Heat goalie Irving inks new contract

The Abbotsford Heat's reigning MVP is back in the fold.

Heat goalie Leland Irving signed a new one-year contract on Wednesday.

Heat goalie Leland Irving signed a new one-year contract on Wednesday.

The Abbotsford Heat’s reigning MVP is back in the fold.

Goalie Leland Irving signed a new contract with the NHL parent Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

The Swan Hills, Alta. native was a restricted free agent, and the Flames maintained his negotiating rights last week by submitting a qualifying offer. The two parties finalized a one-year, two-way contract on Wednesday that would pay Irving $600,000 in the NHL.

But with the Flames locking up Henrik Karlsson last month on a two-year, one-way contract to serve as Miikka Kiprusoff’s backup in Calgary, it’s all but assured Irving will be back in Abbotsford this fall.

He’s coming off a career year with the Heat in 2010-11. The third-year pro led the AHL with eight shutouts, his .913 save percentage was 10th-best among AHL goalies, and he posted a 30-24-2 record.

“Leland Irving made great strides in his development last season and responded very well to the challenges we presented to him coming out of camp,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster said in a press release. “We are pleased with the progress he continues to make, and we look forward to seeing him in camp this fall. He continues to be one of our top prospects, and at a critical position.”