The Flames Fifteen: #8 – Lance Bouma


Back when Lance Bouma finished his junior career, I compared him to former Flame Brandon Prust.

The pair had an eerily similar junior path. Both guys were known more for their grit and defensive acumen than scoring. In fact, their point-per-game and PIM rates were similar, although Bouma scored a bit more and Prust was more willing to drop the gloves.

A few years out and I think the comparison still holds. Like Prust, Bouma has seen some time with the parent club a few seasons into his pro career despite scoring at a nominal rate in the AHL. Perhaps the main difference between the two is Bouma won’t be expected to fill a pugilist role, whereas Prust boasted 200+ PIM seasons in the Flames farm system and was groomed as fighter as much as anything else. He has settled into more of a "checker who is willing to drop the gloves" kind of thing in New York, but Bouma (and his 50PIMs) will likely be more a straight-up grinder in the big league. 

With 26 points in 92 career AHL games, it’s clear Bouma is never going to win any scoring titles. His NHL ceiling tops out at, say, Prust or Travis Moen – as a guy who can muck along the boards penalty kill and suppress other players scoring to some degree. 

Player Kent Justin WI Scott VF Arik (not counted)
Lance Bouma 10 9 5 14 4 12

[HockeyDB] [EliteProspects] [Hockey’s Future]

 *Reminder – The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he’s already a bona fide NHLer).

Bouma made our top-10 list despite limited upside for a couple of reasons:

1.) He is a lot closer to NHL-ready than many of other the kid. That has something to do with his expected role and limitd expectations, but some weight has to be given to the fact he’s a step or two away from being an everyday NHLer.

2.) VF ranked him fourth (!). I’m sure he will defend that decision in the comments.

Unlike many of the other hopefuls on this list, Bouma has spent some time with the Flames so we have some NHL results we can look over. In 27 games with Calgary last year, Bouma scored one goal and three points, averaging about 10 minutes of ice time per night.

Brent Sutter’s usage hinted at Bouma’s future in the league. The kid didn’t see many offensive zone draws (43.5% zone start) and garnered just over 13 minutes of PK ice time. At times, it was clear Bouma is still learning the ropes, although he also flashed the strong skating and tenacity that suggests he will be a capable bottom-six/checking forward in the league some day.

His possession rate says there is still some work to be done, however. Although he faced mostly other fourth liners, Bouma ended up well under water in terms of driving the play forward (-13.53 corsi/60). He will likley continue his apprenticeship this year at both the AHL and NHL levels before, like Prust, ultimately making the leap for good around the age of 24 or so. 

The List 

Player   Kent   Justin   WI   Scott   VF   Arik (NC)   Final Rank
Lance Bouma   10   9   5   14   4   12   8
Markus Granlund   7   6   0   10   13   8   9
Bill Arnold   11   11   0   11   8   5   10
Greg Nemisz   9   13   0   5   15   15   11
Paul Byron   12   10   0   12   11   9   12
John Ramage   14   12   0   0   12   10   13
Chris Breen   0   15   0   13   0   14   14
Tyler Wotherspoon   0   14   0   0   10   0   15 

  • MC Hockey

    When I was at the U of A I would attend the Flames vs Oilers rookie games at Clare Drake. In those games, Brandon Prust stood out more than anybody. He was flying all over the ice, hitting everything that moved. He was a blast to watch.

    I see similar traits in Bouma. I dont care if he doesnt score. If he can learn the possession game he will be a very good bottom 6’er. Look at the teams that have won cups recently. All not only had grit, but effective grit (Troy Brouwer comes to mind)

  • I ranked Bouma 14th not because I don’t like him, I do… but because of exactly what Kent mentions in this post – he tops out as a Prust/Moen and I think at this point we all have higher hopes for many other Flames prospects.

    Having said that, he’s a decent 4th liner on a crappy team and I’m sure he’ll become a really strong 4th liner some day, but nothing more… and I don’t quite see him getting to the Prust/Moen level, personally.

  • Graham

    Bouma projects to be a decent 4th liner, you have to have these kind of guys in the system.
    Cheap, effective guys that can eat up some minutes and don’t kill you.

    Not sure what it says about about prospects, when Bouma ranks 8th…. Either Bouma is really good, or…

  • Parallex

    4th is kinda out there… can I guess that VF values floor (as opposed to ceiling) more highly then most?

    I think Bouma strikes me as more of a Nystrom type player. I dunno, he strikes me as a good bet (better then most) to be a consistent NHL’er but not a very impactful one. He strikes me as a low “bust” risk.

