EDMONTON - Jay Bouwmeester is taking a wait-and-see approach to the season.
The local product, who is currently skating with a number of pros at Perry Pearn’s three-on-three camp this week, is expected to log big minutes on the Calgary Flames blue line this year.
With the departure of Robyn Regehr, Bouwmeester is taking over the role of the Flames top defenceman.
“Losing Robyn is tough, he’s a guy that’s been there a long time,” Bouwmeester said. “He was one of our leaders for sure.
“But that sort of thing kind of happens quite a bit now. There are changes everywhere going into every year and you just have to deal with it.”
Heading into his third season with the Flames, Bouwmeester anchors a blue line that a couple of years ago also featured Dion Phaneuf and was considered one of the best in the league.
This year, Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich and the newly acquired Scott Hannan make up the meat of the Flames defence.
“I think bringing in Scott will help, he’s a solid defensive guy,” Bouwmeester said. “But everyone, every year is kind of in the same type of boat with all the changes. Everyone has to have the outlook at the start of the year that you want to give yourself a chance by making the playoffs and going from there.”
Despite lofty expectations, the Flames have failed to qualify for the playoffs in the last two seasons.
Yet with Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff still in the fold and new general manager Jay Feaster in charge, optimism is high in Calgary.
“I think last year there was a stretch where we were playing well,” Bouwmeester said. “I think it’s just been a matter of consistency for the last two years.
“We’ve had our ups and downs and we just have to figure out how to be more consistent.”