Calgary Flames Free Agents: What Will Lance Bouma’s Contract Cost?


The Calgary Flames have many restricted free agents to deal with this offseason, and the one they have to be the most careful with is Lance Bouma. The rugged winger had a breakout year, but the Flames can’t be fooled by his scoring last season and pay him like he is going to be a solid second line player in the future.

It may surprise you, but Bouma actually ranked fourth in points by Calgary Flames forwards last season. Partially due to disappointing offensive seasons from highly paid wingers David Jones and Mason Raymond, but at the end of the day, Bouma only trailed the top line of Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau among forwards in team scoring.

The 6’1″ and 210 pound winger didn’t exactly light up the scoresheet, scoring 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points in 78 games, but on a low scoring Flames squad it earned him second line ice time. The question now becomes, can Bouma repeat this offensive performance and push for 20 goals in the future?

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Looking at his stats from previous seasons, the answer is: he probably won’t even come close.

Just last year Bouma played the same number of games (78), but scored just five goals and ten assists for 15 points. That was actually a career high for the 25 year old entering this season. Even in the minors Bouma had a hard time contributing offence. In parts of three seasons with the Abbortsford Heat of the American Hockey League, Bouma had just in 16 goals and 11 assists for 27 points in 95 games.

Mar 29, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Calgary Flames left winger Lance Bouma (17) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

When Bouma played in the Western Hockey League with the Vancouver Giants, he played well enough to get drafted by the Flames in the third round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Again, it wasn’t his offensive contribution that made him an NHL prospect.

In his draft year, Bouma scored 12 goals and 35 points in 71 games. His best season in the WHL came in 2009-10 when he scored 14 goals and 43 points in 57 games. Decent offence for sure, but not exactly the jaw dropping numbers of a budding NHL sniper.

Okay, enough of the bad with Bouma, how about some things he does well.

Bouma is a good sized NHL player who has shown a tremendous ability to kill penalties and play a defensive role on this team. He has  partnered with Mikael Backlund to form the team’s top penalty killing unit the past two seasons and his work there is irreplaceable.

Bouma would make an excellent third line winger, but the Flames have to be careful not to overpay for his one year of offence and end up with a Bryan Bickell contract on their hands. Bickell had career highs of 17 goals and 37 points when the Chicago Blackhawks rewarded him for a strong playoff run with a 4 year $16 million contract.

Mar 19, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) makes a save as Calgary Flames left wing Lance Bouma (17) tries to score during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s difficult to find comparables for Bouma’s season. There are plenty of third line wingers who chipped in nearly 20 goals, but Bouma’s offence was more of a pleasant surprise than most.

Antoine Roussel had a similar season with the Dallas Stars a year ago when he suddenly chipped in 14 goals and 29 points, helping the Stars make the postseason. He signed a four year contract with a yearly cap hit of $2 million.

Dwight King is a plucky bottom six winger for the Los Angeles Kings who scored 15 goals and 30 points in 2013-14 and followed it up with a strong postseason. He was valued for his sporadic offence and penalty killing role and signed a three year deal that pays him $1.95 million per year.

Jamie McGinn had a surprisingly strong 2013-14 with the Colorado Avalanche, scoring 19 goals and 38 points. He was a 26 year old RFA at the time and was a penalty killing third line winger who saw some time in the top six when injuries struck. He signed a two year contract with a $2.95 million cap hit.

Judging by these similar contracts signed last year by third line penalty killing wingers on Western Conference playoff teams, my best guess for Bouma’s next contract is a three year deal with a cap hit of $2 million.

It will be an interesting negotiation, with the Flames understanding he is unlikely to repeat his offensive performance in the future, but Bouma realizing this is his one and likely only ever chance to cash in on a big contract. Even if you forget his offence and look at him as a valuable penalty killer who can play the wing on the third line, $6 million spread over three years is a good deal for both sides.

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