Jay Bouwmeester: Should Flames keep or move him?

Wednesday, 03.20.2013 / 7:00 PM
Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Jay Bouwmeester arrived to the Calgary Flames as the No. 1 defenseman the team needed to complement Dion Phaneuf and put them on the path to the Stanley Cup.

Though Bouwmeester has been a solid player, he's never lived up to the lofty expectations that came with the five-year contract that lured him to Calgary, and the Flames have yet to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs with him under contract.

Bouwmeester has been a solid, reliable performer for the Flames, but with Calgary on a path toward missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season, is it time for the team and player to part?

NHL.com takes examines the pros and cons to the Flames making Bouwmeester available to move at the April 3, 2013 NHL Trade Deadline:

JAY BOUWMEESTER

Position: Defenseman

Age: 29

Statistics: 27 games, 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points, minus-3 rating

Salary status: After this season Bouwmeester will have one year left on his contract, with a $6.68 million salary cap hit.

Keep him: Bouwmeester never is going to go end-to-end and score pretty goals, but what he has become now in his 10th NHL season is a reliable, minute-munching defenseman. Bouwmeester hasn't missed a game in eight seasons; he's played at least 25 minutes per game in seven of those seasons, and is at 24:56 this season. On a team that hasn't given up hopes of returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009, having a true No. 1 blueliner is vital. If the Flames are going to keep forward Jarome Iginla and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, it makes little sense to move Bouwmeester.

Move him: In his first three seasons in Calgary, the Flames finished 10th in the Western Conference twice and ninth last season. They're 14th this season, and in a Flames uniform, Bouwmeester is a minus-30. Bouwmeester also never has played in the postseason in his 10 NHL seasons. That's not to say, however, that he couldn't help a team get there. In the right situation, Bouwmeester's skating, durability and smarts could help a team on the outside get in, or he could be a strong second-pairing player on a team looking to solidify its postseason hopes -- one that wouldn't need him to play 25 minutes per game. The return might not be great because of the big value of his contract, but a big benefit to the Flames in moving Bouwmeester would be extra salary-cap space to use in the summer.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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