Jay Bouwmeester’s Comparables



Jay Bouwmeester is a 28-year-old defenseman playing his 9th full NHL season, and whose basic career statistics are currently summarized like this.

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Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
2010-11   82  4  20  24   1  121   6.4
2009-10   82  3  26  29   1  130   6.5
Previous 471 53 150 203  18  922  38.7

For the past two seasons we’ve used a system named after Vancouver legend Harold Snepsts to search NHL’s history for player’s similar to Calgary Flames like Jay Bouwmeester, and using their future performance to help set our expectations as objectively as possible.

There is a new version of the system coming out this off-season, and here’s a sneak peek at a dozen of the players that bubbled up as being comparable to Calgary’s top blue liner, what ultimately happened to each one, and what we can therefore conclude about Bouwmeester’s likely fate.

Doug Crossman

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Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
1988-89   74 10  15  25   2  137   0.5
1987-88   76  9  29  38   6  153   6.9
Previous 475 51 199 250  25  804  45.9

Key Differences: Doug Crossman was a 6th round choice, and rarely found himself as the top-line, go-to defenseman (that happens when you’re on the same team as Mark Howe). 

What Happened: Crossman was traded to the New York Islanders – one of the seven trades in which he was involved in a five-year period, and had a monster season, scoring a career-high 59 points.  He played four more seasons, scoring 92 points in 209 games.

Phil Russell

Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
1981-82   71  4  25  29   0  114   6.9
1980-81   80  6  23  29   1  109   6.1
Previous 597 59 213 272  13 1189  83.8

Key Differences: Phil Russell had a slightly longer and better career to this point than Bouwmeester, and played a far grittier and harder-hitting style.

What Happened: Russell scored a career-high 13 goals and added 18 assists for the Calgary Flames, then enjoyed three more seasons with 63 points in 190 games, including a 3rd All-Star appearance in 1985.

Rick Lanz

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Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
1987-88   75  6  22  28   3  145  -1.1
1986-87   61  3  25  28   2  130   2.3
Previous 400 55 165 220  36  960  46.1

Key Differences: Rick Lanz was more of a power play specialist than Bouwmeester, but was generally lacking defensively.

What Happened: Lanz’ career was effectively over when his scoring dropped, he managed just 10 points in 33 games the rest of the way.

Paul Mara

Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
2007-08   61  1  16  17   0   80   5.1
2006-07   78  5  18  23   1  100   3.5
Previous 424 52 126 178  19  661  35.6

Key Differences: Mara takes slightly fewer shots, and perhaps couldn’t move the puck as well as Bouwmeester.

What Happened: Mara managed one more decent season: 21 points in 76 games for the Rangers on the depth pairings, before fading away completely with just 14 points in 95 games over the next two seasons.

Greg Smith

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Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
1984-85   73  2  18  20   0   54   0.5
1983-84   76  3  20  23   0   63   6.1
Previous 506 45 157 202  11  906  40.2

Key Differences: Greg Smith was hardly a blue chipper – a 4th round pick who only fought his way into the NHL by playing on awful teams.  Though not as rough as Russell, he played a grittier style than Bouwmeester too.

What Happened: Smith scored 27 points in 76 games, then just 16 points in 99 games over the next two years.

Dan Hamhuis

Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
2010-11   64  6  17  23   2  109   9.2
2009-10   78  5  19  24   0  115   7.2
Previous 405 27 110 137   8  596  36.2

Key Differences: Dan Hamhuis isn’t used on the power play, and his shots-per-game and scoring consequently doesn’t match Bouwmeester’s in his prime.

What Happened: Hamhuis has 26 points in 58 games this season – a slight bit better than Bouwmeester.

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Jean Potvin

Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
1978-79   64  5  16  21   2   89   4.1
1977-78   74  4  24  28   0  121   6.9
Previous 425 50 168 218  21  648  48.4

Key Differences: The much smaller Jean Potvin took far fewer shots, but in his prime managed a monster 72-point season for the New York Islanders in 1975-76.

What Happened: Potvin scored 21 points in 64 games before heading back to Long Island, where he scored 20 points in his 50 remaining games spread out over two seasons.

Charlie Huddy

Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
1986-87   58  4  15  19   0   75   4.2
1985-86   76  6  35  41   1  151   3.6
Previous 284 41 131 172  14  565  34.7

Key Differences: Charlie Huddy got a slightly later start to his career, but played on an incredible team, once led the league in plus/minus, and had won 3 Stanley Cups by this point.

