Flames Top 15 Prospects 2013: #8 Lance Bouma


Lance Bouma
– pic via Paul Clarke

This past season seemed poised to be Lance Bouma’s best chance yet at being able to make himself a permanent fixture on the big club. However, we never got to see if that was going to be the case.

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Bouma suffered a catastrophic injury this season to his right knee, severely spraining both his MCL and ACL just three games into the AHL season. The good news is that the ligaments weren’t torn, which bodes better for the future than surgically repaired tears do. He should start skating soon – if he hasn’t started already – so he should be all healed come October.

  Justin Ryan Kent Hayley BoL
Bouma 8 7 11 7 13

I doubt I’m putting words into the mouths of the other panelists when I say Bouma’s high ranking is based primarily on the opinion that he is currently an NHL-quality player. His ceiling might be the lowest of the 15 players on the list at the current time, but it’s also my belief that he’s got one of the better floors on the list as well – he appears to be a legit NHLer right now.

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Bouma is listed as a centre, although it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to play the position effectively at the NHL level. If he does, it will likely be against 4th line opponents. He plays an effective north-south game, and while we can’t read too much into 43 games worth of advanced stats, early results seem okay. Based on my own observations and scouting reports, I’d place his skating ability somewhere in between average and above-average, which is always nice to have in a mucker-type prospect.

Bouma had the same ranking on year’s Top 15 countdown as well, coming in at 8th spot. His lack of playing time this year obviously wasn’t a factor for the panelists in ranking him.

The 6’2, 215 pound 3rd round pick (78th overall) will likely be written into this year’s starting roster, but he’ll have to sign a new contract first – his ELC expires on July 5th.


For all the wrangling this year regarding toughness and grit, Bouma is the type of player you want on the ice filling those roles because he can be those things without taking away from the team in other areas. Something as simple as this results in an upgrade on at least three Flames forwards last season.

Last year Kent compared Bouma to Brandon Prust both statistically and anecdotally. The two seemed to be following the same sort of career path prior to Bouma’s injury. He may not have the offensive abilities of Prust (that was an odd statement to write) but the Flames should find him to be a useful NHLer for a number of years.

Flames Top 15 Prospects

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I wonder if Bouma’s missed season didn’t actually help his cause, which I accept is counterintuitive. I personally have a greater appreciation for his value to the Flames now, after missing what he brings to the line up. I never expect to see much in the way of production from him, and frankly when he’s on the ice he is unimpressive and provides little entertainment. That said, he is defensively responsible, plays each shift with a high tempo, and hits everyone in site making him hard to play against. Bouma is also one of the few Flame players on the roster that will provide push back when opponents start taking liberties. I’m not sure if Bouma’s return is enough to get Hartley to give up on Brian McGrattan, but he helps. Too bad, Blair Jones didn’t get the memo.

    • Shame on you CA. If we get rid of the Dancing Bear, who will protect our stars from cheap shots and dirty play?

      Sarcasm aside, I say stick Bouma on a line with Blair Jones and Tim Jackman and run them 12 minutes a night. I think that line would crush other 4th lines.

  • Bouma is probably replacement level right now. I think he has the tools to be a useful bottom-6 defensive piece in the near future though, which is the only reason I rate him at all. The skating, the size and the will are all there and if he can just improve the way he thinks the game enough to PK well and suppress the bad guys at 5on5, he’ll be a useful guy.

    • Bikeit

      Replacement Level now but young with ceiling above him. Perfect. Bouma is valuable to the flames in his play and the little cap he will take up. When you are young with injuries like that players generally come back well and play at the same level. If he was older i would be more concerned.

  • Parallex

    Lance Bouma… sentimental favorite of mine. Articule pretty much hit the nail on the head. His floor is an NHL player… but not a very good one. That may sound critical but the reality is that most of the names on this list have a floor of “Bust” they may offer more upside and at least of few of them will be more valuable then Lance Bouma but ultimately Bouma will provide minutes in the NHL on a regular basis and many of the others won’t.

    Prust is a decent comp but I think Tom Kostopoulos is a better one.

    • Parallex

      Not to rain on you’re pessimism parade but he get’s the 8 ranking because while his ceiling is 4th liner his floor is NHL player. It’s patently unfair to make a statement like that without acknowledging that he’s effectively a legitimate NHL player right now.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I like Bouma. But he brings nothing we were missing as a team last year. He’s at best a 4th liner and probably an unproductive one.

    That he’s in the top 10 of our prospects is scary.

    • My hope is he becomes a good fourth liner (or third liner), which as you say isn’t an immediate need and certainly won’t noticeably improve the team in the short term, but given how teams often manage their bottom-end, he’s a guy who can provide value when/if the team gets back on its feet. Having a non-black hole bottom-6 is a sometimes overlooked necessity to have a truly better than average team.

    • seve927

      If that were true, then the fact that Jankowski is our 15th best prospect would be scary good (which it isn’t).

      I wouldn’t consider him in the top 15. I would throw him in on a trade before any of the others behind him (except Ferland), although that’s based mostly on the Flame’s needs – ie they need to get lucky on some of their lower ranked skilled prospects. That said, I’ve never really paid any attention to him, so he could be better than I’m giving him credit for.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    My hope is that he can turn into either Brandon Prust or Eric Nystrom type of player for the team. He has the size as well that we were lacking, all positives in my opinion

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I go to the games and when I watched Bouma I was always waiting for him to do something on the ice. Anything noticeable. It rarely happened.

    I agree that he is a 4th line player eventually but if he could turn into a Tim Jackman that would be great.

    This is also a sad reflection of the quality of Calgary’s prospects. That Bouma is even on this list is kind of pathetic.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Bouma never put up more than 14 goals IN JUNIORS, and he had to wait until he was 20 years old playing against teenagers to do that.

