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.


  • RexLibris

    I love the idea of losing these guys! Too much upside to backlund? Are you kidding me! He’s had every yr since the draft to show us upside! Who cares about jaybo eating minutes! He’s aweful! Time to make a name for yourself mr. Feaster and get these guys outta here and rePlace em with new face!

  • Kevin R

    Hilarious! Its getting to the fun time of year. I love these sights in June & February. I got drunk for a week after we resigned Joker & the TSN panels were laughing at us. I hope this is a joke about Jagr & trading our younger guys. Sad thing is how many people are mortified that these reports are true.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    The argument that they shouldn’t trade Bouwmeester because he “plays a lot of minutes” is bogus. Who will take his minutes? Anyone who is willing to finish his checks I hope…

  • T&A4Flames

    If there is any truth to this then I say start warming up the band to welcome our new 1st line center, Jordan Staal! Seriously, this just makes a ton of sense. PIT was complaining about their D hurting them in the PO. Something like JBo and Backs for Staall and a salary dump like Martin or preferably Michalek. Hey, maybe we get a 2nd rounder thrown in ala Robyn Regher. I’m on board if that were to happen. I just hope we could sign Staal to a long term deal if it happens. Otherwise, we screwed ourselves. Got take chances though.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    @Doughboy, so you are okay with giving those minutes to Babchuk? Cause that’s a great idea, just because Bouwmeester doesn’t throw the big hits like Sarich doesn’t mean he should be thrown under the bus. The reason why a guy like Doughty was in consideration for the Conn Smythe wasn’t because he hit a lot of people, it’s because he was able to go end to end, make passes out of the zone and skate his ass off. Hitting looks great, but you still need a guy who can effectively play against other teams best, and bouwmeester can do that, having some other idiot that can “hit” play those minutes is asking for trouble.

    If Bouwmeester and Backlund were turned into J. Stall and Z. Michaleck, plus picks, thats not so bad, Martin #s on behind the net are not bad either, but I don’t have faith either of them could replace Bouwmeester.

  • PrairieStew

    The one deal I would take for Jay Bo is for Shea Weber. Now before you say I am dreaming in technicolor, the Predators have a reason to listen. Weber is an RFA with a salary last year of $7.5 million. They could qualify him for a one year deal @ $8 and then he becomes a UFA. To sign him long term is going to take much more than $8. By trading for Jay, and 2 years guaranteed, the Preds may then have the cash to resign Suter. It also helps establish the ‘team market’ for Nashville. They could offer Suter $6.9 making him the highest paid dman on the team. They also have 3 pretty good right shooting d men,in Klein, Ellis and Blum – and their left side would then be Suter, Bouw and Josi.

    The Flames really need a right shooter that can play ( sorry Babchuk) and Weber would fit the bill. Even without Jay, left side dmen Gio, Butler , Brodie and Smith are still more than adequate.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Enough of the Boumeester bashing. If we were a contender, he would be an irreplaceable piece. Let’s see what happens. If we decide to ride the same old horse again, I am ok watching WHL hockey next year. But maybe, just maybe Jay is going to turn Kipper and/or Iggy into some great assets for the future and we are going to try to look at competing rather than this Groundhog day bs we have been exposed to for far too long.

  • Derzie

    Best news I’ve heard. The love on here for Backlund baffles me. The expectation for him should be Top 6 forward or even Top 3. He has shown no better than 3rd line stuff. JBo is a minute eater but anyone with an iron man is both in amazing shape and stays out of harm’s way which means not giving 100% to win at all costs. I hope these guys move and we get a fair shake for them.

  • Stockley

    I really don’t think the Flames will get anywhere near fair value for either of the players rumored to be on the block. JayBo has been offensively invisible for the last 3 years (he averaged more goals per year in his final three years in Florida than he has total in Calgary). Backlund appears to be made out of glass, constantly hurt while showing glimpses that he could be anywhere from a 1st line to 3rd line forward and never staying healthy enough to answer any questions about his true potential.

