Flames & Bouma File Cases For Arbitration

With the Calgary Flames’ first arbitration hearing of the summer involving Lance Bouma just two days away, both sides have filed their cases with the League office. As expected, there is a pretty decently-sized gap between the two sides.

Bouma had a career year in 2014-15 on a one-year “show me” contract. With a cap hit of just $775,000, Bouma had 16 goals, 18 assists…and a 15.4 shooting percentage. His counting stats ranked him as roughly the 200th-best offensive player in the NHL, while he had the 47th-best shooting percentage. Just saying.

For the curious, the Bouma ask of $2.5 million is really, really close to Ari’s predicted hit of $2.6 million from his camp. The Flames actually offered significantly more than the range of $662,000 to $822,000 that the numbers suggested they could ask for, so at least they’re not trying to completely bury the guy by asking him to take a pay cut or anything. But aside from being the poster boy for Calgary’s sky-high shooting percentage, Bouma was a useful complementary player in the sense that he hit a lot of guys, blocked a ton of shots, and scored some nice goals at key times. One of those three things gets guys paid a ton on the open market.

The clock is now ticking, as there are 48 hours left before the hearing date. For the record, based on the filing requests from each side, I predict that this goes to the arbiter and that the Bouma cap hit will be $1.85 million next season. However, that prediction is based on a complete guess on how heavily the arbiters will weigh the advanced stats and whether they’ve been conditioned to care about the counting stats above all else.

  • CofRed4Life

    Wow, I’m surprised the club went so high. They really value Bouma. Here’s to hoping for a 1 year deal, unless they side completely with Calgary (not likely).

    Good news for Bouma though. Looks like no matter what he’s getting a substantial raise.

    • everton fc

      I believe he’s worth what he’s asking for many teams. If they can lock him up for 2-3 years at 2mill, it’s a fair deal. This guy should eventually wear a letter here. Not easy to find a guy like that, at the prices I’m speculating above.

  • everton fc

    Maybe they’ll meet in the middle at 2 mill? Sounds reasonable… I can’t say the 2.5 mill is outrageous, he does play hard and puts his body on the line every night.

    • Christian Roatis

      The stuff you wrote at the end is exactly why 2.5 million is outrageous. There are countless guys in the minors who play hard and put their bodies on the line every night, and do it for 500K.

      Bouma means a lot to the locker room and is undoubtably a leader and role model, but with the cap crunch approaching like a tsunami, you simply cannot afford to pay a guy whose greatest assets are intangible that kind of money. An extra million dollars will go a long way when resigning the Monahan’s and Gaudreau’s.

      • everton fc

        If they sign him for $2mill and he duplicates his #s… A real steal.

        1.85mill for 2 years may end up where things settle. But again, if Bouma duplicates last season the next two, what do we do then??

        • Christian Roatis

          Agreed, but the numbers just don’t add up to him duplicating that.

          Those of you who read my stuff know I’m not a be-all end-all stats guy, but in Bouma’s case the numbers are simply overwhelming. Everything from SH% to his WOWY’s with Backlund&Co. suggest he was the benefactor of luck and was mostly carried by his linemates. That’s tough to duplicate. Just look at Brandon Prust.

        • Parallex

          Conversely if he instead puts up his career numbers it’s a overpay.

          Left unsaid thus far is that whatever award he gets directly affects his contract going forward. Say he does go back to his prior numbers the Flames are then forced to either not tender him a QO (then pursue a UFA deal with him in the manner that we did with Byron last year), take him to club elected arbitration (and thus pursue a paycut), or overpay him in a year when we’ll start needing all our cap space. All bad options.

          I like Lance Bouma, always have, I just hope he’s not pricing himself out of Calgary.

      • Christian Roatis

        I think there is a big difference between Lance Bouma and countless guys in the minors. We’re not talking David Wolf here. Bouma is a proven NHLer IMO.

        Also, if your going to pay Stajan, Jones, Raymond, Smid, and Engelland all over 3 million, you can bet that Bouma believes he contributes just as much if not more.

