If you like the money but not the length of Alex Tanguay's newly minted contract with the Calgary Flames, the left-winger has some positive thinking for you to digest.

The 31-year-old who agreed to a five-year, US$17.5-million deal Saturday morning doesn't see this as the twilight of his NHL career. He views it as the potential peak.

After posting the lowest totals of any of his 11 seasons in the 2009-10 campaign with the Tampa Bay Lightning, he rebounded with a respectable 22-goal, 69-point performance with the Flames last year.

"I think it was an average year stats-wise," he said. "I think I played really good hockey. I still got better.

"I think I'm hitting my prime right now. All the way until this contract ends, I feel that those are going to be my best hockey years. I'm somewhere mentally that I wasn't before. I've got experience, I've got the knowledge to do it. My body feels good.

"I think that I'm able to go one more step. That's really up to me to prove."

On the same day the Flames lost their most consistent defenceman of the last decade in trading Robyn Regehr to the Buffalo Sabres, the money they freed up allowed them to bring back their most dynamic setup man.

The $3.5-million salary cap hit is great value for a 70-point player. And if you believe Tanguay is in fact capable of more, it's a serious steal.

He has a modified no-trade clause which allows him to select 10 teams to which he agrees to be traded. The list has to be submitted by Feb. 1 this season, and July 1 for the following years of the deal.

But Tanguay has every intention of sticking around for a while and hopes the Flames want the same.