— theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) July 23, 2015
The Calgary Flames have inked RFA Lance Bouma in advance of a pending arbitration decision. The deal is for 3 years with a cap hit of $2.2M.
It’s not an unmanageable number, but it is a very sizeable raise for Bouma, who made just $600k last year. His new deal buys out one year of unrestricted free agency, which is probably part of the reason he a scored 360% bump in salary.
The other reason is Bouma’s incredible break-out offensive performance last year. His 16-goals and 34-points were the best totals of his pro career (let alone his NHL career) and the second best point total since his final season in the WHL.
The question of whether Bouma can sustain those kinds of outcomes – and how to properly value his other, more “intangible” skills – made his re-signing the most contentious amongst the Flames RFA’s this summer. Particularly because the team is facing an impending cap crunch as early as next season.
Personally, I would have preferred a short, one-year deal. It would have given the Flames another year to evaluate Bouma’s true offensive ceiling as well as the large contingent of youngsters pushing for bottom-6 positions in the org. It also would have meant a bit more flexibility heading into the summer of 2016, which will feature contracts negotiations for both Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.
That said, $2.2M isn’t an unwieldy cap hit and players like Bouma are getting as much – or more – as UFA’s these days. At worst, the Flames probably paid market value for a really popular “glue” guy here. At best, Bouma continues to develop and proves to be well worth the money.