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Jay Bouwmeester: Worth it?

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Jay Bouwmeester
Jay Bouwmeester

I'll begin by saying I like Bouwmeester.  I think he is a great player who would be a great addition to this team.  He would instantly be our #2 if not #1 defenseman.  But is he worth it?  It is expected that he will ask for an 8 year, $55-60 million salary.  That's at least $7 million a year, making him our highest paid player.  Plus, if the Flyers want to negotiate with Bouwmeester before July 1st, they would have to trade Joffrey Lupul, Danny Briere, or Matt Carle, plus a high draft pick or a top prospect.  That is a lot to give up just to talk to a guy, let alone add a $7 or $8 million price tag on top of a team that had to sign two college kids to one day contracts last year.  First, lets look at Bouwmeester's stats.

 

GP G A PTS +/- PIM TOI PP/G Hits BkS GvA TkA
2008/2009 Regular Season 82 15 27 42 -2 68 26:59 4:16 115 128 51 27

 

Good stats, for sure.  But who can we compare him to?  On the Flyers, I'll use Kimmo Timonen.  They are both the best defenseman on their team, score similar amounts of points, are used in almost every situation, and do the little things right.  They are obviously far apart in age, but in terms of stats, I'm using Kimmo

 

GP G A PTS +/- PIM TOI PP/G Hits BkS GvA TkA
2008/2009 Regular Season 77 3 40 43 19 54 24:31 4:04 65 164 48 30

 

After the jump, further analysis. 

Jay scores more goals than Kimmo, but the point totals remain the same.  That could be the result of a poor Florida team - either nobody could bury JBow's rebounds or nobody else could score so he took a lot of shots.  Jay took 182 shots to Kimmo's 104.  That's a pretty large discrepancy, and could show the quality of his teammates was the problem.  But If Jay comes here, I would expect his point total to stay around the same - with most of his goals turning into assists.  His +/- would suggest that he honestly was on a bad team, and that those numbers would increase if he came here.  While one would certainly hope that is the case, a breakdown of the +/- reveals some telling information.  Numbers courtesy of behindthenet.ca (And Alon for showing me the tables)

GP TOI/60 Rating QualComp QualTeam G/60 A1/60 A2/60 P/60 GFON GAON +/-
Kimmo Timonen 77 14.67 0.41 0.06 0.18 0.05 0.32 0.32 0.70 54 45 9
Jay Bouwmeester 82 18.58 -0.34 0.07 0.12 0.24 0.16 0.32 0.71 60 62 -2

Key: Rating - +/- rating relative to the team; QualComp - Quality of Competition (higher the better); QualTeam - Quality of Teammates on ice

 

In looking at this, Kimmo had a better +/- than his teammates while JBow had a worse one than his teammates.  Only Jay and Jassen Cullimore had a - rating relative to their teammates.  Kimmo, meanwhile, had the highest on the Flyers.  What that would normally tell you is that Jay was going against the other team's best and that his +/- is a result of that.  While Jay did have the highest quality of competition on the Panthers, he played against basically the same people Kimmo did.  The difference was who Kimmo was paired with:  33% better than who Jay was paired with.  But the discrepency with Kimmo's partner doesn't equal Jay's poor +/- rating.

Further, Kimmo had twice as many primary assists per 60 minutes than Jay did.  For a defenseman, that tells me Kimmo either did a much better job setting up his teammates or a lot of his shots were deflected in for goals.  That can not be proven, but is it also a coincidence that if you move the extra .16 A1's Kimmo had to goals, Kimmo would have .21 goals per 60, very similar to JBow.  Obviously, you can't just transfer them over and say they would be goals, but it shows me that both players generated close to the same amount of goals for their team, either by scoring them or setting them up.

This theory is proven with Goals For when On the Ice.  Including power play and shorthanded situations, the Flyers scored 54 goals with Kimmo on the ice, 9 more than they gave up.  The Panthers lost 2 goals when Jay was on the ice, scoring 60 but giving up 62.  Yeah, they scored 6 more goals with him on the ice than the Flyers did with Kimmo - an 11% increase - but Jay was out there for 17 more goals against than Kimmo - a 38% increase.  That is the stat I am most concerned with. 

Without knowing who Jay would be paired with in Philly, these numbers show he wasn't paired with a slouch. (for reference, Braydon Coburn had a QualTeam rating of 0.12 on the year, the result of mostly playing with Sbisa, Carle, and Timonen.) Despite this, he still ended up with a negative +/-.

Lastly, when considering if Bouwmeester is worth it, look at the Flyers contracts going forward.  They owe:

  • Briere $34 million over the next six years, with a $6.5 million cap hit this year
  • Richards $63.6 million over the next eleven years, with a $5.75 million cap hit this year
  • Gagne $10.5 million over the next two years, with a $5.25 million cap hit.  He'll be 31 when he is a UFA
  • Carter $10.5 million over the next two years, with a $5 million cap hit.
  • Lupul $17 million over the next four years, with a $4.25 million cap hit.
  • Hartnell $15.3 over the next four years, with a $4.2 million cap hit.
  • Timonen $22 million over the next four years, with a $6.33 million cap hit.
  • Carle $10.8 million over the next three years, with a $3.44 million cap hit.

That amounts to $40.72 in cap money for this upcoming year on 8 players - Not even half the roster.  That is not including Braydon Coburn, Randy Jones, Ray Emery, Mike Knuble, or an always useful veteran FA center.  If Bouwmeester is added, you have at least $47 million, probably closer to $49 million locked up in 9 players.  Subtract a Lupul or a Briere, you would still have 8 players locked up long term (3 or more years) to contracts over $3 million, just JBow instead.  On top of that, Carter, Giroux, and Sbisa need to be resigned after 10/11, Coburn and Parent after this year, Gagne should be resigned (that's a whole other topic) after 10/11, and we will still need a goalie next year.  With Bouwmeester, the question isn't "Do we trade Lupul and let Knuble go?" it becomes, "How many of our core players do we have to let walk?"

So the better questions are, how do you afford JBow, and is he worth it after looking at those conflicting numbers?