Is Jay Bouwmeester On His Way to the Montreal Canadiens?

Matt Eichel@@mattyalloutSenior Writer IJanuary 29, 2009

Please, Mr. Gainey, if you do anything this trade deadline, don't be so quick to jump on the Vincent Lecavalier bandwagon.

If these last two games in Florida illustrated anything that the Montreal Canadiens may need to make a long stretch drive to the postseason, it is that they need that pivotal top four defenseman.

So who better than Florida Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester?

Bouwmeester, 25, is in a contract year after signing a one-year contract in Florida this last offseason. Yet, his future in Florida is not as set in stone as is Lecavalier's contract in Tampa.

A brilliant and smart puck moving defenseman, Bouwmeester has size, speed, and skill that the Canadiens blue line seems to be lacking. With the call-up of Ryan O'Byrne and the imminent and possible retirement of Patrice Brisebois in the next season or so, Bouwmeester would fit into a defensive lineup that may have an influx of younger players, such as Yannick Weber and PK Subban.

While the Lecavalier route may be more risky and costly for the Canadiens, since the rumours have a package deal including multiple players, with small contracts for short-term for a veteran locked into a contract that keeps him paid until he reaches his late 30s, the Bouwmeester option may be a more beneficial and rewarding route.

Bouwmeester's five previous seasons the in NHL have shown that he is definitely a player that can play at top of his game no matter the situation consistently, having played 82 games in four of his first five NHL seasons.

His 6'4", 212lbs. frame would be a welcome addition to a size-strapped Canadiens squad, with the likes of 5'8", 196lbs. Franics Bouillon and 5'10", 187lbs. Saku Koivu.

Not only size, but his skill has been showcased not only at the All-Star Game, which he took part of this last weekend, but also on the world stage at the 2006 Olympics.  

Though only two-and-a-half years into his career, the experience has taught Bouwmeester many things about the professional game.

His point and goal totals are only to increase every season, as he is currently on pace for a career season in goals already with 10 (15 is his career high last season) and in points with 26 (46 is his career high in 2005-06).

Adding Bouwmeester to a mix of a defensive core already lined up with all-stars Mike Komisarek and Andrei Markov along with Roman Hamrlik and Josh Gorges would give the Canadiens exceptional depth in a place where they have a lot of depth already with the many prospects.

Dealing for Bouwmeester may cost the Canadiens a defender, possibly Gorges or a prospect, and probably a top six forward. Again, names such as Tomas Plekanec and Chris Higgins may come up due to their lack of consistency during their career in Montreal.

Whatever the decision, going the Bouwmeester route seems to make more sense for the Canadiens at this stage of the game than dealing for Lecavalier.

Bouwmeester is in a contract season with free agency looming at the age of 25.

Lecavalier is on a long-term contract until he's an elder NHL statesman at the age of 28.

I think the choice is clear.


Matt Eichel is a Community Leader for the Montreal Canadiens here on Bleacher Report along with Miah D. and Daniel Arouchain.  Matt also co-hosts Habs All Out Radio, a in-depth talk radio show devoted to all things Montreal Canadiens.

It airs weekly at and is hosted by Matt and Miah.