SAN JOSE — TJ Galiardi has fond memories about his time with the Sharks, but couldn't be happier now that he's with his howntown Calgary Flames.
The 25-year-old Galiardi, dealt by San Jose to Calgary for the Flames' fourth round pick in the 2015 draft, has fit in well with his new team. He enters Saturday's game against the Sharks with one goal and two assists in six games, and Flames coach Bob Hartley likes Galiardi's energy, versatility and work ethic.
"It's been amazing, actually been better than I thought it would be," Galiardi said Saturday. "It's nice to be in a place you're very familiar with and see people you know every day. I'm really happy with it and the start we've had has been what we wanted."
Galiardi had 14 points in 36 games with the Sharks last season, and saw his profile with the team increase as time went on.
When he joined the team in Feb. 2012 in a deal with Colorado, he wasn't sure what his role was or where he fit in. By the end of last season, though, he was on San Jose's top line with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, as the Sharks advanced to the Western Conference semifinals.
But after the Sharks acquired Tyler Kennedy from Pittsburgh, and with Tomas Hertl emerging as the organization's top prospect, there was not going to be much room for Galiardi in San Jose's lineup, either from a financial or personnel standpoint.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson then told Galiardi which NHL teams were interested in his services. When Galiardi was told Calgary was one of those teams, he jumped at the chance to go back home.
"After talking with Doug Wilson, we decided it was best for both parties for me to move on," Galiardi said. "He was great and I can't thank him enough for giving me the opportunity to pick where I wanted to go. I'll always be grateful for that."
The Flames have been one of the bigger surprises in the NHL so far this season. Calgary is 3-1-2 entering Saturday's game, sixth in the Pacific Division and five points back of the first place Sharks.
"He plays a nice, fast, energized game, and he'll do a really good job for that team," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We were very happy with him in the second half of the year, he got a great opportunity to play.
"He's a good penalty killer. In their locker room, they have a younger team, he's probably more of a veteran-type guy, so he'll have even more of an impact."
"Everyone thought we'd be 0-6 right now," Galiardi said, "but we're trying to prove people wrong."