While the term “bust” is thrown around plenty when it comes to players who don’t reach the potential their draft position dictated, it would be difficult put Jay Bouwmeester in that category. But given the talent and the tools the player possesses, I think it is safe to say that he is one of the most disappointing players of the current generation.
I don’t know what the reason is, but this guy should have been the second coming of Bobby Orr. He is a tremendous skater, has a good shot, great size and skill. He has the ability to quarterback a power play and should have had multiple Norris Trophies on his mantle by now, even while playing in the Nicklas Lidstrom era.
Still, he sits 24th among all active defensemen in scoring, with 71 goals and 229 assists in 750 career games with Florida and Calgary. He topped 40 points 3 times and 15 goals twice. Not too shabby, but when you compare it to what could (or should) have been, it always leaves you wanting more. He should have been a bigger version of the player Erik Karlsson has become. There are 6 blueliners ahead of him in the active scoring list that have played fewer games.
Bouwmeester holds the record for the most career games having never played in the playoff games. Coming out of Medicine Hat, you would have guessed that he would have been able to carry a team to the playoffs himself. And with his new team, the St. Louis Blues, hovering at the edge of the playoff picture, getting to the postseason is no guarantee at the moment.
He seems to be a pretty down to earth individual, maybe too much so. He seems to be robotic in his personality and doesn’t appear to have any emotion when he plays, and that could be the reason for his lack of reaching his potential. Ever since he came into the league, his personality has been about the consistency of room temperature water. Every interview you see with him is the same monotonous tone and stone face. He just doesn’t give off the air of intensity.
If you would have told me on the day he was drafted that all of the above would have happened, I would have put money against it. He was the third overall pick (after being ranked as the top skater) behind Rick Nash and Kari Lehtonen, and seemed destined for superstardom. Maybe it was the Panthers organizaition or the player himself, but I keep waiting for a real breakout from Bouwmeester. He is now almost 30 (making me feel really old), so it might just be a case of “what you see is what you get” when it comes to Bouwmeester. That is a solid but not spectacular defenseman who will be good but not great.
What a waste. Not a bust, but definitely disappointing.