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2014-15 report cards: Lance Bouma's season

Day nine. Time to grade everyone's favourite Top Six Forward Lance Bouma.

not gonna lie - picking the picture was a lot of fun for me.
not gonna lie - picking the picture was a lot of fun for me.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Lance Bouma earned himself a new nickname here this season for his prevalence on the Flames second line - Top Six Forward Lance Bouma. He entered the season known for being more of a grinder on the fourth line than for his top tier scoring touch, but injuries abound forced him into a new role, playing beside Mikael Backlund and David Jones.

Arguably playing above his skill set, he found success in the form of a career best 16 goals. This was thanks in part to great linemates, but also to a new career high 15.4% shooting percentage.

He didn't leave his gritty ways behind. Bouma logged 264 hits, putting him seventh in the league and first among the Flames, and 82 blocked shots for first among Flames forwards. He was the most heavily used skater on the PK, with a significant portion of those blocks coming shorthanded.

To read more about Lance Bouma, check out Mike's two-part analysis, which starts with a discussion of the impact of Backlund and further delves into his 2014-15 season. Here's what M&G thinks:

arii (B-):

I like Lance Bouma, but we have to face facts: the dude is a fourth liner. He is not a second liner. He does not belong in the top six, nor does he belong on Mikael Backlund’s wing. He belongs amongst the lower end roster players, banging and crashing and blocking shots and occasionally potting goals.

Bouma had the best year of his career, dating all the way back to junior. He was asked to play in a role above his strengths as a player, and he succeeded well enough. But it’s not where he belongs, and we shouldn’t expect him to repeat his performance, whether he gets to play with Backlund again or not (and he really, really shouldn’t).

Mike FAIL (B):

This was the second most difficult grade I decided on. On one hand, you have a guy who had a career year and scored 16 goals. On the other, you can literally thank Mikael Backlund for almost all of them. At the heart of it is a guy who is the representation of intangibles and blocking shots. He did produce higher and in the top end of the team in regards to scoring chances (a boost which came with Backlund) and it did impact the team for the better. However, Bouma was a horrendous possession player with heavy defensive zone starts, though adjusting for zone starts still shows he was a below-average possession forward.

HockeyGoalieEh (C+):

Bouma had himself a career year last year on the back of a high shooting percentage and that’s something that should be lauded. He still had more than a few shortcomings though. His possession play ranked somewhere between poor and flat out bad. Additionally, he should be a fourth liner, but he isn’t all that valuable on special teams. He was one of the Flames' worst penalty killers last year as well.

saltysyd (B):

Bouma is a classic grinder-type player. He’s lauded more for his defensive play than his offensive, and he’s a guy made up of all of those great intangibles - heart, character, etc. Number one on the Flames in hits this season and leader of the forwards in blocked shots, it wasn’t uncommon to see him crawl off the ice only to get right back on the next shift. So when he went down in the Arizona game, it was pretty unbelievable that the unbreakable man finally broke. All in the while, he put up a career high 16 goals. Granted, his shooting percentage was off the charts, increasing from 6.1% last season to 15.4%, and he got the pleasure of playing with Mikael Backlund, who really supported Bouma and made him a better player this season. In reality, he’s not a top six forward, but more of a bottom sixer who has the ability to step into the top six should injuries force it. He works well as a shutdown line player, and - as long as the contract isn’t outrageously inflated because of his goal total - it’s always nice to keep these types around. Let's be honest - I'd like to keep him around anyway. #sorrynotsorry

ctibs (B):

I find Bouma very hard to judge. On one hand, he is a very solid defender who isn’t prone to defensive mental lapses. He’s good on the shutdown line with Backlund and Jones. But outside of the defensive zone, he can’t do much without the other two holding his hands the entire way; not good for a forward. His offensive explosion this year was impressive, but mostly because of Mikael Backlund’s being one of the best 5v5 players on the Flames. I’d like to see him re-signed on the contingency that the contract is reasonable and not based on his aberration of a season. He’s not going to get any better than this, and I hope the front office staff knows this.

LiamPMcCausland (C):

The epitome of #neverquit. He is not a top six guy, no matter how long Bob Hartley plays him there, but he does have a role to play, and he’s pretty good at it. I’d have no issue if he was re-signed.

cofstats (B):

Lance Bouma had a career year, thanks in large part to playing on a line with Mikael Backlund and sporting a 16% shooting percentage. While it’s easy to dismiss such a high shooting percentage as ‘luck’, the contribution stats I track offer a deeper explanation. Adjusted for ice time, Bouma was one of the top scoring chance contributors, behind only Hudler, Monahan, and Gaudreau.

The bad: Even by the Flames’ standards he was a poor possession player, though he did see the majority of his starts in the defensive zone.

Again, most of us are in agreement on this one - Lance Bouma is not a top six forward, but he does deserve some credit for his career offensive season, so he earns a B-.

Hopefully Brad Treliving doesn't put too much weight onto this season's production when discussing a new contract. If the GM gets it right, it's worth keeping Bouma around for a while longer - in a bottom six, shutdown-type capacity.

Plus, who wouldn't miss those goal celebrations?