MONTREAL - The Calgary Flames have acquired the rights to Jay Bouwmeester, buying themselves a brief window to negotiate exclusively with the pending free agent.
They sent defenceman Jordan Leopold and a third-round pick to the Florida Panthers on Saturday in exchange for the defenceman, who can hit the open market July 1.
The Flames also re-acquired tough guy forward Brandon Prust from the Phoenix Coyotes for defenceman Jim Vandermeer.
But Bouwmeester, expected to be one of the most sought after free agents, was the team's boldest move and Calgary is the only team that can negotiate with his agent, Bryon Baltimore, until next week.
The 25-year-old had spent his entire career with the Panthers, scoring 15 goals and 42 points last season.
Leopold will also become an unrestricted free agent next week. He's been traded four times during his career.
Prust, meanwhile, was originally a third-round pick of the Flames in 2004 and rejoins them splitting last season between Phoenix and Calgary.
He totalled a goal and two assists in 46 NHL games, with 16 fighting majors.
Vandermeer had a goal and six assists in 45 games for the Flames last season.
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