    Never wise to deal from a position of weakness. Bo could be a victim of a defensive system installed by the Sutters, a system that stifled his offensive potential. I’m curious what he can do under a coach that preaches a more up-tempo/offensive style.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I see why people are pissed about this. However, I am glad that the Flames are actually looking at changing some things up. Can you imagine going into next season with the exact same team? Ugh. I would dance the jig though if both Kipper and Iggy get dealt as well (I know, I know- never happening right?). You just know that the owners and KK sat down with Jarome and asked him what his thoughts are about the upcoming season. Jarome probably just said that everything is fine and the team will be contenders, just need to bounce back, give a 110%, play like their backs are against the wall, and then give that $7 million dollar smile while accepting his paycheck, plus per diem.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Change for the sake of change is not wise management. Trading young players in that key age group & keeping old vets – not wise management.

    If this is true & Jordan Staal is not coming our way, I’m going to start looking rather longingly at those bulging veins on my wrists.

  • Kevin R

    @ Prairie Stew: God love you man. Weber. Do you realize it would probably take, JBO, Backlund, Baerschte, & our 1st rounder to even get into that discussion. There are teams that would give huge packages for him. Oilers would give Hall, Gagner & the 1st overall for him. He’s that good. But its the thought that counts.

    T&A: I saw that goofy Eklund reporting Flames are trying to wiggle in for Staal. I would have no problem with that in fact, I would give them JBO, Backlund & our 1st to get Staal & that salary dump of one of those 2 dmen. Deal makes sense, problem is, I think other teams can put out a better offer than that for Staal. This team has to get back to basics, we need the young talent that teams covet to score the Webers & Staals of the world. That means we need to turn these mothball smelling veterans of ours into picks & prospects before they get recycled.

    • PrairieStew

      I did imply it was a long shot by saying the only trade I would take for Jay was for Weber. Don’t be suprised if Poile doesn’t do something creative though, faced with losing Suter this year and Weber next

  • Truculence

    I`m really ambivalent about Backs. It seems like he may become a second line center, but either he has horrible accuracy or is snake-bitten. Unfortunately, like others have mentioned he doesn`t stay healthy enough for us to find out.

    Quite frankly, if we can get another project with similar upside at another position, I say go for it. As far as I am concerned, he`s taking either Max Reinhart`s spot as 2nd center anyways, or that of Bill Arnold on the third line. Both guys are a couple of years away from full-time duty, but they play the same type of intelligent two-way game with more grit, if a little less flash (or lack thereof, so far).

    Just don`t trade Backs to recoup are second. That will put me into a murderous rage -one that my employees will have to endure for at least a week.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Another thing. Too 4 D are going to be sought after. If Backlund has to be the gravy to get a solid return then so be it. I will judge the trade based on the return.

    As for Jagr. Great. One year contract sounds better then long term commitments to an overpaid free agent give the slim pickings.

    I agree that we should trade Iginla and Kipper. But if this experiment fails then that is what we get. Even the Flames aren’t going to lose Iggy for nothing if they are out of the playoffs. Expect an aggressive trade deadline if we can’t replace Bouwmeester.

    It is going to happen. I think he wants out. And I think Feaster has to make moves. If he doesn’t he can’t defend another losing season to ownership or the fanbase. And an unwillingness to move Kipper, Iginla, Giordano, or Glencross limits his options.

    I take it as change that either works (yay) or forces more change (hoorah)

  • Graham

    If the Flames manage to land a true #1 center much will be forgiven. If you need to move JBo to free up the cap room, and can’t bury Stajan in the minors / anywhere else, Backlund may become expendable…Cervenka playing behind a true #1, Jones and the unmoveable Stajan gives us a pretty strong four some. (I would much prefer #1, Cervenka, Backlund and Jones, but that might be asking for a miracle to many)

    Assuming you use JBo $6.67 million at center, you would have to use most of the other free agent number to add some d men…. we would be mighty thin at the back end.

    Now, if we are moving JBo just to reduce salaries, I ain’t going to like it very much.

  • everton fc

    I agree w/Prairie Stew. Let’s face it; Buowmeester is not a winner, and has the reputaion of not being a winner. He’s won nothing.

    As for Backlund, he’s all potential. But he’s yet to produce. If yuo could parlay them into Staal, Statsny, Weber… That’s what you try to do.

    Reinhart may end up better than Backlund. And Horak’s younger, and could turn into a decent playmaker.

