Friesen in here

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Jeff Friesen is leaving a team that's coming off a trip to the Western Conference final.

He's departing an already-strong squad that added blueliner Chris Pronger this week.

But Friesen couldn't be happier having left the Anaheim Ducks to reunite with Darryl Sutter by signing a one-year, $1.6-million US free-agent deal with the Calgary Flames.

"I liked it here in Anaheim and, by adding Pronger, they're certainly going to have a good team. But there was really just one team in my mind I wanted to play for," said Friesen yesterday from his off-season home in Anaheim.

"I didn't have too many options in my head. The opportunity in Calgary with Darryl, being close to home and a team being capable of winning the Stanley Cup gives it all the intangibles.

"It's a place I really wanted to go and I was happy to get a phone call saying Darryl felt the same way."

Friesen, originally from Meadow Lake, Sask., spent nearly four seasons playing under Sutter in San Jose, the forward's most prolific years.

Though coming off a dismal campaign -- four goals in 51 games split between Washington and the Ducks, and plenty of missed time due to sports hernia surgery -- he knows the Flames' GM/head coach still has faith in him.

"It's such a big thing to have an opportunity," Friesen said. "And when you have somebody who believes in you, it makes it a lot easier. This is the best opportunity I could give myself."

Although Friesen struggled through the year, he was a key part of the Ducks' first-round, seven-game victory over the Flames in the playoffs, skating on a line with Todd Marchant and Rob Niedermayer.

Sutter expects a turnaround from the career 212-goal scorer, who'll turn 30 next month.

"He had a tough year, put it that way," Sutter said. "I know the player and he's a good player, not just his numbers. He's a good all-around player, plays both ends of the ice and is very team-oriented. He's a good fit because he's a good pro."

Friesen's addition gives Sutter plenty of options on the left wing, with the likes of Kristian Huselius, Tony Amonte and Marcus Nilson.

"We're really, really good at that position," Sutter said. "That was the position we said all along, in the room, we had to address more than everything else. Outside (of the room), it's always been a No. 1 centre but those aren't on EBay."


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