NHL Rumors: Calgary Flames Must Trade Jay Bouwmeester to Clear Cap Space

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 01:  Jay Bouwmeester #4 of the Calgary Flames skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 1, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Flames defeated the Coyotes 4-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Calgary Flames would be foolish not to trade defenseman Jay Bouwmeester if there are NHL teams that would be willing to make a deal.

Here's the latest from Roger Millions of Sportsnet.ca:

#Flames have NOT tried to trade Bouw. Others have expressed some interest I am told, we may find out quickly if that's so.

— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) July 5, 2012

The Flames would be wise to free up some salary cap space before next season, and trading Bouwmeester is the best way for the team to accomplish this.

According to Capgeek, the Flames have about $3.5 million in cap space, which is the fourth-lowest amount among all NHL teams.

With the addition of Dennis Wideman this summer, the Flames can't afford to have two overpaid offensive defensemen on their roster.

Bouwmeester has two years left on his current contract, with each season having a cap hit of $6.68 million. The contract also has a no-trade clause.

Bouwmeester does have some impressive offensive talents that could make his high cap hit worth the risk to a team that needs more scoring from their defensemen.

He hasn't scored more than 30 points in each of the last three seasons, but if he was paired with a top-tier defenseman, he could produce at a better rate.

His puck-moving skills and strong skating ability would certainly be a boost to a contending team with a struggling power play.

In the right situation, Bouwmeester would be one of the better offensive defensemen in the league. If the Flames receive interest from teams looking to make an upgrade on the blue line, Calgary should explore all options to part ways with Bouwmeester.