SUN Hockey Pool

Signing puts Boyd at ease

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

Dustin Boyd heads into the WHL playoffs with a clear mind.

Having a signed NHL contract in his pocket, the Calgary Flames prospect doesn't have many worries right now.

He doesn't have to entertain thoughts of a last-minute deal or possibly re-entering the draft, thanks to the deal announced Monday.

Instead, Boyd can concentrate solely on the Moose Jaw Warriors post-season run and is happy for it.

"It's nice when you don't have to worry about that stuff at this time of year," said Boyd. "I think it was easy to get it done. Darryl (Sutter, the Flames GM/head coach) was really fair and we saw eye-to-eye, so it was easy."

It's understandable why the Flames were happy to have the speedy 6-ft., 188-lb. centre from Winnipeg inked to a three-year, entry-level pact.

After all, Boyd -- chosen in the third round, 98th overall, in the 2004 draft -- finished fourth in the WHL scoring race with 90 points, including 48 goals, in 64 games.

His pro potential also came through while helping Canada claim the gold at the World Juniors tournament, during which he collected four goals and two assists.

Not bad for a player who was a third-line centre mainly in a checking role the season before he was drafted.

He admits hearing his name called was a huge confidence boost.

"We met at the combine in Toronto before the draft and the Flames showed they were interested. That felt great," said Boyd, whose goal totals have increased every year. "Once you get drafted, it takes a big load off your mind. But then you have to work at getting better every game."

That said, the heat is on Boyd and his Warriors teammates. Despite finishing in first place in the WHL's East Division, the Warriors head into tomorrow night's fourth game in the best-of-seven series down 2-1 to the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Boyd is optimistic a win can be collected in his hometown.

"We've got a good team and a chance to go far. We've just got to win games," he said.


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