While the Blues have spent the summer focusing on re-signing their free agents, the club has also been focusing some of their attention to other areas. With just two restricted free agents remaining unsigned, the Blues announced on Thursday, to the surprise of most, that they had agreed on a five-year extension with defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
Bouwmeester, who turns 30 in September, had one year remaining on his five-year, $33.4 million contract, which he signed with the Calgary Flames in 2009. Bouwmeester was making $6.6 million per year on his last contract; with his new deal, he will be making $5.4 million annually. Bouwmeester's new contract is worth $27 million for five seasons.
The new deal does not kick in until the 2014-15 campaign, so Bouwmeester will be making $6.6 million in the upcoming season. When his new five-year deal expires, Bouwmeester will be 35 years old.
In ten NHL seasons, Bouwmeester has split time between Florida, Calgary, and St. Louis. He has played in 764 National Hockey League games, accumulating 307 points (72 goals, 235 assists). Bouwmeester has been extremely durable in his career, and he currently owns the NHL's 'iron man' streak of 635 consecutive regular season games (641 total consecutive games) played, a streak that began on March 6, 2004.
Bouwmeester was set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and could have drawn some interest from around the league as a free agent. It was important to the Blues that they keep Bouwmeester, and Bouwmeester felt the fit in St. Louis was right for him.
The Blues acquired Bouwmeester last season in a deal near the trade deadline. The Blues gave up their 2013 first-round draft pick, minor-league defenseman Mark Cundari and goaltender Reto Berra who, at the time, was an unsigned draft choice playing in Switzerland, for Bouwmeester. The Flames have since signed Berra to an entry-level contract.
The Edmonton, Alberta native had one goal, seven points in 14 regular season games with St. Louis last year. He spent most of his time in St. Louis last year paired with young stud Alex Pietrangelo on the blueline. Pietrangelo is the Blues' only remaining restricted free agent. A deal does not appear to be imminent, but is expected to be completed in the future. Bouwmeester will likely be Pietrangelo's defensive partner again in the 2013-14 campaign.
Bouwmeester, a veteran of 10 seasons, participated in his first NHL playoff game this past postseason with the Blues. He had one assist in six games as the Blues bowed out to the L.A. Kings in the first round.
The veteran defenseman has not only found success in the NHL, but he has also competed in the Olympics for Team Canada. The first time Bouwmeester competed was in 2006. He received an invite from Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, Russia in February.
Once Pietrangelo is re-signed, as long as he gets a two-year contract, the Blues will have all of their defensemen locked up through the 2014-15 season.