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What Happened: Huddy played nine more seasons, and won 2 more Stanley Cups.  He scored back-to-back 40+ point seasons, and then settled down into a consistent 23-27 point scorer for four more.

Derian Hatcher

Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
2001-02   80  4  21  25   1  111   9.9
2000-01   80  2  21  23   1   97   7.7
Previous 585 57 159 216  12  840  75.7

Key Differences: Almost as physical as Russell, according to GVT Derian Hatcher had made almost twice the over-all contributions as Bouwmeester by this stage of his career.

What Happened: Hatcher played five more seasons, including his fifth 30-point campaign in 2002-03 with the Dallas Stars.  He scored 37 points in 218 games after that, as a top-four defenseman.

Dmitry Yushkevich

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Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
2000-01   81  5  19  24   1  110   5.6
1999-00   77  3  24  27   2  103   5.3
Previous 490 26 115 141   9  753  22.8

Key Differences: Dmitry Yushkevich was a 6th round pick and much shorter than Bouwmeester.  More importantly he didn’t play much on the power play, and therefore had much lighter scoring, but unlike Hamhuis, didn’t make up for this shortfall with superior (or even equivalent) defensive abilities.

What Happened: Yushkevich played two more seasons, scoring 33 points in 138 games.

Ron Hainsey

Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
2010-11   82  3  16  19   0   83   6.0
2009-10   80  5  21  26   0  121   5.2
Previous 326 26  98 124  20  549  25.4

Key Differences: Despite ample power-play opportunities in his earlier years, Hainsey wasn’t quite the same scorer as Bouwmeester, and was a step behind defensively too.

What Happened: Hainsey has 9 points in 36 games as a top-four blueliner for the Winnipeg Jets this season

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Rick Green

Season    GP  G  A  PTS PPG Shots  GVT
1982-83   66  2  24  26   1   71   5.9
1981-82   65  3  25  28   1   91   4.4
Previous 312 28 102 130   9  531  11.0

Key Differences: A 1st-overall selection in 1976, Rick Green was more of a defensive-minded player than Bouwmeester, especially by this stage of his career – he only twice topped 30 points in a season.

What Happened: Green played seven more seasons, though never topping 20 points, and won a Stanley Cup as one of Montreal’s top shut-down guys in 1985-86.

The Verdict

Twelve players, all with similar seasons and histories to Jay Bouwmeester.  Those who lacked a strong defensive game were essentially done, like Yushkevich, Potvin, Smith, Mara, Lanz and (probably) Hainsey.  Those with strong defensive games enjoyed between three to seven more seasons, like Russell, Hatcher, Green and (probably) Hamhuis.  Those who managed to get their scoring back (if only temporarily) also managed to keep going for four to nine more seasons, like Crossman and Huddy.

Jay Bouwmeester remains on contract for two more seasons, with a cap hit of $6.68 million per season – the fifth highest among defensemen (Hainsey and Hamuis are both $4.5 million).  Based on these comparables, it’s unlikely that he’ll ever top 30 points a season in this contract, and that he’ll be relying on his defensive abilities to keep his career going much longer when it’s done.

  • mayhemsince1977

    Yikes that’s kinda depressing. I don’t mind that J-Bo’s comparables are as such, but he’s getting paid way to much. His performance should be like Denis Potvin, and Paul Coffey, not Jean Potvin and Charlie Huddy. I’m,not saying that these guys weren’t valuable (quite the contrary), but J-Bo eats up almost 10% of the teams salary.

    Isn’t this how normal companies go bankrupt?

    • Mitch2

      IT’s true that he is getting paid way too much. At the same time he is extremely valuable to this team. (not because of his skill but more due to the lack of top end skill on the team)

  • Yes, the only real issue with Bouwmeester is that he was overpaid from the get-go.

    Even if he had somehow managed his best-case potential, he would have just barely earned that big contract.

    Alternate history: Calgary doesn’t pursue Bouwmeester, keeping the 3rd rounder and freeing up the dollars to keep Aucoin, Leopold and Bertuzzi – with about $1.2 million to spare.

    Options for the $1.2 million include back-up goalies like Conklin/Budaj/Garon/Clemmensen/Johnson/LaBarbera, reserve defensemen like Koistinen/Alberts and depth forwards like Kopecky/Laperriere/Reasoner/Comrie/Marchant/Prospal/Fiddler/R.Niedermayer (I’d take the back-up goalie).

