Bouwmeester agrees to five-year deal with Flames Staff

7/1/2009 12:29:44 AM

Calgary Flames general manager Darryl Sutter made the most of his opportunity to negotiate with Jay Bouwmeester.

The defenceman avoided unrestricted free agency by agreeing to a five-year deal worth $6.68 million per year against the salary cap on Tuesday night.

The Flames acquired the rights of the 25-year from the Florida Panthers on Saturday at the NHL Draft  for the rights to blueliner Jordan Leopold and a third round pick (67th overall), which the Panthers used to select right winger Josh Birkholz.

"Jay is one of the most complete defenseman in the game, and we are very pleased to have reached an agreement that will make him an important component of the Calgary Flames success," said Sutter. "We identified Jay as the priority player where we were going to focus our money. We wanted an opportunity a few days in advance of the deadline, and that's why we made the move we did this past weekend."

Despite trade rumours that swirled around him on deadline day, Bouwmeester remained in Florida, playing out the final year of his contract.

The native of Edmonton, Alberta played his entire six-year career with the Panthers after being selected third overall by the club in 2002. He had 15 goals and 27 assists in 82 games this season.

"I am happy to have this deal done as Calgary was a team I was very interested in playing for. I was encouraged by the commitment Calgary showed by acquiring me prior to July 1," said Bouwmeester. "I am familiar with some of the players and believe we have a strong club that is poised to make the next step in becoming a championship club. I look forward to contributing to that success."

The Flames will formally announce the deal at a news conference Wednesday at 2pm local time.