        I think a fair comparison is Kris Russell at 2.6 mill range, I think it’s a little high, but not outrageous. I would say 2 mill would be fair.

        • Christian Roatis

          See, but that’s flawed logic. “If you’re gonna pay *list bad hockey players* all over 3 million” should be the last reason you’re paying Bouma a lot of money.

          Those are all terrible deals and Flames should learn from them not continue the trend. It’s not a case of “well I overpaid one of you so it’s only fair I overpay everyone else too”.

          The Hawks traded Brandon Saad almost exclusively due to Bickell taking up too much space, and while Bouma isn’t asking for Bickell dollars, it’s still a comparable situation where a low impact players inflated cap number might negatively influence this team in the future.

          If it’s a 2 year deal at 2 million, fine. But anything with term needs to be under 2 imo.

          • Christian Roatis

            It’s not flawed in Bouma’s logic for his asking price.

            Although Bickell’s contract is high, you have to keep in mind that 75% of the Blackhawks cap is dedicated to 6 players.. that’s why Saad was traded.

          • SmellOfVictory

            Yeah, we can partially blame the Bickell contract, but the fact that Toews and Kane both make eight figure salaries is a big factor, as well. I understand you have to pay your stars, but I’m quite surprised they broke 9 million apiece, much less 10.

      • Christian, I am usually on the same page as you but I can’t agree with you on Bouma. I go to many games & I can tell you emphatically who has more presence & impact on the ice between players like Raymond, Jones,Stajan & Bouma & guess what? I take Bouma any day & twice on Sunday. If the cap crunch comes & we are paying Bouma 2.5 mill, the 1st place I look is eliminating Raymond, Jones & Stajan in that order to make cap space. I then eliminate Widemans 5.25mill & I see no issue in our cap structure to be able to sign our core young players next year & the year after.

        • CutterMcAwesome

          Jones isn’t part of the cap crunch though; he’s on the last year of his deal.

          As for Raymond, the Flames are pretty much stuck with him IMO. Ditto Smid and Engelland. Stajan they might find a taker for, Wideman I think will have to wait until after Franson signs.

        • Christian Roatis

          I’m certainly not advocating keeping those players over Bouma, I’m saying you can’t pay Bouma their money just cause they make it.

          Also, you can’t just “get rid” of players nowadays. Stajan will play out his contract here because of the cap hit, no matter how bad they want to trade him.

          I would love to be able to just “eliminate” players. *highlights Smid, Engellend, Bollig, Raymond* *Spams eliminate button* 😀

        • DestroDertell

          It’s not that simple. You can buyout contracts but then you end up with dead money for twice the length of the last year(s) on the deal. Buying out Wideman, Stajan & Raymond would leave 3 883 333$ unusable for 2016-17 and 2017-18. Good luck finding spaces to sign Bennett’s new contract.

  • Burnward

    He’s earned this money all day long guys. We shouldn’t be concerned.

    First PK unit, skates well, hits everything, outscored Backlund in P/60, plus the heart and intangibles that we all love.

    2 million is nothing for a guy like that.

  • OKG

    I agree that Bouma is on the 1st PK unit, but I was looking at some stats and he was also on the ice for the most PK goals against per 60 minutes (er, Engelland may or may not have been worse, I forget). I don’t know if Bouma being on the 1st PK unit is actually the best thing, because there seem to be a lot of goals against when he’s on the ice there. But that might just be quality of competition. I don’t know.

    The eye test really supports Lance Bouma though. Love him. I said it before, 1.75M @ 3 Years

  • OKG

    Bouma had a good season, the team had a good season…how can you pull to reward some of the players and not Bouma…he was as important to the Flames success last year as others who are making way much more.

    If Bouma agrees to a one year contract at 1.75 million, Flames are doing well…If he improves on his numbers next season, well, not so well then, in terms of cap hit for the Flames.

