Jay Bouwmeester A Maple Leaf?

“The Panthers are looking a trade possibilities and hoping to get a first round pick, another top selection and a top, NHL -ready prospect if they move Bouwmeester. The Leafs don’t have the wherewithal to put that kind of package today, although its believed GM Brian Burke might be willing to part with the team’s first rounder this summer if he could first negotiate a long-term deal with Bouwmeester.” Damien Cox

Now you are starting to enter the realm of hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… Bouwmeester will be 26 in September. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. This is an old fashioned game of poker. Let’s assume for one second that he isn’t going to resign in Florida. He has NEVER played a playoff game since being drafted. Also, if he is going to resign, this debate is over. If he isn’t going to resign, why would he agree to re-up with anyone until the free agency period begins. Jay Bo is a westerner, so I guess if Calgary came a knocking he may re-up early. Other then that why bother? So the question becomes do you take the chance. The answer is NO. If you can’t resign him you don’t make the deal. That’s easy. Then the question is, do you assume whomever he gets traded to he will re-up with? If the answer is yes, then if you want him……you have to trade for him. Not an easy decision. It’s easy to SAY we won’t trade for him without talking to him about re-upping. What do you do in that game of poker???

“Barring that, if Bouwmeester gets to unrestricted free agent status, you can expect the Leafs to be at the front of the line of teams vying for his services. Interestingly, the Leafs would be well-positioned given that they currently operate almost $10 million below the salary cap. There’s a threat the $56.7 million cap could drop significantly after next season, leaving teams with fewer salary committments – like the Leafs – potentially in a position to have far more flexibility over the next two years. Even if Bouwmeester is traded before the March 4 deadline, he might still become unrestricted July 1st, as was the case with Marian Hossa.”

This could be the hardest decision to face Burke. Bouwmeester is the type of player you build around. Him and Schenn would make for a pretty solid base for a defence core. If the Leafs are 2-3 years from the playoffs you have to wonder why he would agree to come here (granted they would say with him maybe it’s not that long)…..

So Leaf fans, you are Burke…If you can’t talk to him or guarantee you can resign him, do you roll the dice that he becomes an UFA or the other way and pull the trigger. If you deal for him (a number one plus anything) and he doesn’t resign you are toast!….What do you think?

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January 25, 2009 10:39 am

The only factor that could drive Jay Bo to re-sign before July 1st is if he is offered a huge deal and feels that a worsening economy will equate to fewer dollars in the summer. That said; I say no way to offering a package that includes a #1 pick +. If he wants to play here and is made aware that top dollars will be available to him in July…he should simply play it out a la Hossa…get moved to a team in the hunt and sign here in July….If we don’t get him, we don’t get him…I’m not for mortgaging the future for Jay Bo.

January 25, 2009 11:09 am

How do you guarantee he signs long term though? He would have to be signed at least to a min. 3yr contract, with the panthers, before we even consider anything. Easy way to do it, they put a dreaded NTC but with the exception in the clause of allowing to be traded to one team – the Leafs. Then and only then should Burke consider a trade. And honestly, what are the odds of all that happening prior? I’d say slim…
I think they should wait till the summer before they add anyone let alone give up ANYTHING for anybody. We should be the one getting picks and prospects this trade deadline, not giving them up. Especially with the cap money we have and a host of UFA’s this summer, why trade away anything when we can sign players for ‘free’ so to speak after the season is done.

January 25, 2009 11:28 am

The ideal situation is to land him this summer as a UFA.

To stick with the poker analogy, I don’t think the Leafs can consider a move for Bouwmeester until they’ve determined the stakes for Antro, Poni, Kubina, Kaberle etc.

If Leaf players are moved for a pile of picks and prospects, I have no problem gambling some of those winnings on Bouwmeester (and I must stress *some*).

I’ll take a proven NHL commodity who is only 26 over most draft picks and prospects. Pro hockey is littered with hot prospects that turn out to be not so hot: Eric Fichaud, Patrick Stefan, Radek Bonk, Steve Rice, Daigle, Bochinski, etc.

As for the contract status, I have no idea how far tampering rules go, but I’m sure there are ways to have quiet conversations with Bouwmeester’s representatives to get a sense of what cities are in play and what pay/term will be required to get his name on a contract. If the whispers indicate a negative on any of these, then one hopes the Leafs don’t make the deal.

January 25, 2009 12:28 pm

You also have to look at this rumor from Florida’s perspective. They are in the playoff hunt this year. Boumeester is part of that hunt and if they trade him away for picks and prospects then they will hurt their playoff chances this year. Considering this I think that this is just another rumor, although Florida are certainly in a tight spot with this.

Toronto doesn’t have a deep pool of prospects right now. Trading away three picks/prospects for one player would surely be completely foolhardy right now. We could build around Boumeester, but we wouldn’t have anything left to add the pieces.

Burke needs to bide his time for the next couple of seasons and only make changes that add with no opportunity cost. This means:

1. Trade away players that will be on the downside in three-five years.

2. Use free agency to supplement the core of the team.

Down Goes Brown
January 25, 2009 3:24 pm

My understanding the the Leafs and Panthers could agree on a deal that was conditional on the Leafs being able to sign him. They could agree on a 72-hour window or some such where the Leafs could talk to his agent, with the deal only being final if a long-term contract could be reached.

Making a trade without that sort of window built in would be insane.

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