrangement for a brand new goalie tandem.

But Treliving also parted with next year’s first and second round draft picks. He acquired defenceman Travis Hamonic and re-signed Kris Versteeg, sure, but some are wondering if the prices were too steep.

What’s more, Treliving’s probably not done.

“We’ve chosen this far to go the trade route in terms of addressing some of our needs,” he said. “We’ll see what the next little bit brings from free agency. The gun goes off tomorrow, but we’ve got a long time until October. Some of the things we’ve done gives us a little time to step back and maybe see how the market plays out, whether it be the next couple days or the next few weeks and months.”

Calgary also waived defenceman Ryan Murphy and winger Lance Bouma on Friday and intend on buying out each contract.

What remains, then, is a pretty hot group of defencemen for the Flames. Hamonic, Stone, T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton, and captain Mark Giordano comprise a group few teams will want to mess with.

But Treliving isn’t quite set to plan the parade just yet.

“People look at our team right now and think there’s a chance to have success,” the GM said. “This is all on paper. We haven’t done anything yet. Let’s keep it in proper perspective. The calls are encouraging in people thinking there’s a chance to have a good team here in Calgary.”

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