According to the Winnipeg Sun, Calgary has signed free agent minor-leaguer Jason Jaffray. The Alberta native (surprise!) was unsigned out of Junior where he played for the Kootenay Ice and Swift Current Broncos. The 28 year has cobbled together a professional career by playing for various teams in the ECHL and AHL before landing and sticking with the Manitoba Moose, where he was team leader in terms of scoring and dressing room presence the last 3 seasons. In fact, Jaffray was an occassional call-up for the Canucks the last two years, playing in 33 NHL games and totaling 10 points.
On a related note, clearly one of the unstated organizational goals for the Flames this year is to improve the farm club. Sutter has already signed 3 AHL vets less than a week into free agency, and two of them scored more than 20 goals last season. The impetus to improve the baby Flames is probably multi-faceted:
1.) Provide an environment to effectively incubate the prospects. Growing up on a losing team probably isn't a lot of fun or encouraging for guys taking their first pro steps.
2.) The Flames are light on forward talent at the AHL level and simply needed to fill the ranks in order to ice a complete team.
3.) The Flames have had nothing but failures at the business level when it comes to their AHL edeavours and have had to move the team 3 separate times since Sutter took over and the org bought their own farm franchise. There's probably a number of reasons for those failures and re-locations, but a big one has to be the farm clubs enduring mediocrity and lack of success. I honestly can't remember the last time a Flames affiliate made the play-offs, let alone won a single Calder Cup series. The AHL is a tough sell in many cities - and especially hard when the team loses all the time. Im sure the org would like to plant some roots in Abbotsford and at least have the club break even for a change.
EDIT - 'Nucks Misconduct has some more to say about Jaffray.