The Calgary Flames have re-upped with gritty forward Lance Bouma on a one-year deal, the club announced on Wednesday.
Bouma, 24, is coming off a breakout campaign in Calgary, during which he posted career highs in almost every statistical category. He scored five goals and 15 points in 78 games, carving himself a niche as a high-energy guy that became one of head coach Bob Hartley’s favorites this season.
Calgary’s third-round pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Bouma led all Flames forwards in blocked shots this year (87), and tied for second among NHL forwards with Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf. Bouma also led all Calgary skaters in hits, with 181, while averaging over 12 minutes per night.
Midway through last season, Hartley called Bouma the club’s most improved player.
“He showed up to camp in great shape, which was absolutely no surprise to us,” Hartley said, per the Calgary Herald. “He’s one of the first guys on the ice at practice. Game day, same thing. He’s committed to getting better.
“He wants to be an NHL player. He’s a gritty player willing to block shots. I have lots of time for Booms. His progression is far from a surprise.”
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.