Dreger: Backlund and Bouwmeester on the Block



File this under "disconcerting" -TSN’s Darren Dreger reported today the Flames may be shopping Mikael Backlund and Jay Bouwmeester. Here’s the pertinent passage:

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The Calgary Flames have a new coaching staff and a willingness to consider all trade scenarios not including Jarome Iginla or Miikka Kiprusoff.

Like most teams, the Flames are looking for a Top 6 forward – ideally, a centre. Mikael Backlund and Jay Bouwmeester are among those the Flames would trade. But with two years remaining at a whopping $6.7 million per season, Bouwmeester is going to be a tough sell.

From where I stand, a willingness to trade anyone but Iginla and Kipper is eactly the opposite stance the club should be taking heading into this off-season, particularly bodies like Jay Bouwmeester and Mikael Backlund. While both guys had rather disappointing seasons last year, there are number of reasons moving them doesn’t make a lot of sense for the club.

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In JayBo’s case, he almost singlehandedly handles the hard minutes for the Flames on the back-end. So unless Calgary is planning on landing Suter as a free agent this summer, deleting Bouwmeester from the blueline would create a huge hole that could not be filled internally. On top of all that, he’s not even 30 years old yet so likely has a number of effective years left in him.

It’s common to assert that a Kipper or Iginla trade would signal the begin of a true rebuild,however, I contend moving Bouwmeester for a forward or futures would be a pretty sure step in that direction. He’s overpaid and underwhelming offensively to be sure, but is a few miles ahead of other Flames defensive options. 

As for Backlund, trading him would delete the lone NHL-ready skater Calgary has in the important 23-28 age range up front (who isn’t merely a capable AHLer or bottom-six forward for life). In addition, given his poor shooting luck and rotten counting numbers from last season, dealing Backs now would be a classic case of selling low on an asset that is bound to improve in value. Whats more, Backlund should be pretty cheap to re-sign this summer, so he doesn’t have the added baggage of a bad contract like JayBo.

Of course, I don’t really consider anyone on the Flames roster to be sacrosanct, so if Feaster manages to turn a Backlund or Bouwmeester into a real improvement, more poweer to him. That said, the fact that the team has potentially under valued 20-somethings on the block instead of their doddering (but marketable) core players (assuming Darren Dreger is right) is not terribly encouraging.


  • They’re really going after Seth Jones or Nathan MacKinnon next year, aren’t they?

    Seriously, though, it ENTIRELY depends on the return. But the team needs to ADD a top-four defender, not throw away their top minutes-eating guy.

    • To some degree it does. But why is the team not looking to leverage assets whose past far outweighs their future? Whose reputation probably outstrips their utility?

      On that note, Dreger also says the Flames might make a pitch to Jaromir Jagr in July. 41 year old Jaromir Jagr because he played with Cervenka in the past or something.

      I really hope Dreger is blowing smoke.

      • everton fc

        Just this morning I posted I was beginning to get a positive vibe from Feaster.

        To me, dealing JBo is not as huge a risk, if the goal is Suter, or some other d-man. Or, if they want to move both for someone like Statsny. I’ve never been overly impressed with Backlund. Perhaps he only has an upside. Perhaps he’s the next Dustin Boyd? Who knows…

        What does concern me is going after an aging Jagr. Rumours still float about picking up Lecavlier, as well. Feaster appears to be a guy who goes back to the past to build. Nothing new. Original.

        Just a perception….???

  • File it under “bad management” if the Dreger rumour comes to fruition. But as Kent says, let’s see what the returns are before we can truely judge. However, safe to say that both assets will be undervalue due to bad counting stats (Backs) and a high salary in Jbo’s case.

  • Craig

    This scares me a lot, I will be really disappointed if Backlund gets traded, his value is low right now so what we would get in return would likely be peanuts. In my opinion trading him would be a step backwards.

  • I guess what most of us have been dreading might be slowly coming to pass. Can’t say I’m surprised. The Flames management seems to be loking for the quick fix. Trying to sign top free agents to mammoth deals, shopping a young and still developing centreman,and trying to deal the teams defensive workhorse is not a recipe for success. Backlund and Bouwmeester are the teams future, and I can’t say the same for Iggy or Kipper. Obviously dealing JBOuw would result in a ton of cap space, but what would the FLames to with it? Sign Parise or Suter? Yeah right, those guys aren’t coming here. If Feaster wants to make the playoffs, how can he deal a guy who is the Flames’ defensive stalwart and a guy who is bound to see his luck change?

  • Anytime I start to hope we have intelligence emmerging & I get these kind of scares. I can see JBO getting traded cap hit exceeds perceived value. Whatever, I get & we’ll pay for that move in some scary games next year. Backlund I dont know, but if he’s part of a greater good, then lets see the deal & then go from there. Would Pitt be into JBO at all? Saw Flames were at play in the Staal sweepstakes & wonder if JBO, Backlund & our 1st(14th) for Staal & Pitts 1st(20th I think) & a salary dump like Martin. Then OK. Feaster rocks.

  • My question regarding Jagr is this: why would this work?

    I mean, Cervenka hasn’t played a minute in North America. We have guys on the roster right now that have North American experience and have shown an ability to do fairly well. Why curtail their ice-time in an effort to get Cervenka and a 41-year-old clicking?

