Look, Jay Bouwmeester has been the butt of so many jokes and the inspiration of many complaints and I’d like to return him to the Florida Panthers for defectiveness. Calgary Flames did not get what they paid for and if it’s at all possible, I’d like to exchange him for store credit. Or at least a defensemen that doesn’t forget how to play.
Before showing up in Calgary, Bouwmeester was averaging 40 points a season and was well worth his $4,875,000 cap hit. Bouwmeester was a real example of what a offensive defensemen could do for a team while with the Florida Panthers. His best season was 2005-2006 and Bouwmeester saw 46 points (5 goals, 41 assists) and he followed that up with a 42 point season. It wasn’t a fluke season, he consistently rocked in Florida. And when his contract ended, he took his body to the Calgary Flames, but left his talents in Sunrise.
The Flames, expecting to get what they saw in Florida, signed Jay Bouwmeester for 5 years (a pretty average length of contract) for a $6.68 million yearly cap hit. All pretty normal for a defensemen of his caliber. Sadly, no one told Bouwmeester that he needed to keep up his ability to play defense (forget his offensive skills, let’s just focus on the defensive side). Since his arrival in Calgary, Bouwemeester has been a ghost of his former self.
What does this mean for the Calgary Flames? Watching $6.68 million be wasted as other defensemen hit free agency or the trading block. But really how can you blame any one for what the Flames did? Bouwmeester was a sound investment at the time and some where a long the line, he’s forgotten that.
And for the future? Calgary should jump on the chance to trade him. Rumors have been swirling around that teams like the Nashville Predators are interested in trading for Bouwmeester and the Flames should take it. Bouwmeester is an above average defensemen who is clearly in need of a scenery change. If he can’t handle the pressures of a Canadian market, a team like the Predators would be beneficial to his game.
At the end of his career, which should be a ways off seeing as how he’s only 28, Jay Bouwmeester should not be remembered for his time in Calgary. He’s a better player than this and it is unfortunate that the Flames have had to bear the burden of his struggles.
I know I’ve done my fair share of poking fun at Bouwmeester, but I hope he can find a team this off season that can bring out the very best in him, something the Calgary Flames haven’t been able to do these past three seasons.
It would be amazing to see the Calgary Flames walk away the winner of a trade involving Jay Bouwmeester, but I think getting that contract off the books will be the sweetest part of the trade.
(For the record, I doubt the Panthers will revisit Bouwmeester, they lost him once to free agency. And they’re going back to Roberto Luongo, I don’t see them picking up both this off season.)