The one that got away

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

He was acquired towards the end of the season and helped revitalize a struggling team.

The play of Curtis Glencross was one of the reasons the Edmonton Oilers were able to make an improbable late-season run at a playoff spot.

Along with Zack Stortini and Kyle Brodziak, the trio combined to form a formidable fourth line, the best seen around these parts for some time.

But in the off-season Glencross and the Edmonton Oilers were unable to come to terms on an agreement.

So the free agent took the offer presented to him by the Calgary Flames. It was better. Significantly better.

"He was a good player for us," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "I think we were squeezed on him in the pursuit of (Marian) Hossa. We were still down the path of getting Hossa, and if we would have been able to get Hossa, we wouldn't have been able to get Glencross as well.

"Unfortunately we lost him to Calgary, but we would have liked to have him back. He was a good complement on that line and you can't triviallize the chemistry of an effective line. It's a bit of a loss for us, but we look like we have the depth that we can fill it, hopefully."

EFFECTIVE FINISH

Glencross, 25, scored nine goals and added four assists in his 26 games with the Oilers last season. He was acquired in a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets for little-used defenceman Dick Tarnstrom.

At that point Glencross had scored six goals and added six assists in 36 games with Columbus. He provided speed to a line that already had grit and tenacity.

"It was fun playing here, our line had a lot of chemistry," Glencross said. "Any time you deal with that much chemistry on a line and click that quickly it's nice to have because you don't find that very often. It's one of those things that when you have a line like that, you'd like to keep it together, but it was time to move on.

"We didn't work things out with Edmonton, but I'm happy to be in Calgary."

Last night Glencross was in Edmonton for the first time since switching allegiances as the Oilers hosted the Flames in an exhibition encounter at Rexall Place.

Calgary went hard after the winger in the off-season. The Flames offered him $1.2-million per season for the next three years.

According to Glencross it was much better deal than the Oilers had first proposed a month prior to the free agent deadline. He didn't hear from them again until after the deadline.

"It was nice to know that a team has you in their plans and has a spot for you," Glencross said. "Calgary stepped up right away and made me an offer."

With the Flames, the former University of Alaska Anchorage product is expected to play on the team's third line. Coming into last night's contest he had a goal and an assist in three exhibition games.

"He's a young player with quickness, speed and competitive values, with a good shot," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan. "We expect a lot out of him as we do our entire team and group, and he's fit in really well. He's certainly contributed in the games he's played so far."

MOST PRODUCTIVE SEASON

Glencross began his NHL career in the Anaheim Ducks organization before being traded to the Blue Jackets. His 15 goals and 10 assists last season between Edmonton and Columbus was his most productive so far.

But it was the surge towards the end of the year which landed him a multi-million-dollar contract from the Flames.

"It never hurts when you play well," Keenan said. "Whether your stock rises or not depends on how well you negotiate in the summer. But he's certainly a contributor to our club."

Much like the Oilers the Flames are optimistic heading into the season.

The two teams are considered front-runners for the Northwest Division title this year.

"We have a great group of guys here and it makes it easier to play with a new team," Glencross said. "We're excited. We have a good four lines that can all play. It's going to be a really good season and we're excited to get it going.

"With the leadership that they have on this team, we just have to follow suit and play up to their expectations and we'll have a great year."


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