You’ll be hearing Jay Bouwmeester’s name a lot more over the next three months and if the Senators have their way, you’ll be hearing a lot more about him by the time the NHL’s trade deadline comes and goes.
Looking for a puck-moving defenceman â€” who would have thought Ottawa would have ever been in this situation a few years ago â€” the Senators are one of a number of teams interested in landing what is considered the biggest catch of this year’s trade deadline.
Bouwmeester is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1 and it’s expected the Florida Panthers will not be able to sign him, so they will deal him to the highest bidder before March 3.
It says here, however, that the worst thing for Bouwmeester would be to be dealt and to sign long-term with a Canadian team.
Even though he doesn’t seem to want it, the best thing Bouwmeester could do is continue to play in south Florida where not too many people know about hockey and even fewer people are astute hockey observers.
It has long been this columnist’s opinion that Bouwmeester is one of the most overrated players in the game.
Since he was 15 years old, people have marvelled at his skating ability and his skill set, but for a player with such an impressive array of skills, he sure hasn’t accomplished very much. He has played on some weak teams to be sure, but in the 10 seasons since he began playing junior hockey, he has played in the playoffs just once and that was with a stacked Chicago Wolves team of the AHL during the lockout.
In 18 playoff games that year, Bouwmeester had a grand total of zero points.
Hockey Canada seems to have this undying love affair with the guy, but he has rarely made a significant impact with any Canadian team in international competition. He doesn’t use his size very well, seems far too timid to take control of a game and seems to leave people more often than not bewildered that a player with such supposed impressive credentials could have such little impact on the game.
That may change. After all, Bouwmeester is just 25 years old. But it will be that much harder if he takes his game to a hockey-mad market where fans and media will be dissecting his every move.
That’s why he’d be best off playing in an outpost where people don’t know or care much about hockey.