    I don’t hate Backlund. But if he’s the next David Moss… He’s a 3rd liner, at best. Bill Aronold might be better suited for that developmental role. Not to mention there are 3rd line players like Moss out there now, that could be had via trade. Who are still young.

    Horak’s offencive #’s have beem just as good as Backlund’s over the course of their careers…And for those ripping me for the Backlund/Boyd comaprison, I remember the reactions people had when the Flames let Boyd and Dawes go.

    Somewhat similar.

    All that said, if they move these guys for the likes of Jagr… Lecavlier… I’d be sick. Really sick.

    Off topic somewhat, what team has an albatross like Stajan? Perhaps we could swap… ??

    (Obviously Weber or Suter would be ideal, but I wouldn’t mind Garrison coming here from Florida. Has he signed??)

  • everton fc

    Since the Flames lost the five games prior to the trade deadline, Feaster has been formulating a change in direction. I think Feaster was just as mad as Colin was earlier. What has every fan of the Flames cried about since the end of the season. Trade { insert names here} this player and that player. If I am Feaster I would have almost every player with a contract on the table and up for a possible trade. Outside of a few prospects and a couple of roster players with NTC/ NM clauses should be available.

    Whether the rumors about Bouwmeester and Backlund are speculative or the truth, I hope to hear more names on the trade block. In reality, this team is not good enough to challenge even for a top eighth seed in the western conference. To tell the truth out of the eighty two games last season, how many times as fans you watched a game on TV or live at the Saddledome and came away feeling fully entertained and satisfied with overall performance of this team? I counted at the most 10 games.

    Like most fellow bloggers to FN I have been a diehard fan of this team since day 1 in Calgary. I have seen my share of bad trades, terrible drafting and watching players go to another team and perform well. Heck I just witnessed first hand another coach of this team win with another team the Stanley Cup. Actually the second time this happened. I know D. Sutter has much to blame for this debacle and disarray this team is presently in, but ultimately it is up to players on the ice who dictate between a pretender and a contender.

    With the current roster and where it is, I see plenty of pretending and very little contending. The only way to change it is making wise, honest, and somewhat lucky trades and moves.

  • RKD

    Trading Jay-Bo would be a window dressing move. Half of the fans hate him in Calgary because of the following reasons: 1) he is perceived as a soft player 2) his offensively totals of 42 points in his Florida days have been reduced to 28-30 with Calgary and the big one 3) he is making a lot of money.

    Trading Jay-Bo is not guarantee that Suter comes here. Why on earth would he go from Nashville (a playoff team) to Calgary (a non-playoff team).

    I hope they don’t give up on Backlund, but again half the city has already deemed him a bust. He was injured twice last season. I still think he can rebound next season.

    On the Jagr front, based on the fact at first he said he would like to return to Philly but now with his buddy Cervenka signed here, I think he will be offered a one year deal. Jagr could be a replacement for Jokinen, Jags did put up 54 points in 73 games.

    This organization keeps doing the opposite of what we want, signing unknowns (Cervenka), possibly bringing in a 40 year old forward and still not trading Iggy and Kipper who would land them each a first round pick, a prospect and a roster player.

  • Look at the team’s leadership.

    Iginla has won at every level he’s played, but he’s got a lot of various commitments due to being Jarome Iginla.

    Giordano is a warrior and I can’t see the Flames moving him.

    Jokinen and Bouwmeester are arguably the only members of the leadership group that [a] haven’t won a heck of a lot and [b] seem to lack the intensity and “hate to lose” attitude that Giordano embodies.

    They’re also possibly the two that are the easiest to move.

  • loudogYYC

    To whoever said minutes played by Bouwmeester can be replaced by someone that hits, here’s a note from Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts:

    “Garry Galley once told a story about Ray Bourque’s injury during the 1990 Hartford/Boston series. Bourque went down in Game 2, not returning until Game 7. Galley said Bruins coach Mike Milbury called him in and said he would be getting all of Bourque’s minutes, because he thought it was better to affect a guy he knew could handle it, as opposed to the entire blue-line. Years later, Galley said it was one of the smarter coaching moves he experienced, even though he needed a defibrillator after the series.”

    There’s a reason it’s the best defenders in the league who always play 20+ minutes and not the plumbers.