    So it was
    Jay Bouwmeester
    Adrian Aucoin, Jordan Leopold, Todd Bertuzzi, depth player, 3rd round pick.

  • It’s tough to say what would have happened because I’m sure Dutter would have done something just as stupid if he didn’t get Boumeester. At least Dutter didn’t sign 10 year contracts. I believe those are awful and do not help your team. Teams need to be adapting all the time.

  • I’ve never been kind to Sutter, but I think the Bouwmeester add stands as one of his most defensible moves. There’s no question JayBo was the most sought after free agent that off-season wand was going to get paid by someone. He was also coming off a couple of 15-goal seasons in FLA, who was a much worse outfit than the Flames at the time.

    He turned out to be much less of an impact in terms of offense and therefore overpaid, but he has nevertheless become the Flames backbone on the back-end and by it’s best overall defender when taking into account the amount of time he plays against the big guns.

  • PrairieStew

    Keeping Leopold and probably not making that abysmal Phaneuf trade is probably the full alternate history. Not that keeping Phaneuf is what I would have preferred, just not getting fleeced so badly.

  • NateBaldwin

    I think that percentage of total defensive ice time (and qualcomp) should be considered when deciding if a contract is good or not. I think this year he is worth every penny when you consider how hard the team has leaned on him. Granted I wasn’t as sold on him at the start of his contract, but if he can maintain this level of play over the remainder of his contract than I’m more than happy with it.

  • everton fc

    I think that most of us would agree that JBo is a top notch defender in the NHL. He is being partnered a marginal NHL defender in Butler most of this season, and no doubt have to cover his arse a lot during games.

    I also think that JBo is playing under the wrong system for his skill set to really ignite. He should probably be a 10-15 goal and 40-50 pts d-man. If Ian White can be a plus 27 with 28 points with Detroit, I’m sure JBo’s stats would go through the roof as well. Sure he’s overpaid by 2 to 3 million to be a defensive d-man, but that’s what the coach wants him to be so what’s he going to do? When the Flames acquired and signed JBo, all the media type in Calgary were predicting that he would win the Norris before the season started!

    • Captain Ron

      I am very much in agreement with this. What you have to say is exactly how I feel about JBO. His personal stats would be A LOT BETTER if he played on a team such as Detroit or Vancouver. Those teams have a group of forwards who play in the other teams end effectively a lot more often. We know this for a fact since we saw White play here and what the results were. If Lidstrom was on our D he would have either retired, demamded a trade or quit hockey by now and he would probably not have been a plus player here this season either.

      As far as JBO’s lack of scoring since he arrived I have no doubt it has at least something to do with the game the coaching staff is asking the team to play. I say this because of players who have left here and have greater success elsewhere, or who come here as offensive talents and then struggle to score here. It’s too much of a co-incidence that Sutter coached teams are having a hard time scoring. It has to have something to do with how they are playing.

      • Captain Ron

        Hey Capt. You & Tears of Red have nailed JBO bang on. He’s too valuable to trade because his return has a salary dump component to it because of the team & how he has to play. If we rebuild this summer, he really needs to stay because his salary wont conflict with the ELC’s of the new future. There will be lots of cap space.

        You can compare JBO to other Dmen and make opinions but no one has ever commented on the very fact that our elite forwards dont cycle, control possession & create chances like elite forwards should. They are also paid to do their jobs. Right now, Calgary is a burial ground for defenseman because they have to play so much in our end. It’s also a goalie pithole too, if Karlsson or Leiland dont play all world like Kipper has elevated his game to this year, they just dont the goal support & possession support to get any wins. Sorry, but this is intellectual honesty Jay should be looking at.

  • Captain Ron

    Another random boring Vollman article. Stats add a bit of colour but cannot replace good hockey sense and ignore important subjective elements like heart and leadership. Put that in your pocket protector!

  • Captain Ron

    Bowmeisster is killing the team….no hits…no runs…many errors.
    The ladies National team could probably use him, but he may not make the team.
    Smooth yes…effective no.
    Just about always leads team with give aways and minus total.
    He is not tradable because of the size of his contract and hopefully our GM will not be as poor a judge of talent as our last in renewing his contract in two years.
    Lowest level of grit and intensity I’ve ever seen.