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Calgary gets recently-acquired Chris Butler under contract for two years

CALGARY - The Calgary Flames have signed defenceman Chris Butler, whom the club recently acquired from the Buffalo Sabres.

Butler, 24, signed a two-year deal with an average salary of US$1.25 million. The stay-at-home defenceman would have entered restricted free agency Friday had he not signed with Calgary.

The Flames dealt defenceman and former assistant captain Robyn Regehr, forward Ales Kotalik and their second pick in 2012 to Buffalo for Butler and forward Paul Byron at the NHL entry draft.

Butler, a six-foot-one, 200-pound native of St. Louis, had five goals and 31 assists in his last three seasons with Buffalo. The Sabres drafted him in the fourth round (96th) in the 2005 draft.

"This enables him to focus solely on preparing for the upcoming season and not have to worry about his contract status," Flames general manager Jay Feaster said in a statement.

There was urgency for the Flames to get Butler under contract Friday because the Dallas Stars signed 27-year-old defenceman Adam Pardy, an unrestricted free agent who spent his last three seasons with the Flames. Pardy agreed to a two-year, $4-million contract with the Stars, which was a significant raise on the $700,000 he made last season.

Calgary completed a significant off-season transaction at last week's draft when Feaster extended winger Alex Tanguay's contract by five years at a cost of US$17.5 million. The 31-year-old Tanguay, who had 69 points in 79 games for the Flames last season, would have been an unrestricted free agent Friday.

The Flames also announced Friday the club re-signed minor-league forward Carter Bancks and defenceman Joe Piskula.

Bancks, a 21-year-old from Marysville, B.C., played just 29 games for the Abbotsford Heat last season due to a concussion and compiled five goals and 14 assists.

The former Lethbridge Hurricane was leading the Heat in points, short-handed points and plus-minus at the time he was injured. Bancks signed a two-year deal with an average salary of $560,000.

Piskula, from Antigo, Wisc., had a goal and 11 assists in 71 games for the Heat last season. The 21-year-old is six foot three and 213 pounds. He signed a two-year contract for an average salary of $525,000.


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