    I think he’s really a good example of how poor Darryl Sutter’s drafting was… burning a pick (any pick) in order to get a fourth line checker (and he was never projected to be anything but a fourth line checker) is such a bad move considering that they are essentually replacement level players and thus available on the free agent market at a dollar rate near the amount Bouma got on his ELC.

    Not that I don’t like the kid, I’m actually a fan going back to his Vancouver Giant days, but I’d rather burn draft picks on high upside types when the alternative is easily acquirable via other means.

    • Hilariously, Bouma was picked the same year as Nemisz, except in the third round. Chosen four picks after Bouma was Nemisz’s teammate Adam Henrique…who is now a regular skater for the cup finalists.


  • Parallex

    Yeah… kind of strange actually I mean you would have to figure that the same folk who saw Nemisz would have seen Henrique on that Spitfires powerhouse squad. Was always hoping that the Flames would pry him out of NJ before they realized what they had.

  • Parallex

    Kent, dont dwell on it, cheer up.

    30 teams in the NHL have a million of those comparisons each. Usually many of them have some draft day steals playing in their lineup as well.

    It looks like the drafting woes have been righted to an extent. Here’s hoping for Girgensons or Faksa and not some boat anchor dman.

    • True. Calgary’s issue is this has happened to them far more often than not the last decade or so. The Flames have almost always been left gazing wistfully at guys taken after them who turn out better.

      Last year’s draft might be the first in a long time when that isn’t true, but we’ll have to wait and see.

  • BurningSensation

    Clay:”It looks like the drafting woes have been righted to an extent. Here’s hoping for Girgensons or Faksa and not some boat anchor dman.”

    In the first round you have to swing for the fences (Sven!), not select a checking winger/defensive D-Man with poor footspeed (Pelech, Nystrom, etc, etc).

  • loudogYYC

    Wow. When I didn’t see Bouma by now I figured he didn’t make the list. I am waiting for Vintage to explain the number 4 ranking!

    He has a better chance of playing NHL hockey then others on the list. But he is a replacement level player at his peak. Would you trade any of Nemisz, Arnold, or Granlund for Bouma? I certainly wouldn’t. There are 20 Bouma’s available for nothing every season.

    I have him ranked 14. Hopefully he has something that I am not seeing any he ends up being a solid depth player.

  • Coaches I’ve spoken with in the Flames organization have called Lance Bouma both a “blood and guts” and “heart and soul” player. He hits, he hustles and there’s a few elements of Mark Giordano’s “win at all costs” mentality in him.

    Granted, he’s got limited upside, but he’s shown remarkable poise in his role at the NHL level.

  • loudogYYC

    I think Pike nailed it on the head. Bouma and Giordano bring what I think is sorely lacking on the team, an insatiable desire to win.
    Now if they could only get more of that trait in their top 6 and 4 and less of the Bouwmeester Paticipaction attitude…

  • loudogYYC

    Kent, I will ask this question of you because I respect and mostly agree with your views when it comes to hockey.

    Can an all left handed forward group have success in the NHL?

    • Arik

      I’m not Kent, but I’ll answer this anyways.

      Shooting hand matters- but only to an extent. If it comes down to having a highly skilled all lefty team vs. a meh team with rightys and leftys, I’ll take the former every day of the week.

      So yes, it is very possible.

  • MC Hockey

    I actually don’t understand why Bouma is on any prospect list because he has actually played a whole year in the NHL but of course only dressed 1/3 of the time. So I understand the 4th place ranking completely if he gets on such a list because he has proven he belongs already! Kent are there some rules to these prospects lists that is not obvious????

  • MC Hockey

    Hey Baalzamon, I can be clearer but read it again “played a whole year in the NHL but of course only dressed 1/3 of the time” – meaning he played just 27 games in 2011-12 (and 16 in 2010-11) but was in the NHL over past 2 years for equivalent of about 1 year thus my comment.

  • Vintage Flame

    My ranking of Bouma at #4 was basically based on what Kent mentioned. thought he was comparable with Brandon Prust, maybe not as willing to drop the gloves, but with his willingness to get into the dirty areas without hesitation.

    Bouma shows a tenacity that I respect. It hasn’t necessarily translated into point production but I felt that he showed a degree of promise that definitely put him ahead of the likes of Nemo, Byron and Horak.

    He also has some NHL experience that I felt put him ahead of some other prospects (yet to be named). Although he may not be this high in the future, or even after this year, his limited exposure gave him so ranking points on my list.