    That said, I’m ok with them trading Bouwmeester now and hopefully Iginla at the deadline. By the time the Flames are a good team again, Jbo will be well into his 30’s and Iggy will be closer to 40.

    Trading Backlund now would be stupid for that same reason. By the time this is a good team again, he’ll be in his prime and he’ll be worth a ton more than he is now.

    I take what Dreger says seriously, but I really hope he’s wrong with the Backlund part of the rumor.

  • everton fc

    My guess is feaster is dregers source, and feaster told him whose available to get some gms thinking. Maybe someone is looking for a good top 2 dman and is willing to make a good offer. If none come through, oh well, we keep jbo. The fans want to move iggy and kipper and keep jbo and backlund for the same reasons other teams wouldn’t want iggy and kipper and will maybe take jbo and backlund. Like conroy said, iggy holds all the cards. He’s in his last year of his contract, he’s aging, he has nmc.. I wouldn’t give much up for him. If I needed a good dman to eat minutes and had cap space, I might make a play for jbo. Just saying, iggy and kipper are not as tradeable as flames fans want to think. And either way, flames are not going to get as much back as we would want.

    My guess is not much will happen at the draft for the flames. They will make there picks and essentially have the same team as last year, plus or minus some spare parts. The only way something does happen is if they take on someone elses horrible salary (eg vinny l – tampa).

    • Stockley

      You raise a valid point. Right now how much can we honestly get for Iggy or Kipper? No one is going to sell the farm for aging veterans they might lose to free agency in a year or two. At the trade deadline their value might be a little inflated because teams go insane when they think a veteran or two might be all that’s needed to push them over the hump and into the finals.

      I’d much rather see a few established players come into Calgary than draft picks and prospects. Calgary needs to get younger, but they also need to ice a team next season while some of their underrated young talent like Reinhart, Ferland, Horak and Howse continue to learn the pro game and hopefully get prepared to inherit the team in a couple seasons. I watched the Flames rush and ruin prospects (what precious few prospects they drafted who weren’t disasters like Fata and Tkachuk) instead of giving them time to develop. So much has to change in how the Flames do business I don’t even know where to start. We don’t need change for the sake of change. We need the right changes being made at the right times.

      I like some of what Feaster has done so far but the Sutter experiment makes it really difficult for me to use the “In Feaster we trust” mantra. I played that game before; and pardon the pun, I got burned like the rest of you.

    • BobB


      At least someone here is thinking straight.

      On Jbo, I could see Detroit being an organization that is knowledgeable enough to know what JBo offers. With Lidstom retiring, he could plug that hole about as well as anyone in the league.

      Would I prefer to see Jbo stay, yeah probably, but I wouldn’t be heartbroken if the return was good.

      Same with Kipper and Iggy. Hell if we got amazing return for Kipper, I’d have no problems seeing him leave, but that’s likely not reality.

      TB and Pittsburgh have already moved on goalies… and it’s the way I said it. Vokoun gone for cheap. Young goalie with potential gone to TB. TOR seems the only team dumb enough to go after Luongo… I doubt people are offering big, or anything good, in return for Kipper in this reality.

      Thomas is unsure of even playing, so he’s a great no-pay, no-risk option for a CLB, NYI, COL etc.

  • BobB

    This line of thinking makes sense if you want to try to win with this group, and win now. To win now, you need to trade assets that have value for real players. Lateral trades, salary dumps etc.

    Trading Kipper/Iggy at the deadline will certainly only get you prospects or picks. Fans keep hoping that someone like Iggy will get traded next deadline for some help up front, or this or that. The logic is that at deadline a team hoping to go on a run or get over the hump will overpay. But this means they are absolutely not giving up any of their real NHL assets. Its all draft picks and prospects coming back in any deadline deal for an aging, rental UFA.

    If the Flames want to reshape the team quick and with substantial pieces it has to happen now and like it or not, its going to hurt and be painful trading or acquiring help.

    Thats why I’m completely confident this team is going straight down the toilet following the current plan. We don’t have enough assets to trade for help now. The frustrating thing is that we’ve already wasted another year.. Next spring we will do the only sane thing, and trade Kipper/Iggy for draft picks and prospects. Then start the painful process of building internally, and grooming our kids. Feaster was too stubborn to do it last year, and it just means we are going to have to suffer through another year of frustration, mediocrity and blame.