  • OKG

    It’s only an offer sheet that the team matches that results, effectively, in a no trade clause, correct? I assume the Flames could trade Bouma if he gets more than what they are prepared to pay but other teams are seeing him as value at that price point.

  • RKD

    Gotta save room somewhere to give Gio his millions upon millions, lol and jk. Bouma shouldn’t be paid on one season, let’s see how he play this year. He may not even be playing with Backs given they signed Frolik.

  • There’s no cause for concern when it comes to Bouma’s contract really. Opt for 1 year whatever the award.

    If he somehow duplicates his results from last year, then he gets paid next time around. If he doesn’t, his ask falls back down.

    • Parallex

      Yeah but it sets the level that his Qualifying Offer has to be made at next year. His ask doesn’t have to be lower so why would he make it lower?

      We can’t overpay Bouma… but he’s still a piece I’d like to keep around and I don’t much fancy reliquishing team control.

  • dustin642

    NHL Network show idea:

    Salary arbs are now treated as civil lawsuits. The player is the defendant & if he doesn’t win his case he must play for his team for free.
    Both sides must be represented by wacky, Jim Carrey in Liar Liar-esq legal teams. Both sides must present evidence (both physical & video) to help their case. Calling teammates to the stand (with their identity kept secret of course) to talk about how good/bad “in the room” the player is.
    The jury could be made up of ex-nhlers, and I haven’t worked out the ending of the show yet but basically it ends with Steve Simmons being beaten with a belt while he explains to the camera why he knows more about hockey than everyone else

  • CutterMcAwesome

    Bouma does everything they want him to do without hesitation. He’s also money’s roomate. I think having one of your stars stay happy and grounded is usually a win.

  • DestroDertell

    Just a small point, I believe that an arbiter is not allowed to take advanced stats in to account when coming up a settlement. I am sure it will change but as of now I beleive it is not a valid argument.

    As far as Bouma, I love the guy as a hockey player, but anything over 1.5 is really pushing it.

  • CutterMcAwesome

    Thanks for the correction on the advanced stats and arbitration. I am glad that they changed it because it is, to a degree, a good measuring stick for players.

  • Christian Roatis

    2 x 2 is reasonable to me. He is a heart and soul guy and Hartley loves him and so does the team. He may regress in points but he is actually very valuable to the team and helps guys play big. Id honour a 3 year deal even….. IMO.

  • Christian Roatis

    Just curious… Can the Flames offer say a 3 year deal in which they front load the contract? Example 3 years at say 6 million. 1st year 3 million. Last 2years 1.5 million. They got a bit of cap room this year. So if they load it up this year, when there up against the cap next year they got a bit of playing room.

    • piscera.infada

      In short, no. That contract would be illegal per the CBA, as salary cannot drop more than 33% year-to-year.

      Moreover (if it was legal), it wouldn’t have the effect you’re thinking it would. A player’s annual average value (and thus, “cap-hit”) is calculated by taking the full-value of the contract and dividing it by the number of years.

      Generally, you’ll see those sort of “diving” contracts for players who are older, either to: a) keep the cap-hit artificially low on a longer-term deal for an ageing player (what you’ll likely see with Giordano), or b) to make a player in the later years of a longer-term deal more palatable in trade to one of the “budget teams” (where those teams have ample cap-space, but have an internal budget [that is below the set salary-cap] making the “real dollars” on the contract the important factor).

      As such, it really makes no sense to offer him that structure (with an AAV of $2 million per), as opposed to just straight-up offering him $2 million per year for three years.

  • Christian Roatis

    Flames will opt for 1 year, reason being they have significant cap flexibility for one more season without cap risk, the following season when Gio, Monahan, Gaudreau, Hudler are up for their new deals is when we get into serious cap trouble and need ever dollar we possibly have.

    Look for them to go 1 year

  • thumz

    Bouma at 1.5 mill is valuable to every team in the NHL, thus he will have work.

    Bouma at 2.5 mill is a bad contract that might end up buried or bought out.

    If I’m a guy like Bouma I want my contract with some term at price that makes me valuable.