Flames sign newly acquired Tanguay

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames wasted little time in signing newly acquired forward Alex Tanguay to a three-year, $15.75 million deal on Wednesday.

Tanguay, picked up in a deal from Colorado during the NHL draft on June 24, could have taken the Flames to salary arbitration but instead agreed to a contract that will pay him $5 million next season, $5.375 million in 2007-08 and $5.375 million in 2008-09.

He will bolster a Flames offense that was the league's fourth worst last season. The 26-year-old former first-round draft pick was second in scoring behind Joe Sakic for the Avalanche last season with 29 goals and 49 assists in 71 games while earning $3.23 million. Tanguay will move from the wing to center and play on a line with Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

"That sets up really well for us because the strength of our organization going forward, if you look at it, the strength is at center ice," said Flames coach and general manager Darryl Sutter.

Calgary had to give up offensive-minded defenseman Jordan Leopold to get Tanguay.

"It was tough to give up Leo, but if you want to get a top-line player, you've got to pay for it, and we wanted to keep him [Tanguay] and now we were able to do that," Sutter said.

With outstanding goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, the only glaring weakness has been scoring. That was evident in the Flames' first-round playoff loss to Anaheim when they scored only 16 goals in the seven-game series and just one in consecutive defeats in the final two contests.

Sutter hopes the signing of unrestricted free-agent winger Jeff Friesen to a $1.6 million, one-year deal will also pay off.

Friesen, who turns 30 next month, had only four goals and seven assists in 51 games with Washington and Anaheim last season, his 11th in the NHL. But he has had three seasons where he has scored 60 or more points.

"You look at his numbers and he's a good overall-type player," Sutter said. "He plays both ends of the ice and he's very team-oriented and he's won the Stanley Cup."