For the first little while, we were giving him the benefit of the doubt. Jay Bouwmeester was the big summer acquisition.
The Flames decided to invest in the young, blue-chip defender rather than open the vault and keep free agent Mike Cammalleri. With Dion Phaneuf turning into a potato chip last season and Robyn Regehr and Cory Sarich slowing a step and with a renewed emphasis on defence, Bouwmeester was supposed to be the mobile, two-way puck mover who could anchor the Calgary blue-line for another decade.
The Flames opened the wallet for $33.4 million over five years ($6.68 million cap hit). So why when they thought they’d signed Jay Bouwmeester did they wind up with Dana Murzyn instead?
Two goals in 62 games, are you kidding me? Wasn’t Bouwmeester a candidate for the Canadian Olympic team at one point? As what, stick boy?
Bouwmeester, to be fair, hasn’t been terrible this season. He’s generally reliable in his own end. He moves the puck to his forwards efficiently. He’s mobile.
But so was Dana Murzyn.
Is this all the Calgary Flames are getting for the fifth highest paid defenceman in the NHL? Where’s that fabulous rushing ability? Where’s that sneaky quick, smart play every period or two that has us thinking you’re a young Scott Niedermayer?
For some reason, Bouwmeester has not displayed his offensive traits. Did you know that prior to this season, he was the sixth-highest scoring defencemen in the NHL the past three seasons? His 42 goals since 2006-07 rank behind only Sheldon Souray (52), Mike Green (51), Zdeno Chara (47), Shea Weber (46) and Phaneuf (45).
Bouwmeester isn’t taking as many shots as he did in Florida. Since the lockout, he averaged 2.22 shots per game. This season, he’s at 1.68. He gets time on the power play, but he has just one goal with the man advantage, compared to nine last season. He has gone 44 games without a goal and has just 11 assists in his past 41 games.
I swear I see steady, unassuming Dana Murzyn out there wearing No. 4. Nothing personal Dana Murzyn fan club, but I was expecting a whole lot more.