Welcome to the rumor mill, JayBo

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It didn’t take long for the Jay Bouwmeester trade speculation to heat up after the Calgary Flames acquired and signed defenseman Dennis Wideman to a five-year, $26.25 million contract.

“Bouwmeester’s departure seems inevitable” is the headline the Calgary Herald ran with.

The paper then went on to quote GM Jay Feaster, who suggested one or more of his blue-liners could be Plan B for teams that don’t get their man in free agency.

“When all the dust settles after the first week of free agency, if there are teams still looking on their blueline, we’re going to get a lot of phone calls,” said Feaster. “I do believe that’s one of the things that will happen is that the trade market will open up.’’

With a $6.68 million cap hit, Bouwmeester is overpaid given his meager offensive production (5 goals, 24 assists in 2011-12).

On the other hand, only two defensemen – Brian Campbell and Dan Girardi – logged more ice time than the 28-year-old last season.

Moreover, Bouwmeester hasn’t missed a game since 2004, making it seven straight seasons of 82 games. And while that may something about his – we’ll call it easygoing – playing style, there’s something to be said for durability.

Besides, there’s only two years left on the guy’s contract. Assuming he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause, a handful of teams should be interested if he’s available.