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Flames Add Billins to Blueline, Re-Sign Butler

Chris Butler is the proud owner of a brand new contract with the Flames.
Chris Butler is the proud owner of a brand new contract with the Flames.
USA TODAY Sports

The Flames continued to shore up their blueline today after the addition of Kris Russell, re-signing RFA Chris Butler to a one-year contract worth $1.7M and signing UFA rearguard Chad Billins to a one-year, two-way deal worth $925,000.

Billins played for the AHL's Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins last season, where he had 10 goals and 37 points in 76 games with the Detroit Red Wings' AHL affiliate. The Michigan native appeared to be a shoe-in to sign with the Wings, but somehow the Flames managed to persuade him to move across the border.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Want to thank <a href="https://twitter.com/griffinshockey">@griffinshockey</a> for an incredible season! But now looking forward to the opportunity with the Flames organization!! <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23blessed&amp;src=hash">#blessed</a></p>&mdash; Chad Billins (@ChadBillins4) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChadBillins4/statuses/353254518202441728">July 5, 2013</a></blockquote>

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The Flames' blueline is pretty crowded and bottom-heavy at the moment, but if Billins performs well at camp, the undrafted 23-year-old rearguard could find himself contesting for a spot on the roster.

Jay Feaster also provided an update on how negotiations are going with Flames' RFAs TJ Brodie and Mikael Backlund this afternoon. He said the club has made offers to both players and is waiting for a response.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Flames have made offers to TJ Brodie and Mikael Backlund. Waiting for Brodie to respond. Second offer to Backlund. ARB still a possibility.</p>&mdash; Roger Millions (@RogMillions) <a href="https://twitter.com/RogMillions/statuses/353259117978206210">July 5, 2013</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Feaster says <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Flames&amp;src=hash">#Flames</a> have made an offer to TJ Brodie and continue negotiating with Backlund.</p>&mdash; Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) <a href="https://twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg/statuses/353259064282714112">July 5, 2013</a></blockquote>

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I don't think Brodie is eligible for salary arbitration, having signed his first pro deal with the Flames three years ago at age 20 and having played only three pro seasons, and hopefully it can be avoided in Backlund's case. The Flames have the money to offer both players what I assume would be a satisfactory dollar figure, so perhaps term could be a sticking point.