CALGARY, AB --
Just three days into the Calgary Flames development camp, gritty winger Lance Bouma
has picked up a souvenir that will likely last a lifetime.
Sporting several stitches above his lip thanks to a cut that will definitely leave a scar, the 21-year old could only chuckle about the cause.
"During practice I took a puck in the face during one of the drills so I had to get a couple of stitches after practice.
"I don't think it happens to many guys, getting stitches in development camp. Oh well. That's the way it goes."
Other than that unfortunate mishap, Bouma has thrived at camp. His play progressed mightily last season, earning him 16 games with the Flames, and he's been a standout among his fellow prospects this week.
"It's been good so far. The first day is obviously really tough, doing the fitness testing and things like that, then coming into practice yesterday and doing a couple skates ... it's long days but I think it's gone well so far."
During two stints in Calgary, Bouma impressed many by coming in and playing his style of game. He didn't try to outdo himself, played well within the Flames system and never gave less than 100% in every shift.
Late in the season, head coach Brent Sutter had nothing but praise for the young forward.
"He's an up-and-down guy who is going to compete extremely hard," he said. "What I like about him is that he's a very intelligent player. He understands the game. He's been a well-coached player for a young guy.
"The other thing is that he can skate, he can move. He's not afraid to get into traffic areas."
Bouma was also pleased with his time spent with the club.
"Last year was a really good year for me. It was exciting to be able to get a chance to play in the NHL. It's a dream come true to be able to do that. The guys were really good to me up there and I thought I did well when I was up there."
Bouma has been lauded by coaches throughout his career for the heart and grit he brings to his teams. Those traits were the main reason behind his past call-ups but the Provost, AB native knows there are areas of his game he needs to work on if he wants to earn a permanent place in the lineup.
"The things I need to improve on for next year is just working on my hands I think. Working on my skills a little more and if I do that, I should have a good chance."Follow Torie Peterson on Twitter | @ToriePeterson