A familiar name is back in the NHL, at least temporarily. Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal reports that veteran forward Lance Bouma has signed a professional tryout offer with the Los Angeles Kings. Bouma missed almost all of last season due to a knee injury, but did suit up for three games with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss NLA. He’s hoping to break back into the NHL via PTO with a team that could use the depth up front.
Bouma, 29, last played in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2017-18. It was his first pro season outside of the Calgary Flames organization and it didn’t go as expected. Bouma played in 53 games with the Blackhawks, but also in 20 games with the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs, his first minor league action since 2012-13. Bouma recorded just nine points with Chicago, but that actually put him on a full-season pace that was better than all but two of his prior NHL campaigns. Bouma is largely considered a bottom-six defensive forward, as evidence by his career numbers, but served the role well in Calgary. He also teased his offensive ability in 2014-15 with a career-high 34 points in 78 games.
It may be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting in Bouma, especially coming after a missed season. That makes him an ideal PTO candidate and a player that could surprise in L.A. training camp. The Kings can see whether Bouma’s surgically repaired knee is a cause for concern or, alternatively, if the year off has given him some extra zip to his skating. Still on the right side of 30 and an experienced two-way forward who has flashed some offensive ability, Bouma could be an intriguing fit for the Kings if healthy. The team has just nine forwards signed to one-way deals at this point and there is expected to be ample competition in camp. Bouma picked the right place to throw his hat in the ring.