Calgary Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has had a rough four seasons since the trade in 2009. Signing a five-year, $33.4 million contract, the veteran has now set the NHL record for games played without a postseason appearance and has failed to live up to lofty expectations on what has become a consistently-struggling Flames team.
All of this has led to endless speculation that Bouwmeester could once again be on the move, with Calgary facing salary cap issues and facing pressure once again to finally launch into the rebuild the franchise has desperately been needing.
Eilliotte Friedman of the CBC notes the issues surrounding a possible trade:
The defenceman has a no-trade clause on a deal with one more year at $6.6 million US (cash) and $6.68 million (cap hit). It's a big number, but defencemen are so hard to find. It is believed that there are some good teams interested in him. Here's the question for Bouwmeester: he will be 30 when he hits the market. If he goes to a better club and performs well, how much more does he get? And, is that kind of thinking important to him?
If the Flames do indeed decide to move Bouwmeester, the defenseman has control over who he will accept a trade to and it won't be to just any team. No playoff games in his long career is something that almost certainly weighs on his mind, and it seems as if a couple of competitive teams might be likely destinations.
Pierre LeBrun of the ESPN notes that the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings could both be in the market for a top-four defenseman with both likely not looking trade for a player just for this season. With Bouwmeester under contract for one more season, the Wings and Flyers make sense for a defenseman who has been eating tough minutes in Calgary and still has the potential to be a 40+ point defenseman on the right team.
Making that trade will be easier said than done, with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren stating that the price for any move can't be too high.
"We're probably like a lot of teams, looking around for something that makes sense for now and the long term," Holmgren said. "But we think we have a good group of young players that we prefer not to mess with."