Q&A With Ramina Shlah of FlameForThought
1. For fans who don’t know Lance Bouma, what kind of player is he and what type of role has he played with the Flames over the past six seasons?
RS: Lance Bouma is one of those guys you put on your third or fourth line. Whichever you consider your “tough guy” line. He’s definitely not someone you’d expect to score lots of goals, but he’s a guy who isn’t afraid to hit and get into fights despite his height. He’s also used quite a bit on the PK because he isn’t afraid to get in front of any shot and block it, but that isn’t always a good thing since he’s suffered a few leg injuries doing that.
2. Bouma’s career season came in 2014-15 when he scored 34 points and had over 260 hits. What made him so successful that year?
RS: To be fair, I think every Flame that season had a surprisingly good season considering it was the first time the team made playoffs in six years. Bouma also spent quite a bit of time on the second line alongside Mikael Backlund who helped him put up more points than most expected out of him. But he’s generally not a guy you’re expecting a lot of scoring from.
3. Since that season, he has taken a step back production wise. What do you attribute that to?
RS: The 2014-2015 season was quite odd and he was playing on a different line. During the last two seasons, he played on the “tough guy” line for the most part and played more of a bottom-six role. Even then he didn’t score any points which is a little bit of a head scratcher, but he also suffered some injuries too, most notably last year where he was out for nearly half the season.
4. When you search Lance Bouma on Google, the first item that comes up is “Lance Bouma Fight.” Has Bouma ever had a problem taking bad penalties?
Haha, yes. Bouma isn’t afraid to hit or get into fights, but he doesn’t necessarily take bad penalties or get into bad fights either. He does fight a lot, but only when he needs to to protect his team. He’s generally pretty smart about the fights he gets into (unlike
this past season who wanted to fight everyone). Now that isn’t to say that he never takes any bad penalties, but who doesn’t? Over the past six years with the Flames, he’s learned his role with the team and he’s been smart about it this past season. He actually hasn’t gotten into as many fights this past season as he has in the past. The Flames had a problem last year with discipline and everyone knew it. They led the league in PIM, minor penalties, and penalties. They had 956 PIM and Bouma had just 35 of those. I’d say that’s low for a guy whose role is to hit and protect his team.
5. In your opinion, why did the Flames move on from Bouma?
RS: I think the Flames and their fans moved on from Bouma at the end of last season. When he signed his contract before the 2015-2016 season at $2.2 million AAV for three years then only put up 7 points that season, fans were over him. After this season when that wasn’t better, fans were happy he only had a year remaining on his contract. But when the Flames bought him out, it wasn’t surprising at all. They’re basically paying players to not play for them which is something they’ve been too afraid to do in the past. While it was fun having Boums around, they needed to part ways. His time in Calgary was up.
6. Do you think he will fit well with a team like the Blackhawks?
RS: I think a guy like Bouma can fit in well with any team. He has that bottom-six role and isn’t afraid to hit. He’s on a good contract with the ‘Hawks where if he doesn’t put up the points, he still only cost the Blackhawks $1 million this year. If the fit isn’t right, it’s only a one-year contract. His time in Calgary was up, but I think he can definitely excel on a team like the Blackhawks just as long as people aren’t expecting him to put up loads of points.
7. With Bouma departing, the Flames will lose some physicality. Do you think there is a chance that heavy hitting defensive prospect Josh Healey cracks the opening day roster?
I don’t think so. The Flames still have a few guys who aren’t afraid to hit, and their defence core is stacked right now. There are a few defensive prospects who are ahead of Healey who are ready to play with the Flames, like Kulak, Andersson, and Kylington. Bouma wasn’t as physical this past season as he’s been in the past, but now with a guys like
and Sam Bennett, they have players who aren’t afraid to hit. They also have Stajan, Ferland, and even Giordano who can hit and get into fights so the Flames will be fine without Bouma physically.