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Bang for Flames' bucks

Acquired at the NHL draft for Jordan Leopold and two picks, Alex Tanguay feels he can cope with the...

Acquired at the NHL draft for Jordan Leopold and two picks, Alex Tanguay feels he can cope with the added pressure of a new contract while playing for the Calgary Flames. (File Photo)

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

With the big paycheque comes big expectations.

Alex Tanguay has seen it first-hand, skating alongside the likes of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Rob Blake.

Now being a player with a $5-million price tag, it's his turn to cope with that scrutiny, too, and figures he'll be just fine.

"It's exciting. You always want to be a go-to guy and I'm going to be one of those guys in Calgary," said Tanguay yesterday from his home outside Quebec City. "A couple of years ago, when I got hurt, I was leading the league in scoring and this year, before I got hurt, I was in the top-10 in scoring.

"I have the ability to bring a little bit more to the table. I know the expectations and I'm fully aware of them. Hopefully, I can play real well."

Tanguay's new deal will pay him $15.75 million US over the next three seasons.

Acquired at the draft for Jordan Leopold, a second-round pick and a conditional second rounder, Tanguay solidified his placing in the Flames organization. Where exactly he fits into the roster, though, remains to be seen.

Coming off a 71-game, 29-goal, 78-point campaign in 2005-06, the 26-year-old immediately gives the Flames a top-line left winger.

However, GM/head coach Darryl Sutter has said he may insert Tanguay at centre, a position he hasn't played with regularity since his junior days, for more punch alongside captain Jarome Iginla.

Not an issue, said Tanguay.

"If that's what coach Sutter wants, I'm fine with it," he said. "I'm gonna play wherever. I told Darryl I'd be a lot more comfortable, at first, at wing because that's where I've played the last few years but I've played centre before and sure I could do it.

"I'm comfortable playing either position. Playing with Jarome, it doesn't matter where you're playing."

Tanguay has played on one-year pacts the last four NHL seasons but was willing to delay unrestricted free agency.

He would have become a UFA next summer.

"They made me a great offer and I'm happy," Tanguay said. "This is a team that's going towards its highest potential."

Tanguay's signing, as well as the addition of UFA left winger Jeff Friesen, shores up the Flames roster.

The team's only remaining restricted free agent is centre Matthew Lombardi, who was paid $450,000 US last season.

The Flames also need a backup goaltender behind Miikka Kiprusoff, whether it would be 2000 first-rounder Brent Krahn or a free agent.

Sutter is not concerned.

"You're not recruiting goalies, they're trying to come to you. It's really not something I've focused on or put a lot of thought into. I've been in the league a long time and so have a lot of the backup goalies, so we know each other really well," he said.

"We're dead-on where we want to be and we're not close to the cap ... We'll be $2 million to $3 million under."


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