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03-30-2010, 12:07 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Originally Posted by
Elephant In The Room
Where oh where to begin.
Overhype no. Overrated you have got to be joking. Supremely disappointing in Calgary? Yes - but who hasn't been?
Bouw was a top 10 defenseman during his Florida stint. He didn't singlehandedly take Florida anywhere beyond basement-dwelling, but he was pretty much all Florida had during his 6 seasons there outside of Luongo and Horton. I don't know if you watched a lot of Florida games or not, but I did, and with enthusiasm, and I hate the Panthers. JBo was the only reason for me to watch that wretched team play.
In those 6 seasons I believe I saw a player who achieved a rarity - came in with hype and, like Ovy and Sid did after him, fully justified it. Bouwmeester had a solid rookie season and it took like 15 games before he was playing 22 mins a night shouldering a monumentally underwhelming defense. His partner was Mike Van Ryn who would have been the Panthers top defenseman in Bouw's rookie season. This is the equivalent of us having Janne Laukkanen as our #1. Bouwmeester anchored a defense consisting of such luminaries as Brad Ference, Lukas Krajicek, Branislav Mezei, and Steve Montador. All these guys played significant minutes in front of Luongo.
Aside from an extended sophomore slump marred by injuries, Bouwmeester's Florida tenure was a remarkable trajectory of progress. In his 6 seasons as a Panther Florida improved in the point standing every year. JayBo averaged over 24 minutes a night in his entire Panthers career, and played in every game outside of the 20 he missed in his sophomore year due to injuries. His game is entirely built around fluid skating and high defensive IQ. He isn't a punishing hitter like Orpik, and he is never going to be a bombs-away kind of guy from the point. But he is one of the smartest defensemen out there, and this was on exhibit from his rookie season and has only improved with experience. Bouwmeester rarely makes mistakes when the puck is on his stick and he is both quick enough and big enough to get it out of danger. His size, quickness, and ability to read and react to plays make him tough to play against for 24 plus minutes a night, and consistently so night after night.
If that doesn't scream #1 defenseman to me, I don't know what does. His consistency and durability made him a top 10 blueliner in the league during his Florida years.
Now I will admit that he's been totally un-Bouwmeester like in Calgary. He seems to have lost his offense entirely, he is constantly losing his assignments, and looks shaky when skating with the puck which was once an almost effortless thing for him. But that entire team has no offense to start with - Sutter's defense-first approach is now a defense-only approach. Bouwmeester seems to be forced into a solely goal-prevention role, and on that regards alone he is still doing fine. But Sutter's approach took a lot away from his puck moving 2-way game and his offense - which was never all that great to begin with I concede - became non-existent.
Given the right team, Bouwmeester is a top 10 defenseman and a true #1 guy. He is a beast in the defensive zone and is one of the best skaters in the league period. You put him on our team now, in his prime, and he will be the most complete defenseman the Pens have EVER had.
I knew this post had to be about J-Bo or hot Asian women. Glad to see after further investigation that I was right.
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