Just one day after bringing him in on a professional tryout, the Flames have inked veteran d-man Matt Bartkowski to a two-year, two-way deal.
Financial terms weren’t immediately disclosed.
Bartkowski, 28, has spent all of this season with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence, scoring 10 points in 34 games. His last NHL action came in ’15-16, when he scored 18 points in 80 games with Vancouver.
And that’s where the familiarity angle comes into play.
Though he was oft criticized for his play last season, Bartkowski did log career highs across the board with the Canucks — under the watchful eye of then-assistant coach Glen Gulutzan, who’s now the head man in Calgary.
“He’s a great skater, a fantastic skater,” Gulutzan said, per the Calgary Herald. “In Vancouver we used him a bit on the penalty kill not much on the power play. He’s a guy that can move and is very mobile. But my role in it … certainly knowing the player and knowing the type of person he is, I vouched for that.”
There are a few facets to this signing. The first is that Bartkowski gives the Flames a defenseman to expose in this June’s expansion draft.
The second? He might end up being more than just a depth signing.
Eric Francis of the Calgary Herald wrote the Flames “are devoid of a quality No. 4 defenseman,” adding “there’s simply no semblance of defensive depth on a blue line spearheaded by studs Dougie Hamilton, [Mark] Giordano and [T.J.] Brodie. After that, the pickins are slim.”
The Flames are back in action Saturday, when they take on the Canucks in Vancouver. It’ll be interesting to see if they’ll give Bartkowski a look against his former club.