A graduate from the Vancouver Giants, Bouma is less about points than grit. In that sense, he’s similar to recent departee Brandon Prust, who worked as the checker and muscle for the dominant London Knights teams back when Crosby was in junior. The similarities between the two are uncanny and a comparison may help to illustrate the type of player Bouma is and may yet be for the Flames.
Games Played: 177
Junior PPG: 0.57
Games Played: 176
Junior PPG: 0.59
Both guys played for relatively strong teams, although the Knights were probably the more potent offensively. Both were drafted in the third round.
Bouma’s PPG gradually improved over his career, whereas Prusts actually peaked in his second season. Prust was also clearly more apt to drop his gloves, although neither guy shies away from the rough stuff (both averaging triple digit PIM over their career). Bouma is slightly larger than Prust at 6’1" and 201 pounds, but isn’t exactly a heavyweight either.
While Prust became known more as puglist in his professional career, he operated as a capable shut-down forward in his OHL days. He played an instrumental role shutting down Sidney Crosby in the 2005 Memorial Cup; an assignment that would have been beyond the average enforcer (even with the age difference in mind).
Brandon Prust (CAL) played a defensive role in the series and after the first period of the opening game against Rimouski, he made sure that Crosby did not get much open ice and made his life extremely difficult. The entire checking line did an effective job, but it was Prust who had the job of sticking close to Crosby and getting under his skin. Prust used his speed to create some offensive chances and was effective along the boards all tournament. As usual he did a good job on the penalty kill.
That’s from a Hockey’s Future piece on the Mem cup from 2005 (just in case you thought I was making things up).
I developed a soft spot for Prust before he was dealt (again) at the deadline. Despite the fact he was frequently a healthy scratch and was deployed mostly to trade punches, he struck me as relatively high functioning fourth liner. He ended the year with very healthy possession stats in New York (+7.79/60) and it wouldn’t surprise me if his scoring chance differential in Calgary was positive as well (something we’ll investiage later this year).
As mentioned, Bouma played a similar role to Prust for the Giants: third line checher, grinder, etc. He was also named the club’s captain in August 2009. A broken hand caused Bouma to miss the final 23 games of the regular season, but he returned and managed to put up 4 goals and 17 points in 16 playoff games (good for third most post-season points on the team).
Bouma hits a lot of the Sutter sweet spots: Alberta born, WHL bred, hard working, good character, wears a letter. He probably isn’t the fighter than Prust is, but likely has a bit more in the way of offensive touch (although that’s not what will get him to the big league). Prust spent three seasons in the AHL before making the leap for good and we can probably expect a similar apprenticeship for Bouma. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him develop in a similar fashion and for a similar role, albeit with more checking and less punching.