Making their big splash early on Day 2 of the NHL draft, the Flames landed one of the largest fish set to hit the open seas next week.
Hooking blueliner Jay Bouwmeester's exclusive negotiating rights from the Florida Panthers in exchange for the same opportunity with defenceman Jordan Leopold and a third-round pick (67th overall).
The Flames now have until July 1 to hammer out a deal with the 25-year-old Bouwmeester, who scored 15 goals and 42 points for the Cats last season.
It's a good bet Flames GM Darryl Sutter already is nearing a deal with Bouwmeester's agent Bryon Baltimore.
The Edmonton product spent six seasons with the Panthers after being chosen third overall in the 2002 draft.
Due for a raise on the $4.875 million he made last year, Bouwmeester will immediately be one of the top two higest-paid Flames blueliners.
Dion Phaneuf makes $6.5M.