Swiss native Jonas Hiller was talking with the Ducks in 2007. One extremely busy general manager named Brian Burke closed the deal to sign the goalie for Anaheim, which would win the Stanley Cup that spring.
"I still remember seven years ago he flew down from Ottawa during the Stanley Cup Final,” Hiller said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "It’ll be nice to see him again. I talked to Burkie a couple of hours ago once everything was done.”
Burke is now the president of hockey operations with the Calgary Flames. The Flames signed Hiller to a two-year deal worth $9 million on a hectic opening day of free agency and Hiller indicated it was "an easy decision."
Hiller is leaving his only NHL team, having been with the Ducks since the 2007-08 season. He won 162 games in Anaheim, which included 21 shutouts.
"It’s definitely going to be a little change from California," Hiler said. "I’m sure it’s going to make me feel more like Switzerland. It’s probably going to take some time to adjust, especially off the ice. At the same time, it’s probably better to be able to start a new chapter.
"It’s something new, coming a city where people are really about hockey, not like California where they just care … it’s a thing to go to at the moment."
In Calgary, he could get a shot at the starting job. With the Ducks, it has been clear for some time he would be the odd man out. The Ducks parted ways with him last month, almost a foregone conclusion after they turned to rookies Frederik Andersen and John Gibson in the playoffs.
Hiller felt a shift after the Olympic break.
"I felt like I was playing really well. I felt like I had a really good season, a great season to that point," he said. "I just felt like (Coach) Bruce (Boudreau) really didn’t have trust in me and started playing Freddie in the important games.
"It was a weird situation. Then not getting to start in the playoffs and all that, it wasn’t easy. But at the same time, you look at the team and you want the team to have success. I felt I was able to help the team when I was needed.
"At the same time, you don’t really want to go back to that situation. For that, I’m definitely excited and happy to have a new start somewhere else."