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Blues Excited to Land Bouwmeester

Blues GM Doug Armstrong said deal took "better part of 10 months"

Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 12:19 AM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Louie Korac  - NHL.com Correspondent
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Blues Excited to Land Bouwmeester
The Blues are excited to bring defenseman Jay Bouwmeester aboard after acquiring him in a trade from the Calgary Flames.



The St. Louis Blues have coveted Jay Bouwmeester since last summer.

They've been rumored to be in on the NHL's current top ironman, with a need for a left-handed defenseman and a guy that can complement Alex Pietrangelo on the team's top defensive pairing.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong finally got his man Monday night when he swung a trade for Bouwmeester, acquiring the 10-year veteran from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Mark Cundari, the rights to goaltender Reto Berra and a first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

If the Blues fail to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Flames will receive the Blues’ fourth-round pick at this year’s draft, while the first-round selection will be deferred until 2014.

"It's taken the better part of 10 months to find the piece," Armstrong said via conference call. "It goes back through when we were looking to add a player (last offseason). Jay was one of those type of players that when you look at someone in our age group, someone that could log a lot of minutes, he's an iron man obviously playing 600-plus games. He’s a workhorse, he's everything that we had hoped to find."

Bouwmeester, 29, is the second left-handed defenseman to join the Blues in three days. The Blues acquired Jordan Leopold from the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday for a pair of draft picks in 2013. Bouwmeester has six goals and 15 points in 33 games for the Flames this season and is averaging 25:09 per game, which ranks 13th in the NHL.


FINALLY ACQUIRED

Blues GM Doug Armstrong said the deal to acquire defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has taken "the better part of 10 months." (Getty Images).
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"It's just exciting to have someone of Pietrangelo's caliber, [Kevin] Shattenkirk's caliber (and) Bouwmeester's caliber moving forward," Armstrong said. "You couple that with the rock-steady play of Roman Polak and Barret Jackman. So I'm really excited about our group now."

The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Bouwmeester has 300 points (71 goals) in 750 career games. He's played in 621 straight games. He's in the fourth year of a five-year contract.

"It's a real feather in the cap of our ownership group," Armstrong said. "It's one thing to buy a team and say you want to win. It's another thing to say you want to win and back it up with your money. Adding a player of Bouwmeester's caliber and also his contract at $6.6 million, I think shows everybody in the hockey community that we're in, we believe we're in our window now. This isn’t a trade just for 15 games and a player run. This is a trade for next year and hopefully many years past that."

Armstrong and Flames GM Jay Feaster both were playing a game of tug of war today, with Armstrong holding firm on what he was willing to part with and Feaster offering a package of what he wanted for Bouwmeester, who had his best offensive seasons with the Florida Panthers. The Panthers selected him third overall in 2002.

Feaster reached out to Armstrong again after the Blues had acquired Leopold.

"I was talking to Jay Feaster, he was obviously focused and rightfully so on the franchise face of Jarome Iginla but when that transpired, he called after we made the Leopold deal and said, ‘Are you still interested?’ I said yes we are," Armstrong said. "(I) reconnected with our ownership group. They were still committed. We never really talked names before, or what he wanted, because he was never at the point of trading.

"I think Jay is looking to add first-round picks and to recalibrate his group. He has Pittsburgh’s pick, he has his own pick and now he has our pick. So it's been a good week for Jay Feaster. But for our team, giving a first-round pick and Cundari and Berra is something we could afford to let go moving forward."

The Blues, who jumped back into eighth place in the race for the Western Conference playoffs after Monday's 4-1 win at Minnesota, made it very clear that they are going for it now.

"I think it tells our team we're committed to having success in St. Louis and we're not satisfied with our current standing," Armstrong said. "We’re willing to poke, prod and do our part as management to improve the team. But ultimately, the responsibility lies with that core group of players that we haven’t touched: David Backes, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Pietrangelo, [Patrik] Berglund, [Alexander] Steen, [Andy] McDonald. That group is still here and we've added two pieces to that group. Ultimately they have to help us get the job done."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, an Edmonton, Alberta native like Bouwmeester, told reporters after the game he was glad to bring in another quality player.

"I've known Bouw, I've known his dad for a long time," Hitchcock said. "He's a minute-muncher, he's got great mobility, he's hard to play against because he's mobile, he's got a long stick, he knows how to defend.

"I've had Jay in international play and he's been a really, really good player at high-level games. He's going to be a real good addition for us."

Backes, the Blues' captain, told reporters the players found out during the game.

"Word kind of trickled in here but you can't get distracted by those things," Backes said. "He's not on the ice yet, so we've gotta win games and make plays without him until he gets in.

"It shows we're making some moves to bolster the group of guys we have in here. We feel we had a good group before but a great defenseman with a lot of experience never hurt anybody."

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 62 40 18 4 192 153 84
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 62 31 29 27 60
A. Steen 60 19 32 4 51
J. Schwartz 55 20 26 16 46
D. Backes 61 20 21 3 41
T. Oshie 54 17 24 12 41
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
P. Stastny 54 12 24 11 36
J. Lehtera 55 9 24 16 33
A. Pietrangelo 62 5 27 -2 32
P. Berglund 58 8 12 -1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 20 9 2 .922 2.17
J. Allen 17 6 2 .905 2.50

 
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