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:

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.

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.

 

  • Stockley

    Also cant argue Gussey’s prognosis. I think there are buyers for Iggy & Kipper, returns are probably disappointing, so much so that Feaster will have no choice but to roll the dice they stay healthy & the trade deadline creates opportunity to max out returns as rentals. Also easier to justify the return for Iggy at that point as well. We’ll have some new faces, the blueline will be even weaker when we get a cap saving disappointing return for JBO & the return for Backlund will just give most of us heartburn & acid reflux. We’ll be 13th spot by next December(providing there is a season). I always get excited this time of year & hope for exciting big trades, but last year the Regehr trade really deflated me(it did turn OK, just greater expectations at the time) & now I’m getting sick to my stomach trying to imagine how bad this one could be.

    • Stockley

      Worst case scenario might have a silver-lining. If they crash had this year they might have a shot at drafting one of Nathan Mackinnon or Seth Jones. Both players are talked up and could have the sort of potential that can turn a franchise around. That would more or less force a rebuild.

  • Stockley

    lets ask mike peca what he thinks jbust is worth. sure he eats tons of minutes and has an iron man streak however, where is the will to win. nik lidstrom may not have thrown many a body check in his famed career but jbust aint no lidstrom. as for mikael backwards, the kid hasnt shown me anything in regards to being a top six forward. its beginning to look like backwards has roberto durans hands of stone around the net. i say sell em all. kippa,igglatowsk,jbust and backwards.