Chicago Blackhawks Lance Bouma Could Become An Instant Fan Favorite
By Aaron Goldschmidt
Though he may not be the most productive player on paper, forward Lance Bouma brings a lot of what the Chicago Blackhawks were lacking last year in the playoffs — heart.
Nobody ever said being the best was easy.
After winning three Stanley Cups in six seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks fan base has done a lot more waving goodbye than welcoming hello to players which is attributed to the reality of a hard salary cap and an aging core in a young man’s game.
In an effort to retool after two consecutive first round eliminations, general manager Stan Bowman acquired a slew of players this offseason who bring a variety of skill. Regardless, it will be very tough for the ‘Hawks to overcome the losses of Marian Hossa, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Artemi Panarin, Scott Darling, Marcus Kruger, and Dennis Rasmussen.
One of the main downfalls of the Blackhawks the last couple years was their level of compete. Players were criticized for “disappearing” in the playoffs, or under-performing during the regular season. And with the significant losses of veteran leaders to the team, their identity may need to shift back to that gritty, hard-working young group that earned them their first Stanley Cup.
In 2010, the Blackhawks stacked their lineup with a combination of veterans and young talented players. They played a hard forechecking game that forced turnovers and made teams pay for them. Fast forward to 2016 and the Blackhawks refuse to even dump the puck deep against the Predators which exposed a pretty style of hockey and guys who don’t want to get their hands dirty.
Realizing a lack of urgency and maybe some elitism, Bowman reshuffled the deck and added some players that he believes have something to contribute to this team and can get this core hungry again. One of those players is Lance Bouma. Bouma spent the last six seasons with the Calgary Flames where he played mostly 3rd and 4th line minutes. In his best season in 2014-15, he scored 34 points and had over 200 hits. His highlights that year show him going hard to the net, finishing every one of his checks hard, defending his teammates, and blocking shots along with playing valuable penalty kill minutes. These are all things the Blackhawks could use.
To learn more about Lance Bouma, we reached out to Ramina Shlah who covered him for FlameForThought, a FanSided hockey blog for the Calgary Flames.