Scouting the Free Agents: Jay Bouwmeester

There is a storm brewing in Florida and it's not an incoming hurricane or tsunami. It is because of the decision made by Jacques Martin to hold onto perennial talent-and upcoming UFA-Jay Bouwmeester at the trade deadline. There was a lot of pressure for Martin to trade JayBo before he became an unrestricted free agent, especially since rumors surfaced that he would most definitely re-sign elsewhere; most likely with a contender. But with the Panthers on the brink of a playoff birth Martin decided to keep him, a decision which in hindsight was a mistake but one he says he doesn't regret.

Jay Bouwmeester

#4 / Defenseman / Florida Panthers



Sep 27, 1983

2008 - Jay Bouwmeester 82 15 27 42 -2 68 9 0 2 1 182 8.2

Bouwmeester is most definitely one of the best young offensive defenseman in the league. He has scored 15 goals the past two seasons and has put up more than 40 points in three of his last four years. This past season he had 15 goals and 27 assists for 42 points. His best year point wise was in 2005-2006 when he had 5 goals and 41 assists for 46 points. Look let's be honest, JayBo has put up major points every year on a very bad team. Granted the Panthers were improved this year, but still failed to make the postseason.

Bouwmeester, wherever he signs, will be able to instantly step in a quarterback the power play. There is no question that he is one of the most dangerous defenseman on the ice.  He also takes care of his own end recording a +18 his past four years combined, which is even more impressive when you think about how bad the Panthers have been. Unfortunately he has NO playoff experience. He has never once played in a playoff game, which is mainly why people think he wants to leave.

JayBo is exactly what the Rangers need, a young stud defenseman who can quarterback the power play and defend his own zone. But unfortunately he won't come cheap.  If Glen Sather wants him that badly  he will have to move mountains. If Campbell made 8 million a year last year JayBo is going to be looking for about  the same money, no questions about it.

So as always here is your chance to play GM. Do you try to trade a MOVEABLE contract like Rozsival's or even refuse to sign an RFA like Zherdev or Callahan to make the space to sign him?  How much is too much for a guy who can  help the power play-which was the main reason why the Rangers didn't go very far last year. Would you sign him to an 8 million dollar a year contract simply because the Rangers need a player like him so bad? Do the Rangers even have a choice? Have at it in the comments!