SAN JOSE – Sharks general manager Doug Wilson decided early in the offseason that forward TJ Galiardi would not be a part of his team moving forward.
It’s clear now that the Sharks had rookie Tomas Hertl penciled into their top nine. A draft day trade brought Tyler Kennedy to town, and Raffi Torres, before getting hurt, signed a three-year contract extension in the offseason. There was simply no room for Galiardi, a restricted free agent at the time.
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Rather than simply trade Galiardi away, though, and then call him to let him know where he’d be headed, Wilson worked with the 25-year-old to move him somewhere preferable. When one of the interested parties was Calgary, where Galiardi grew up, he quickly agreed to go there in exchange for a fourth round pick in 2015.
“After talking to Doug Wilson I think it was the best for both parties. … He was great, and I can’t thank him enough for giving me the opportunity to pick where to go,” Galiardi said on Saturday morning at SAP Center. “He worked with the Flames to get me there, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
After the Sharks acquired Galiardi at the 2012 trade deadline, it took nearly a full year for him to find a steady place in the active lineup. In 50 career games with the Sharks, Galiardi had just six goals and nine assists for 15 points. But late last season, he was part of a rejuvenated offensive attack after a series of moves in late March and early April, and was generally effective on line with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns.
In his first six games with the Flames, Galiardi has a goal and two assists while playing on the third line wing.
“We were very happy with him last year in the second half of the year. He got a great opportunity to play,” Todd McLellan said. “In their locker room they’re a younger team, he’s probably more of a veteran type guy, so he’ll have even more of an impact. A really good kid, and a good player.”
The Flames, a preseason pick by many to be one of the league’s basement dwellers, went their first five games without a regulation loss. That ended on Wednesday in Anaheim, but Calgary still brings a very respectable 3-1-2 mark into San Jose on Saturday night.
Players like Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester may have moved on, but the young Flames roster competes, according to Galiardi.
“We just want to play for each other, to be honest,” he said. “We know we have a good group in here. Just because we don’t have many so-and-so big names, we just play the right way, play hard every night, and we’ve been catching teams by surprise.”
Still, he misses some of the faces down the hall in the home dressing room.
“One of the boys asked me today who I didn’t like on the team, and I couldn’t think of anyone,” he said. “I’ve got good memories there, but I’m glad to be here now.”