Pardy makes point to stay put

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

From rookie to unrestricted free agent.

It's not a common path in the NHL, but defenceman Adam Pardy isn't your typical freshman.

The Newfoundlander has had to improve greatly at every level of hockey he's played before finally making the jump to the Calgary Flames.

Suiting up for 60 games this year, Pardy's late arrival on the NHL scene qualifies him for Group VI free agency.

A 25-year-old with fewer than 80 games under his belt after three professional seasons is eligible to hit the open market when his rookie contract expires.

There's little doubt the Flames want him back. Becoming a strong presence on the blueline, there will likely be many suitors should he make it to July 1 without a new deal.

"Maybe. It's always possible," Pardy said with a laugh. "You never know what teams are thinking."

He knows what's on his mind, however, and that's returning to the Flames.

"It's a situation where I've played just the one year -- do I want to be jumping into a new system?" he said. "I like it here. That's the first priority right now."

Scoring a goal and earning 10 points in 60 regular-season games, Pardy was also a key player in the first round of the playoffs with Robyn Regehr out.

"It was a great experience for me," said Pardy, who was mentioned by name by both captain Jarome Iginla and head coach Mike Keenan as one of the positives of a season that ended too early.

"It's something I took a lot from. The result in the end is disappointing but you've got to look at the positives and take what you can from this year and use it next year."

With a severely broken nose, memories of the first-round exit will last long after the Stanley Cup is actually raised.

"It's still a little clogged. They're saying like six weeks until it's fully healed," said Pardy.

"Hopefully there's no problems with the septum after that. We'll see.

"I've broken it before, but not like this."

It should be all cleared up before training camp, when he hopes he gets his mugshot taken as a member of the Flames once again.

"I like it here in Calgary. I think there's a place here for me," he said.

"In terms of contract, we just finished. We didn't want it to be a distraction. I'm sure it won't be an issue."


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