SUN Hockey Pool

Flames ink three under wire

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:24 AM ET

Dion Phaneuf has a deal in place that will allow him to play in the NHL this season. All he needs is a season.

On the day the NHL locked out its players without a collective bargaining agreement, the Flames' prized prospect signed a three-year entry-level contract.

"It's frustrating," Phaneuf said of the fact the season is expected to be delayed because of the labour dispute. "I can't worry about it too much because I can't really control that aspect of the game. It's controlled by others.

"The good news is I'm playing hockey in Red Deer (with the WHL Rebels) and we're going to have a good team."

Phaneuf, drafted ninth overall in 2003, had to be signed by 10 p.m. last night or he couldn't play in the coming season, if there is one. Had the club not signed the 6-ft. 2-in., 205-lb. defenceman by the deadline, he wouldn't be eligible to play in the NHL for the 2004-05 season.

"We feel that if the season was in place, Dion Phaneuf would be playing on our hockey team," said GM-head coach Darryl Sutter in a statement. "He is the top defenceman in the Western Hockey League."

The deal is worth $1.24 million US per season, split in half for signing bonus and salary in the first two years and full salary in the third year. As well, there are bonus clauses given to top draft choices.

Phaneuf, who didn't attend the Flames' prospect camp, remained with Red Deer in preparation for the Rebels season.

"I'm just excited that we got it done," Phaneuf said while watching his team play the Calgary Hitmen in an exhibition contest.

The Flames also re-signed forward Lynn Loyns and inked unrestricted free agent Anders Eriksson.

Loyns signed a one-year, two-way deal and expects to play in the AHL until an NHL season begins.

Eriksson spent last season with Columbus, netting seven goals and 20 assists in 66 games. He's played 412 NHL games with Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and the Blue Jackets.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla, the club's lone restricted free agent, remains un-signed. His agent, Don Meehan, said there was no progress yesterday on a deal.

Since the CBA deadline has passed, there can be no ratification of any deal.

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AROUND THE LEAGUE: The Anaheim Mighty Ducks signed Calgary Hitmen sniper Ryan Getzlaf ... Oilers captain Jason Smith signed a four-year deal with the team ... Martin Havlat signed a one-year deal with the Ottawa Senators ... The Chicago Blackhawks re-signed goaltender Michael Leighton to a one-year contract.


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