Wednesday: Geneve-Servette has officially announced the contracts, which are both for one year with an additional option year. Wingels and Bouma will be out of the North American hockey world for at least one season, thinning out the free agent market even more.
Tuesday: Given how quiet the unrestricted free agent market has been lately, one could expect that veteran players may start to find jobs overseas for the upcoming season. That looks like it’s happened for Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouma, as Patrick Andrey of RTS in Switzerland reports that both will sign with Geneve-Servette of the NLA. The team has not announced anything official yet, meaning there still could be some negotiating to be done.
It may be a bit surprising to see both players unable to find work in North America, but there was likely nothing more than a professional tryout or two-way contract available at this point in the offseason. Wingels and Bouma both represent fourth-line options at best in the NHL, despite some success in the past. The former was once an effective player for the San Jose Sharks, recording back to back seasons of 38 and 36 points while playing both the powerplay and penalty kill. Since that 36-point campaign in 2014-15 though, Wingels has failed to reach 10 goals or 20 points in each of the last three seasons and only played in four postseason contests with Boston this spring.
Bouma on the other hand brings a big, physical presence to the ice, and once used that power forward stature to score 16 goals and 34 points for the Calgary Flames. He too looked like he could contribute for a long time in the NHL, but has fallen off considerably over the last few seasons. In 2017-18 he played just 53 games with the Chicago Blackhawks, recording nine points and 132 hits. Both players will try to find new heights in Switzerland, playing on a team known for giving NHL veterans a good opportunity.
Nick Spaling, Nathan Gerbe, Jim Slater, Tom Pyatt, Matthew Lombardi and others have all played big roles under head coach Chris McSorley in recent seasons, and it looks like Wingels and Bouma will be the latest to join that group. If they can show a renewed level of play perhaps they will garner some more interest next summer.