SUN Hockey Pool

Dawes chompin' at the bit

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

No potential acrimony. No open debating.

It was no worry after all.

When Nigel Dawes was claimed off waivers by the Calgary Flames last week, he said he figured it wouldn't be hard to come to terms on a contract.

Looming on the horizon was an arbitration hearing, originally slated for tomorrow, that he had opted for with his former team, the Phoenix Coyotes, which sometimes comes with a whole new set of problems.

Instead, Dawes and the Flames agreed on a two-year contract worth US$850,000 per season.

"It's nice to get done. I'm excited to be going to Calgary," Dawes said.

Now the left-winger can focus on his goal for the coming season, to claim a spot on the roster and become more of an offensive producer.

"It wasn't necessarily what I expected to do last year, as far as points wise, and I'm definitely ready to bounce from that and improve on that performance. I don't think there's a better place for me than Calgary," said Dawes, 24.

"Hopefully, I'll be able to get in the top six (spots among forwards), and if not, work my way up. Everyone's going to be given a fair shot and there are spots up there, and like most teams, there are three or four guys going to fight for them.

"It's going to be a competitive camp."

The 5-foot-8, 190-lb. forward from Winnipeg has played 133 NHL games for the New York Rangers and Phoenix Coyotes and has collected 25 goals and 26 assists.

He split last season between New York, which drafted him in the fifth round, 149th overall in 2003, and the Coyotes -- having been traded at the deadline.

Dawes has ties to a couple of members of the team's coaching staff, having won a gold medal under head coach Brent Sutter at the 2005 world junior tournament, and the 2002 Memorial Cup with the Kootenay Ice under new Flames assistant coach Ryan McGill.

His signing leaves the Flames with 22 players on one-way contracts, and one big-leaguer remaining to sign, Dustin Boyd.

Dawes, who attended a golf tournament with Boyd last week prior to the transaction that made him a member of the Flames, has spent time scouring the Calgary roster.

"I know some names, but until you're on the ice with them and see how people play, it's kinda tough to judge stuff. I'm going to just let everything fall into place, go into camp and fight for my spot," he said.

"There's a lot of younger guys," Dawes said.

"I think nowadays, you need a healthy mix and it's something we have.

"The way the game's going, a lot of teams, and teams having success, are doing it with a younger core of players.

"The group we have in Calgary is a pretty good crew. I think we follow the footsteps of other successful teams."


Videos

Photos