SUN Hockey Pool

Rhett's pumped up

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:55 AM ET

With nearly all the pieces in place, Flames defenceman Rhett Warrener is extra psyched for the coming season.

Warrener, whose new four-year, $9.4-million contract was announced yesterday, is ecstatic to see nearly all the club's free agents are signed with a month to go before training camp.

"If you're a team that doesn't have everybody signed going into camp, you're doing your team an injustice," said Warrener. "We're going to come into camp with all our guys and just focus on being a team. I know everyone is excited about it."

The bruising defenceman, who collected three goals and 14 assists in 2003-04, could have become an unrestricted free agent next summer but chose a deal that will pay him $1.9 million this coming season and $2.5 million the subsequent years.

Warrener, who was en route to an buddies' annual golf tournament in Canmore yesterday, was more than willing to sign long-term.

"We were pushing for it," said the 29-year-old defenceman. "I'm unrestricted next summer and I know you can't negotiate only on that but the writing's on the wall."

The club's list of restricted free agents is down to forwards Chuck Kobasew, Matthew Lombardi and Lynn Loyns and goaltender Brent Krahn. They have until Monday afternoon to accept their qualifying offers, which is a likely scenario. The Flames will retain their rights if the deadline passes.

Monday is also the deadline to ink graduating college seniors Eric Nystrom (the first rounder from 2002), Brian McConnell and Curtis McElhinney.

If they're not signed, they become unrestricted free agents.

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ICE CHIPS: Centre Jason Spezza re-signed with the Senators, along with Antoine Vermette, Chris Neil, Anton Volchenkov and Christoph Schubert ... Valeri Bure and Alexander Frolov joined the L.A. Kings ... The Caps re-signed Matt Pettinger and Louis Robitaille and free agents Jamie Heward and Boyd Kane ... The Buffalo Sabres announced goaltenders Martin Biron and Ryan Miller accepted one-year qualifying offers. Defenceman Brian Campbell also stays with the Sabres ... Towering Kazakh centre Nik Antropov and Clarke Wilm accepted one-year qualifying offers from the Maple Leafs ... Montreal forward Jan Bulis accepted a qualifying offer from the Canadiens ... Chris Gratton joins his sixth NHL team since being the No. 3 pick in the 1993 entry draft. Florida GM Mike Keenan signed the 30-year-old centre from Brantford, Ont., to a one-year contract ... Carolina re-signed Erik Cole and Jesse Boulerice ... Boston signed unrestricted free-agent defenceman Jiri Slegr ... St. Louis signed forwards Mark Rycroft and Ryan Johnson ... Dallas signed David Oliver.


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