|Jay Bouwmeester had 5 goals, 29 assists for Calgary last season. (Getty Images)|
When the Nashville Predators matched the offer sheet signed by Shea Weber with the Philadelphia Flyers, it created a big question mark in Philly. It wanted to fill its hole on defense but now the options are very limited.
Couple that with the Red Wings missing on Ryan Suter a few weeks ago and Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun pointed out that things couldn't be set up much better for the Flames if they wanted to trade defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who has been at the center of trade rumors for a few weeks now.
Feaster is not boxed into a corner, therefore he and the Flames should take advantage of dealing from a position of strength, even if means not making any trade at all.
They are well within their rights to ask for a top-dollar price from any team interested in Bouweester.
The question that I sit here continuing to ask myself is why would the Flames not trade Bouwmeester this summer, or at least try to? I struggle to come up with answers beyond "well, because they're the Flames." (Sorry Calgary, but I'm losing faith.)
Let's start with the value aspect. Is Jay Bouwmeester a good value for Calgary? Well he makes just shy of $7 million per season, a contract he was given in anticipation of being not only a minutes eater but a point producer; a true two-way defenseman.
Well in three years with Calgary he hasn't reached the total of number of goals that he scored in Florida ... in his last season in Florida, that is. He still has a lot of value as he is a good and reliable defenseman who logs a ton of minutes and never misses games but the contract still seems a bit much. Sounds like a good trade target, doesn't he?
Let's move on to how he factors into the future. He is going to be 29 next season, at the back end of his supposed prime. Sure, there is still potentially a long way to go in his career but presumably we've seen the very best for Bouwmeester in his career.
Then again, that's assuming the Flames aren't planning for that future to be now. GM Jay Feaster said last season the team was going for it only to fall short again. They have a few veterans, a high payroll and just not a ton of youth knocking on the door to play. I'm of the opinion it would be prudent to begin trying to change focus on the future and create more opportunity for their young players but I guess that's just not in the cards. If it were, though, then there's no reason to keep JayBo when you can flip him for some of that future potential.
Now let's look at the market. Yup, it's still thin on defensemen. Detroit and Philadelphia are chief among the teams that are pretty clearly searching for defensemen, particularly top-pairing players. That's a safe deduction to make based on their heavy pursuits of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber respectively.
Thanks to a quick study of Econonmics 101 we know that the best time to sell is when there is big demand but little supply. To turn the snark down just a touch, that means that the Flames could get a pretty strong return if they were to trade Bouwmeester because they have some power. Imagine Calgary getting an excellent trade return for Bouwmeester even after the critics have increased in recent years because of the drop in offensive production.
The payroll for the Flames? Yup, that could use some help too. As mentioned Bouwmeester is making nearly $7 million per season right now against the cap and Calgary, despite it's status as a non-contender, has the fourth highest payroll in the league according to CapGeek.com. Oh, and the Flames have such a logjam of NHL contracts on the blue line that they are going to have to stash contracts in the AHL. Trading Bouwmeester could help with that little issue, too.
So as you can see, there are so many reason why the Flames should try and trade Bouwmeester now. The biggest hurdle (besides Feaster deciding he doesn't want to)? Bouwmeester has a no-trade clause and considering how he worked his way back to Alberta on his way out of Florida, he might not be particularly interested in changing locales. For a guy who is about to hit 30 and has never been in a playoff game you might think the allure of playing in Detroit or Philadelphia would be strong, but some things matter more than others.