SUN Hockey Pool

Ante up for Chuck

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

The Calgary Flames' biggest need to fill this summer is scoring punch.

Yesterday, they locked up one of their most promising young snipers in Chuck Kobasew, who was given a two-year deal thought to be worth between $1- and $1.5-million US per year. The 24-year-old winger, who made a little more than $900,000 last season, was set to become a restricted free agent July 1 along with Matthew Lombardi and Kristian Huselius.

"I'm excited," said Kobasew over the phone from Kelowna yesterday. "I didn't know when we'd be working on it. To get it done early is nice.

"I think things went pretty smoothly. I know I expressed I want to be part of what's going on in Calgary."

Kobasew took a big step in 2005-06, reaching the 20-goal plateau -- one of five Flames to do so -- for the first time and potting his first playoff tally in the opening-round series against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He also scored his first NHL hat-trick and finished with 20 goals and 31 points.

Boasting great speed and a penchant for finding pucks around the net, Kobasew said he wants to up his level of contribution even more next season. He'll be counted on to do so as part of GM/head coach Darryl Sutter's young core.

"I have high expectations of myself," said the usually reserved Kobasew. "I set my goals ... but I keep my goals just to myself."

Kobasew did list some of the hopes Sutter has expressed for his potential-filled B.C. product.

"Continued improvement, a bigger role on the team," said Kobasew. "You take what you learned from last year and definitely want to build on that and be more of an impact player in the league."


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