The Calgary Flames are trying to figure out just exactly how expendable defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is after the team signed Dennis Wideman. Aside from deciding whether they can afford to trade Bouwmeester, the Flames also have to decipher whether or not they can afford to keep him, especially if the NHL lowers the salary cap whenever a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.
That may be the most glaring issue when it comes to Calgary choosing to listen to offers for Bouwmeester. And if they explore trading partners, two teams immediately come to mind.
The Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers. And one is just as desperate to make a splash on the blue line as the other. That makes them ideal candidates to make a strong pitch to the Flames in an attempt to acquire Bouwmeester.
The Red Wings and Flyers have both struck out in landing many of the marquee free agents who they pursued since the start of free agency this offseason. Having watched the likes of Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Shea Weber land elsewhere, the Wings and Flyers still find the need to upgrade their roster in a major way before the upcoming season. Bouwmeester would indeed fit the bill for either club.
But is he worth the price, both in terms of what he would cost in a return package as well as absorbing his salary for the next couple of seasons?
Bouwmeester is due an average salary of $6.68 million in each of the next two seasons. It is a relatively high price to pay for a defenseman who has not recorded at least 30 points since he last played with the Florida Panthers to end the 2009 season. He will be 29 years old around the start of the season, so the Flames may not be asking a lot in terms of prospects, but they will look for a team to assume his salary.
Either way, expect both the Red Wings and Flyers to put on a full court press to push to acquire Bouwmeester. Detroit needs to replace Niklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart on the blue line, and Philadelphia was forced to watch the Nashville Predators match their offer sheet for Weber, and they may now be forced to enter the upcoming season without the services of Andrej Meszaros for quite some time as he recovers from a torn right Achilles.
That makes Detroit and Philadelphia the perfect matches for Calgary to trade Bouwmeester over the next couple of weeks.