CALGARY AB - FEBRUARY 20: Jay Bouwmeester #4 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic Game at McMahon Stadium on February 20 2011 in Calgary Alberta Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)
The rumor has kicked up again on Jay Bouwmeester (Jbo) as a trade target. This rumor has not gotten much attention from our blog and others like Flames Nation that give a little depth in their analysis on the Flames.
It doesn't fit for a lot of reasons but that has not stopped the rumor mill from churning out stories on the Red Wings, Predators, Flyers and even our friendly rivals from the north, the Oilers, from being interested.
The only aspect that can give the rumor some credibility is IF Jbo himself has asked for a trade. There is a possibility of that as despite what many may think his long running record of not being on a playoff team is probably annoying him.
He has a NTC and the only way a trade happens is if he clears it.
The teams that have been in the mix of rumors are playoff teams and the Flames being the player organization they are may accommodate a trade request from him. The Flames have a reputation of treating their players well and handing out NTCs and NMCs like candy at Halloween.
If Jbo has asked for the trade it just may happen but there is a ton of reasons from the Flames perspective why he will not be traded.
#1 - The Flames are going for the playoffs this season
If they were a team that had acted in even a moderate rebuild manner it would be a different story but the team is clearly structuring itself to go for the playoffs and trading their #1 minutes eating and most competent D man is not a path to meet that playoff goal.
#2 - Jbo is the #1 D man and he is good
Lots of Mike Peca's and other superficial analysis out there hangs up on Jbo's lack of offensive production and soft play. Getting into the numbers though it is well known in Calgary and elsewhere in the hockey world that Jbo is an excellent D man. The evolution of Chris Butler came last year while he was paired with Jbo who is excellent positionally and often covers for his partner giving him confidence.
Say what you want about him but those who know hockey know there is a reason this guy eats some of the highest minutes in the NHL and does it against the best competition out there. Despite not hammering opposing players into the boards.
#3 - Jbo is overpaid
Yes Jbo is a excellent defensive D man but he is paid like an elite two-way D man which he has not illustrated while in Calgary. A muffin of a shot and his natural defensive instincts have not revealed any offensive instincts.
Bottom line - with such a high pay cheque the Flames will not get an ideal return for him.
So why trade him? The year to trade him, if that is the agenda of the Flames, well, the best year to do it would be the final year of his contract, not this off-season.
#4 - The return will not make the Flames better for next season
Again from the Flames perspective there is no way the return for Jbo will make the Flames a better team for next season. A trade could be structured with picks and young prospects and from an objective perspective it could be one that would be attractive to the Flames BUT their stated goal is clearly to make the playoffs next season.
Trading your #1 D man is not the path to that goal because what the Flames get back will not even equal the critical role Jbo currently fills.
#5 Jbo is underrated
Those who know hockey know how good Jbo is, know how important he is but a lot of fans do not appreciate the aspects of Jbo's play. They want to see that Neuf big hitter, they want to see that hard Chara shot etc.
Now it goes without saying that GM's in the NHL will appreciate Jbo and his play and his value.
They will appreciate his iron man streak, his positional play, his consistency and his high minutes consumption against the best in the NHL BUT it doesn't mean the man is going to go to a market where he will be welcomed with open arms.
Does that matter? Probably not that much but it is just another reason why Jbo is best off staying in Calgary for at least one more season. A high contract, a style of play that is not as easy to appreciate and a non-rebuilding Flames will certainly want a high return.
Can't see that happening because the Flames are not currently interested in loading up on picks and prospects at the cost of weakening their team for next year.
Bottom line is as a Flames fan don't fret or give too much credence to the latest wave of Jbo trade rumors. Strictly from a hockey perspective and with the Flames stated goal of next season as going for the playoffs it doesn't make any sense.
The only way to give the rumor credence is if Jbo himself is driving the bus on the trade, if he has made a trade request in the background and even if he has I am not sure how the Flames can drop him to a team at his request for what would be a paltry return.
He is simply too important to the team. Those who have watched him play for years know it.