    I like what he brings, and will gladly pencil him into the 4th line for the next season or two.

    But there’s nothing unfair about saying he’s not going to become a scoring threat in the NHL, when he wasn’t even a scoring threat as an overage 20 year old captain in the Dub.

    • Bouma never put up more than 14 goals IN JUNIORS, and he had to wait until he was 20 years old playing against teenagers to do that.

      That’s true, but he only played 48 and 57 games in his last two seasons. He actually scored at a slightly higher rate than Prust over the course of his junior career.

      That said, yeah, Bouma’s not going to score to any significant degree in the show.

    • Parallex


      A: Don’t give up more goals then you directly provide,
      B: Be able to spend some time on the PK.

      It may not sound like much but every minute that a fourth line can play that isn’t a determent to the team is a more rested 1-3 line providing more quality minutes and every minute that they can provide to the penalty kill (again without being a determent to the teams chance of winning) is a minute that more offensively skilled players can contribute to 5-on-5 or PP time (As I write this I’m reminded about how sub-optimally Butter managed his line-up). Really all you should want from a fourth line is to provide score neutral performance and help kill a penalty every once in a while.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    wow a top prospect pencilled into fourth line role player with some pugilistic skills. the futures so bright i gotta wear shades. or a paper bag. prusty has some truculence and can kill penalties, bouma?

  • jeremywilhelm

    Bouma is’t even a prospect in my mind. He is the type of player that can be plucked off the scrap heap by any GM that has a brain.

    Size does not win you hockey games. It is not something any team is lacking. That is such a silly notion, and it is one that is continually being touted by fans.

    The LA Kings have a tonne of “size” and are being thoroughly thrashed by a smaller, more skilled Hawks team.

    Size alone does not win you hockey games, hell I’d go so far as to say its a pretty small influence on winning, no matter what the patented GRITCHART tells you.

  • everton fc

    Bouma could be a 4th line mucker like Nystrom. That would be fine by me.

    He’ll produce more points than Jackman.

    Jones will not be here next season.

    Can we somehow trade Tanguay to the Rangers for Derek Dorsett and some decent picks?!

    • Dorsett is actually a useful player. Toughest zone starts, doesn’t get killed possession wise and draws more penalties than he takes. Kind of like Clutterbuck.

      If I had a coach who insisted on having size or toughness on the bottom-end, he’s the sort of guy I would target.

      That’s my hope for Bouma. It’s entirely possible he only becomes a common 4th liner for sure though.

      • jeremywilhelm

        Dorsett takes almost 3 times more penalties than he draws. He’s a liability.

        Yes he had very tough zone starts, and he got his head beat in in those starts as well.

        I will admit he looked less terrible with less extreme zone starts in CBJ, but I still don’t think he is anything special that should be targeted with assets.

        • A -6 relative corsi rate last year with a 35 ZS (!) in 2011-12. That’s pretty damn good. This year, he was -2/60 relative with a 42.7% ZS. Those are above average rates in those rather difficult circumstances.

          he also played almost 14 minutes at ES last year, meaning he wasn’t merely facing 4th liners. He ranked 6th amongst CBJ forwards in terms quality of comp.

          Last year he took slightly more penalties than he drew at ES. This year, he drew more than he took in the regular season.

          he got beat up in the playoffs, but half of the Rangers roster did. I’m not sure that’s indicative of his true ability.

          Anyways, I doubt I would trade any significant for Dorsett. He’s just miles better than dudes like Mike Brown or Brian McGrattan.

          • jeremywilhelm

            No doubt he is better than those two. I just don’t think you trade for the guy. Brown and Mcgrattan shouldn’t be on any NHL roster. Dorsett is fine, but he’s just a 4th liner at best.

            I, like you, are of the opinion that you shouldn’t be filling your 4th line with pugilists and useless players. Sure, Dorsett is probably a good 4th liner, but that’s still all he is. And there are plenty of ok to good 4th liners littering the AHL and euro leagues that probably could fill Dorsett’s spot admirably if given the chance.

          • everton fc

            Dorsett wouldn’t have good advanced stats if he was just a prototypical, replacement level 4th liner. Give your head a shake, if the guy was given half a chance without crap cirsumstances, you would probably classify him as a top-6 forward

          • everton fc

            Dorsett was coming off a shoulder injury during the playoffs. To even compare him to Brown and McGrattan makes no sense. He’s more than a 4th liner. As is Prust.

            If you move Tanguay – and NYR needs scoring, as the playoffs clearly showed – I’d ask for Dorsett as part of the package. To me, he’s a guy who’ll come to play every evening. People love Jackman. Want no part of Dorsett. Crazy.

            He’s a leader, too. Which we have a shortage of these days, in our room.

            I think Dorsett could actually play as a third liner, with the right line mates. And I think he could score 10-12 goals, as a 4th liner.

            Me thinks many of you haven’t seen him play much… He’s far more useful, in the way Prust is, than you give him credit. I see him as a Chris Neil type. Similar role (though Neil’s a bigger boy than people think), with similar numbers. And I wouldn’t trade anything significant for him – simply as part of a deal. But he’d be a real steal in the deal, if you could pull it off.

    • Parallex

      Where have you been? Everton’s been boosting Dorsett since the dawn of time, haha.

      All jokes aside, see Kent’s post re: Dorsett. He’s a useful, gritty player. Not a world beater, but the kind of guy that a good team plugs onto their 4th line.

  • Franko J

    I would sooner trade and obtain Matt Halischuk from Nashville. Or Mark Letestu from Columbus. Speed with some grit. Good penalty killers.
    As well, if the team is looking at free agents at the centre position I would consider Boyd Gordon or Kyle Chipchura.