After playing for three NHL clubs last season, the 25-year-old Flames forward hopes to dig in in Calgary. The New York Rangers, who selected the junior star ninth overall in the 1999 NHL entry draft, dealt him to Phoenix after three games last season and after another 38 with the Coyotes, the Flames acquired him for the final dozen games of the regular season plus the playoffs.
“Last year was a pretty rough year moving around,” Lundmark said Tuesday prior to the Flames’ game against the Coyotes. “My wife was pregnant and it was a rough year on her.
“Just to start off in a place at the beginning of the season and be able to stay would be great.”
Lundmark was a premiere playmaker and scorer in the Western Hockey League during his junior career with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Seattle Thunderbirds.
The speedy centre from Edmonton twice played for Canada at the world junior hockey championships, winning bronze in 2000 and 2001.
But lighting it up at the junior level is no guarantee of doing the same in the NHL and Lundmark has yet to make that transfer.
He made his NHL debut with the Rangers at 21, when he had eight goals and 11 assists in 55 games.
In his sophomore year, he had just two goals and eight assists in 56 games for the Rangers and then came the lockout season, when he played in Italy and the AHL.
He had five goals and 13 assists for the Coyotes when the Flames acquired him at the NHL trade deadline in March.
Lundmark seemed an odd choice for the defence-first philosophy of general manager Darryl Sutter.
But the six-foot, 198-pound Lundmark gave the Flames an offensive lift down the stretch with four goals and six assists in those final 12 regular season games.
Lundmark has struggled to find his scoring touch to start this season. He was held pointless until Tuesday’s game, his seventh of the season, when he assisted on Chuck Kobasew’s power-play goal in a 6-1 win over Phoenix.
Lundmark knows he’s joined an organization where the ability to play defence is prized. He’s been trying to make his game more multi-dimensional and thus gain more ice time.
“I think I’ve had to change quite a few things in my game that I didn’t do in junior,” Lundmark said. “Just defensive responsibilities are a lot more.
“I’m getting there. It’s definitely a part that I want to add to my game, just being accountable and be good in the defensive zone is a big thing for my career.”
Lundmark should get more minutes to prove he can play a two-way game with centre Stephane Yelle out of the lineup for the next few weeks with a sprained ankle and fractured leg bone.
“I wasn’t playing a lot of minutes, but with the injury to Steph, unfortunately, that’s a big hit to our team and there’s got to be guys that step up and take that position,” Lundmark said. “Hopefully I’ll get a few more minutes and play a different role than I was in the beginning.”
Lundmark’s wife Erica gave birth to their first child, Austin, in July.
“It’s definitely the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Lundmark said.