Bouma ready to become a regular in the NHL
CALGARY, AB -- As September creeps closer, gritty forward Lance Bouma is hard at work in the gym, making sure he's ready to go when the season starts.
"No vacation this summer," he said with a chuckle. "I'm out in Vancouver, training with my regular training group. It's been going really well.
"I'm really looking forward to the year and getting started."
The Provost, AB native started the 2011-12 season off in Abbotsford, notching three goals and six points in his first 31 games. His hard work and solid two-way play caught the attention of the Flames and Bouma was recalled on Jan. 7 after Calgary's forward troops suffered a rash of injuries.
He kicked off his 2011-12 NHL tenure with a bang, potting his first NHL goal that night. He snapped Lee Stempniak's rebound past Minnesota Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom to open the scoring early in the third period.
"It gives me some confidence," he said afterwards. "To know that I can come up here and contribute, to a good job and help the team."
His milestone came on the same night Jarome Iginla hit the 500-goal mark which made the occasion even more memorable for the 22 year-old.
"It's pretty cool to be a part of it," he grinned. "To get my first goal on when Iggy got his 500th ... it's pretty cool."
He hit a minor speed bump in March when he suffered an upper body injury in a game against the Dallas Stars. He ended up missing eight games with the malady.
"It's always frustrating when you're forced to sit out and watch your team play," he said of the experience. "Especially at that time of the year. We were really battling for a playoff spot and you want to be out there, helping your team.
"It was unfortunate timing and it's all in the past now."
All in all, he played 27 games with the Flames last year, amassing three points and 11 penalty minutes. His unwavering work ethic and relentless energy earned him rave reviews from his coaches and teammates at the end of the season and now, after his extended NHL stint, he believes he has what it takes to be an everyday player in the League.
"I want to do whatever I can to make the team," he said. "The only goal I have going is to make the team and show them that I belong in the NHL. That I can contribute at that level."
The Flames selected Bouma in the third round (78th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft. He spent his junior career in the WHL with the Vancouver Giants where he recorded 39 goals and 115 points in 230 regular season games.