  • SmellOfVictory

    I’d be really sad if any of this was true… #failforMackinnon please and get YOUNGER!! We need Iggy and Kipper to replenish our cupboards not lead us to a 13th in the west finish!!! Really hope the ever reliable Dreger is hanging on a bad source hear 🙁 if we sign Jagr we might as well pursue the Dominator too 🙂

  • SmellOfVictory

    For what its worth, Bob Mckenzie has Cody Ceci ranked 14th on his draft list. I heard Pat Steinberg talking to and about him today. I’ll be very intrigued if he’s still there at 14.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Jagr??? What the hell is the point of that? Because of Cervenka, so what happens if Cervenka is useless, are we gonna have Jagr leave us to?? Thats just asking for disaster. Thats not smart management, that is gambling, straight gamble and it’s not going to work, betting on a 41 year old Jagr, an aging Iggy and Kipper is NOT going to work. Especially if the other half holds true that they are trading Bouwmeester and Backlund, they are both on the right side of 30. Backlund has shown an ability to not only play well in the NHL but to dominate possesion, isn’t that the kind of style of play they are always preaching, puck possession???

    And trading Bouwmeester makes me want to punch Feaster in his smug face. I don’t give a crap if he is over paid, he is over paid by 1M, maybe 1.5 TOPS. He is a #1 defender, #2 at worst, eats minutes and for the most part does a damn good job at it, sure the offense hasn’t been there. However this year he was actually on pace early in the year to have his best offensive year in Calgary till his numbers began to fall off.

    Feaster sure as hell better be getting some seriously good picks for 2013 back, because if these rumors all hold true we should easily be drafting #1 overall.

  • MC Hockey

    Since I have been convinced of Backlund’s value via advanced stats and the FLames seem to use them, I think Dreger is getting bad info….well at least I hope. And as I have stated before, players ofdten hit their stride statistically (counting stats) in year 4 of their careers. Perhaps Jay Feaster is feeding rumors out there just to stir the pot and check on value for JBo and Backlund, the sly bugger! I don’t mind JBo leaving but ONLY if we get a Suter or something simlar (perhaps Carle or Wideman) and perhaps another young stay-at-home veteran D-man in free agency as we have enough mobility/puck-moving tlent I think…otherwise keep JBo for his Pacman-like ability with minutes. I thought Barret Jackman would have been nice here but he stayed for zero to little raise in St Louis.

  • MC Hockey

    guys, this is DREGER. Not Feaster, not Conroy, not Weisbrod, not even Millions. It’s a guy who has NO CONNECTION with the team WHATSOEVER. None. At all. This is 100% speculation on his part. There are a lot of casual fans who want the Flames to trade Backlund because “he’s terrible” “he’s soft” or other nonsense like that. Why should we expect Dreger to look past the counting numbers (and +/-) for either Bouwmeester or Backlund when no one else does? It’s not Dreger’s opinion that matters. It’s Feaster’s, Conroy’s, and Weisbrods (and King’s, I guess).

    • RexLibris

      They don’t come much more connected or respected than Darren Dreger. He may not be on the Flames payroll, but he knows a LOT of people and when he talks, people listen. I’ll take Dreger’s opinion over 95% of the media.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Depends entirely on the return. I agree that deleting Bouwmeester makes this a worse hockey team… maybe that’s the plan? That said, maybe they want to shed salary? Maybe they want to try & move up in the draft? Maybe they want Nathan MacKinnon? Maybe they’re looking to FINALLy landing a centre for Iginla to play with (too little, too late). I don’t know. What I do know, is this entire regime has me in “wait-and-see” mode (and has for the last 12 months).

    I’m not as high as most of the stats crowd on Backlund. Nor am I as low as the Walker’s et al. I’d certainly have no problem moving him, but as has been pointed out, its likely in a “sell low” scenario which isn’t great. Perhaps there’s a team that see’s him for what he is – a 3rd line two-way centre – and is willing to give true value for him?

    Should be an interesting week. Let the fireworks begin!

  • SmellOfVictory

    Backlund’s already twice the player Boyd was – actually, that might be a disservice to Backlund. Absolute worst case scenario (barring injuries), he ends up about the equivalent of Moss.

  • I’m not hitting the Crown Royal too quick here, like Baalzamon says, its just a rumour for a fan base desperate for positive change & we tend to over react. Let’s see what the deal is then we get the rope & lynch mob ready.:-)

  • RexLibris

    That’d certainly be a step in a direction. I’m not going to say in which direction, as I think most fans here have made it pretty clear what they think of it.

    The very first thing that went through my mind when I read the article’s title was “right, trade the young guys and keep the over-35s”. Not good.

    In the end we will have to wait to see what a potential return might be and take a long-term perspective.

    If they are moved in anything similar to the Cammalleri deal I would strongly suggest an article here on FN where fans could suggest titles for their own rebuilding documentary. “Rekindling the Flame?”, “Ignite!”? Just some suggestions.

    I think fans should also remember that this is draft week when all the GMs get together and get drunk on potential and possibilities. It could be nothing more than rumours and intrigue based on exploratory talks.

  • RexLibris


    I would also take what Dreger says at more of a face value than Feaster or anyone in Flames management.

    Dreger’s career isn’t based on spin and message control. Management, any sports management, on the other hand…

  • RexLibris

    @Justin, glad I could make that comment for you, I don’t think you realize how pissed I am that both are targets of possible trades. And for what exactly? Backlund is probably a deal sweetner and Bouwmeester will most likely be a salary dump and why do we need that extra salary??? For what, the great white whale chase of 2012, Suter? That is never happening, at best he entertains the offer, at worst he makes us take a contract that is even worse off than bouwmeesters and like most UFA deals, he fails to deliver.

    Now just to decided what to do with my Bouwmeester jersey, cut it up and send it to Feaster? Burn it on Youtube, that always gets a great reaction. Or make a franken jersey and get it on Jersery foul???