NHL Trade Rumours: Calgary Flames' Best Trading Partners for Jay Bouwmeester

Taylor GiffinCorrespondent IIJuly 26, 2012

NHL Trade Rumours: Calgary Flames' Best Trading Partners for Jay Bouwmeester

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    With Jay Bouwmeester of the Calgary Flames seemingly always on the trading block, yet again his name has come up as an available defenseman for interested teams to pursue.

    The Flames have, first of all, too many blue-liner's signed for next season, and will either need to trade someone away, or have someone buried in the AHL. Second, the Flames are very close to the top of the salary cap, and Bouwmeester has a cap hit of $6.68 million next season.

    While Bouwmeester holds his own fate in his hands, possessing a no-trade clause in his contract with the Flames, it would make sense if the right situation came along for him to pursue it.

    As Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun suggests, there are a few teams that could be interested in the smooth skating D-man.  He feels like the time is now to move Bouwmeester while his stock is high:

    "With the Nashville Predators deciding Tuesday to keep Shea Weber by matching the offer sheet their captain signed with the Philadelphia Flyers — 14 years and US$110 million — the market for a minute-eating blueliner couldn’t be higher in the NHL."

    If the Calgary Flames were to take this route of trading Bouwmeester, here are three teams that would be interested in his services.

Detroit Red Wings

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    Although it always seems the Detroit Red Wings can find players to fill any hole they have on their roster, their defense going into next season has taken a drastic hit.

    With the one and only Nicklas Lidstrom retiring, and leaving the club without their No. 1 D-man, the Red Wings have been trying to fill that hole quite aggressively.

    They were one of the teams that were heavily interested in a trade for Shea Weber, before he signed a new contract with the Nashville Predators.

    If the Red Wings were to trade for Jay Bouwmeester, the next best option of so-called available defensemen right now, they would be able to add a minute-eating top-pair blue-liner. The Red Wings could easily take on the cap hit that Bouwmeester brings with him, having more than $13 million still in reserve.

    Realistically, Bouwmeester would not be able to adsorb everything Lidstrom did. What he can give to the Red Wings is skill on the back-end and provide them with some more depth after they lost a few D-men over the summer.

    Bouwmeester is no Lidstrom that is for sure, but he may be a simpler option to acquire than Shea Weber proved to be.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    With Chris Pronger's career on the bubble because of a serious concussion contained last season, the Philadelphia Flyers are another team that is going to be without their top defenseman.

    It is no surprise that Philadelphia wants someone to fill space on their blue line, and it looks like they want a talented top-pairing kind of player. After all, they were the ones that signed Weber to an offer sheet.

    The Flyers have just enough room to bring aboard Jay Bouwmeester's salary, but would most likely look to move some money the other way in a trade too. The reason would be to give them some space to play with just in case, rather than being stuck right up against the ceiling.

    Although Bouwmeester is a great defensive player, he would not be able to fill the role that Chris Pronger played on the team. Bouwmeester would become one of their top pairing D-men, but he does not bring an overly aggressive style of play.

    He would provide them with more offense from the back end, due to his great skating. Even though he does not put up the points that he should for the skills at his disposal, he always creates chances.

    The Flyers also lost Matt Carle in the offseason, and Bouwmeester may become a last-minute option for them if they are serious in acquiring a top-notch defenseman.

St. Louis Blues

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    Although seemingly a long-shot to acquire Jay Bouwmeester, the St. Louis Blues are in the market for a defenseman. Whether or not this includes Bouwmeester is another question, but it does seem like it could be a good match.

    First off, the Blues have a ton of cap space at their disposal. With over $16 million still open, the team could easily be able to afford the chunk that Bouwmeester would take up. Second, the Blues are still a young team, and being able to add any sort of piece that brings experience to the table would be a good thing.

    Even though Bouwmeester has never played in a playoff game before, he brings experience from elsewhere. Other teams may be a more attractive option for him to accept a trade to, in terms of his chances to win a Stanley Cup, but this year showed us the Blues are for real and a team that will threaten in the near future.

    With the Blues' blue line having the likes of Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo, a presence such as Bouwmeester may help those players develop into their roles, and at a faster rate.

    He would only be there for two years, but that gives these young defenders two years to work with a top-notch D-man in the league.

Final Thoughts

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    Although it would be in the Flames' interest to move Bouwmeester while the market is there for a player like him, and especially if teams are willing to offer something valuable in return, it is not entirely necessary. Whichever route they take, it will not hurt their team.

    With so many teams in the market for a defenseman, it would make sense for the Flames to dangle him and see what they could get in return.

    The Flames are deep in the back end, with Bouwmeester being one of their big-time performers, but at some point he is going to have to go. If the Flames can take advantage of the market right now, then it should be done without blinking.

    It is not like the team will be looking to make a run at the Stanley Cup this year, and with questions surrounding Mikka Kiprusoff and Jarome Iginla, it seems like only a matter of time before the Flames need to go in full-rebuild mode. Why not get the ball rolling with a trade of Bouwmeester to start restocking the shelves?

    Of course, the Flames also have the option to keep him. They have just enough room under the salary cap to keep his contract without having to be worried about it, and he is still a good player. He plays big time minutes, provides offensive chances and has a great defensive game.

    Although many people expect more points out of him for the money he makes, the role Bouwmeester plays is a good one for the Flames. A few points here or there are only an added bonus.

    It will be interesting to see if the Flames choose the trade route now, at the deadline or choose to keep their top defenseman.