Cale Hulse is coming home.
The 32-year-old defenceman, a Calgary product, was picked up by Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter yesterday in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for Omaha Knights winger Cam Severson.
It gives Hulse a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup in his second tour with the team.
The move is the first in what's expected to be a busy couple of weeks as the March 9 NHL trade deadline approaches.
Expected to arrive in time to catch a little of last night's on-ice action against the Canucks, Hulse's plane was delayed until well past midnight. But Hulse will get a warm welcome when he joins the team today, especially from forward Jason Wiemer.
The two played junior hockey together in the WHL with Portland and furthered their friendship during their initial stints with the Flames between 1998 and 2000.
"We go back quite a way. I look forward to getting him back," said Wiemer yesterday. "We stay in pretty good touch. He's a guy who's going to be able to step in whenever he's needed and fill a role.
"I know he's going to be excited -- he's from here and everything. (It's) been a tough year for him so I'm sure he's looking for a fresh start."
Flames captain Jarome Iginla also played with Hulse in his first go-round with the team.
"He's a big defenceman. He's physical. He's got a good shot," Iginla said.
The move may be a prelude to something bigger -- with 10 defencemen who have played NHL games this season now in the system -- although Sutter deflected the question yesterday.
"I look at it as depth for our team," he said. "If we can improve our team by adding more depth without losing anybody out of our locker-room, then we'll look at it. This trade ... upgraded our locker-room."